Panzer Campaigns – Back to the Future

 

Hi All,

Sorry for the slower blog traffic of late – it doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy!!!

We would like to update you on a range of projects over the next couple of weeks. This week’s blog will cover off the Panzer Campaigns series of games, the next post will update you on Panzer Battles and the final one will include a significant announcement.

 

We have been working with John Tiller Software to relaunch the Panzer Campaigns series of games. Currently there are 21 games released to date with 11 covering the Eastern Front, 5 on the Western Front and 5 in the Mediterranean/North Africa. The full list in release order is below;

Panzer Campaigns 01; Smolensk ‘41

Panzer Campaigns 02; Normandy ‘44

Panzer Campaigns 03; Kharkov ‘42

Panzer Campaigns 04; Tobruk ‘41

Panzer Campaigns 05; Bulge ‘44

Panzer Campaigns 06; Korsun ‘44

Panzer Campaigns 07; Kursk ‘43

Panzer Campaigns 08; Sicily ‘43

Panzer Campaigns 09; Rzhev ‘42

Panzer Campaigns 10; Market Garden ‘44

Panzer Campaigns 11; El Alamein ‘42

Panzer Campaigns 12; France ‘40

Panzer Campaigns 13; Salerno ‘43

Panzer Campaigns 14; Moscow ‘41

Panzer Campaigns 15; Stalingrad ‘42

Panzer Campaigns 16; Budapest ‘45

Panzer Campaigns 17; Minsk ‘44

Panzer Campaigns 18; Sealion ‘40

Panzer Campaigns 19; Kharkov ‘43

Panzer Campaigns 20; Tunisia ‘43

Panzer Campaigns 21; Moscow ‘42

 

As can be seen, the series to date have covered many of the iconic battles from World War 2 and represent 13 years of released games from John Tiller during the period of 1999 to 2012.

Though very well loved for the breadth of scenarios and depth of research, the games are in dire need of an update. With that in mind we’re looking to release the ‘Gold Series’ for Panzer Campaigns.

It’s intended that the Gold Series will include the following;

  • The latest patches bringing all games up to the same standard
  • All new map 2D & 3D graphics
  • All new unit graphics and counters on map
  • All new unit cards
  • All new in game sounds; weapon, explosion, background, miscellaneous
  • All expansion pack scenarios (Smolensk ’41)
  • All Volcano Man scenarios
  • New scenarios
  • Map updates
  • Possibly some UI enhancements (not committed to at this point)

We’re yet to determine how these will come to market but I expect there to be a full version for sale via John Tiller’s site with possible broader distribution. We’re also looking at how to distribute the new games to existing owners, either via patch or as a complete new installation. For simplicity, we would prefer the later but need to discuss the mechanics with JTS.

Currently, we have been focused on completing the Eastern Front games first. Seven of the eleven are done and work on the eighth is about to commence. The focus will swing to the other theatres after that. We have focused on theatres as it’s quicker to reuse graphics across associated titles.

 

Here are some screenshots;

Smolensk ’41 will include an enhanced map. The original map was very plain with few named locations and missing features. One of our designers is upgrading the existing map with much more details. I expect this detail for Smolensk will end up in the related map sections of Moscow ’42 and Minsk ‘44

Original map;

And the new version;

Maximum 2D zoom out level for the Don Bend from Stalingrad ’42;

2D mid zoom level for the Don Bend from Stalingrad ’42;

And here is a 2D maximum zoomed in section of the map;

The winter graphics have also been enhanced. Here is the 2D mid zoom level at Stalingrad;

And at the maximum 2D zoom;

Using the two prior pictures as examples, new graphical icons are now included to replace the default NATO symbols if preferred. 2D mid zoom level;

And again, at maximum 2D zoom;

 

A lot of work has gone into revamping the 3D graphics. These were rarely used by players, but are certainly in a better state now.

Here is the zoomed-out 3D with counters on it;

And the same shot with the new icons;

And now zoomed-in with counters;

And the new icons;

 

Here is a little more detail (at 200%) of the individual units;

 

The winter graphics for 3D have all been adjusted. Here is the zoomed in 3D view with counters;

 

And the same shot with icons;

 

Here are some examples of new in game units (the Romanians). Shown at 100%;

And at 200% size;

 

And here is a brand-new campaign scenario that has been created for Kharkov ’42 by César ‘Indragnir’ Librán Moreno. This section shows The Soviet setup for the northern pincer towards Kharkov. César has used a lot of additional research to completely create a new version of the Kharkov ’42 scenario;

Here is the southern pincer ready to attack northwards towards Kharkov;

And finally, the German forces that we massing around in the south at Slavyansk preparing for Operation Fredericus;

This is a big project and everything shown is work in process, but we wanted to share what had been done to date. The Panzer Campaign games are such a strong series that we wanted to put the time in and update them to be more aesthetically pleasing both graphically and aurally.

We do not want to release them piecemeal so there is still a bit of a wait, but we thought it important to show the progress to date. Until next post…

40 thoughts on “Panzer Campaigns – Back to the Future

  • Great news people, it’s really great to hear this!

    Panzer campaigns, and especially the eastern front do really need an update, and I’m not speaking about graphics primarily. Most campaign scenarios are unluckily unplayable under current state, except for Minsk and maybe few smaller campaign scenarios…

    But until you solve the biggest issue these games suffer, you won’t move that much forward towards their playability.. And this is again mainly about the Eastern front titles. I will create a post this weekend at the blitz to detaily describe what I mean, with all the evidence. Until this is solved, I’m considering these series playable for maybe 15-20%. And I believe that it hopefully won’t be such a problem to fix, as it is implemented in other series, the FWWC.

    What I’m talking about? No air attacks on bridges and some special stuff requiring a lot of new coding rather a cancelation of a single rule that breaks these great games, well most of them,into a some kind of shooter game with a map.

    The rule: Disrupted units have half their movement allowance. I’m playing these games for 10 years, played every main campaign for Rzhev, and I have to say, that despite there are few more issues that could be solved, but they are rather of design approach, this single built in rule simply destroys the game so much it becomes unplayable. Please, erase this rule/code. If there should be a single thing you will do with this update, let it be that one, otherwise we re just painting a new color on a broken machine. I will explain everything at the blitz this weekend, need to summarize stuff, screenshots etc.

    Lets take that Don Bend scenario you have up there. Man that one is absolutely unplayable, totaly no interesting tactical situations like the next scenario with soviet small pocket. Won’t happen, ever, until the sidruoted units are allowed to move normally.

    Once again, thank you very much, I really appreciate the work you guys are putting into these games, it can be clearly seen how much you love them and care about them 🙂

    See you later at the blitz 😉

    • Hello there,

      I am one of the persons working on the re-releasing of the PzC games… I for one didn’t understand very well what you refer to, other than there seems to be a problem with disrupted units not being as mobile as units in good order.

      Miquel.

      • Hi Miquel,

        Love your avatar 🙂 I know what Fhil is asking about. Currently units in the PzC lose half their movement points when disrupted. This is not the case in First World War Campaign series so it could be ported across if we get some programming resources.

        David

        • Hello there,

          that would certainly change how the games play, in a pretty radical way.

          I am not sure I love the idea, though 😛

          Miquel.

          • Well, that is the idea, because the game, or 85% of the East campaigns and scenario play bad. I’m not the only one that thinks so, but lets leave that to the blitz, sorry I cannot go deeper now, during the weekend I will explain, demonstrate with supporting stuff. Just please, consider this being at least an optional rule guys. Cause this games really need this one if called radical change in order to be reasonably realistic.. Meanwhile, thank you for your answers, looking forward to talk about this in better detail 😉

    • I love what you guys are doing! I’ve been using the panzer battles demo and think it improves an already great title. I’m wondering are you planning on upgrading any of the WW1 campaign titles? Also, when and where will the new projects be available? thanks for your hard work.

      • Jeff,

        Currently we’re focused on Panzer Campaigns. First World War is Ed William’s baby and Jison has done some amazing work there and in my opinion does not require any rework. As for Modern Campaigns, again that is not on our current list as we would have a lot more work to do on unit graphics than in the Panzer Campaign series – maybe when we get some spare time….

        David

    • Hi,
      just what was needed. After a long break returned to PzC, and MC, and greatly enjoy them. But the above update is needed. Still keeping my fingers crossed that MC will not be ignored. It would be shame to abandon them.
      All the best,
      Kip.

  • Love everything about the new graphics, David, EXCEPT those Jison-type hexes. I really can’t stand them and find them so ugly, cluttering and confusing that I wouldn’t play a game that looked like that. I mean it. I haven’t bothered to buy the FWW series because of the incorporation of this style. Will I be able to get rid of them? Will I be able to switch off hexes as you can now and not see those things? I doubt it, because you’ve gone and filled in the centres light so that even with hexes off all you see is hexes. It looks about as far from a natural map as you can get. I don’t think I’m alone. Many like hexes, many hate them. The old series at least let you switch them on and off as needed, so it was each to his own. I don’t know why you’ve gone and taken away that option. But given you have, will I at least be able to swap in the old terrain files – are they the same size?

    • Peter,

      No hexside hexes are included – as mentioned previously. I have not shown them in the shots here.

      Also note, I had the standard Tiller hexsides on for all shots – so both the Jison like & Tiller hexsides can be removed.

      David

  • That’s a relief. Thanks, David. But, hexsides aside, aren’t the actual hexes (the terrain tiles) now coloured as per Jison’s – with each hex area having a kind of light patch in the middle which shows the terrain as a hex grid whether or not you’ve got the hex lines switched on, whether or not you’ve got the sides removed? That’s what it looks like above. You asked about which hex design was preferred in the Blitz, I recall (I responded there) and I believe most people came out in favour of the least cluttered effect – which was, more or less, just plain colouring, no centre to the hex. But above it looks as if you have given a centre (a la Jison) to each hex, no? And, if so, are the files the same sixe as the old ones, and will I thus be able to swap the actual terrain tiles (not talking about hexsides here, just the actual normal, mud, snow etc terrain tiles) for the old ones?
    Thanks again. Aside from my hex thing, the graphics are a massive improvement. The towns are especially good, but I like the trees, villages, symbols too. Great stuff, provided I can get away from the hexy effect and have it looking more like a normal map.

  • Great job making the rivers look more natural too!
    Actually, when I look closely at the last 3 images, it may be that the light-hex-centre effect is very mild and it will look nice once the hexes are switched off.

    Peter

    • We’re working through all the options including pricing and discounting. As we’re refreshing the whole range there are a few different approaches that can be taken. We’ll announce more once we have decided what to do.

      David

      • That is nice to hear, since I discover PZ Campaigns I have been interested in having them all 🙂 I hope this will be possible, i will keep an eye on this.

  • Nice see PzC is going to be modernized… maybe apart art improve some old titles need an improved OOB to… i think in Kharkov 42 that has a little to old OOBs

    About discounts… i think a good idea could be do like Matrix and for every game you own receive a discount… maybe 1% to a max of 10-15% and another discount bonus if you buy a pack of titles… 5% for 2, 10% for 3 (15%+10% means you buy 4 titles by the price of 3)… with this rebuy some titles could be less painfull specially when like me i miss practically all when i move to a new home… at least i mantein the HD where i install all them.

    Well, lets see how is the resurrection of PzC even when i prefer see new titles to hehehe.

    • Kharkov ’42 will come with an additional new campaign game by Cesar. It’s amazing and I’ll post the changelog at some point…

      David

  • Discounts? Have I misunderstood earlier comments, David? I thought that those of us who have already paid $40 per title would get these changes as previously – as a patch, for free? Is that not to be the case?

    Peter

  • Wonderful news. Looks and sounds great. And I own all the PC games and always come back to them, so I don’t even mind paying for updates to this series if required. Would not mind at all. The updates look like they will be worth it. Looking forward to the update release. Thanks.

  • I purchased not only the hps titles but the jts stiles and I would willingly pay for these to support this series. Great news

  • Hi

    in need of help 🙂 Sorry for posting here but cant find an email for contact,

    I cant open the game product page I keep getting
    ‘Hmm, we can’t reach this page.’

    Finally found a link to the demo and downloaded. Enjoying the demo but cant open manual or help so its a bit difficult to progress or even buy a game.

    I think others have had the same problem from what I can see.

    Thanks

    • Steve,

      There have been some issues due to over zealous filtering over at the John Tiller site. Either try accessing it from a different location/IP or reach out to Support@johntillersoftware.com and they should be able to assist you directly. Go the manual and help, do you have Adobe PDF reader installed on your system?

      David

  • Hi 🙂

    I´m new to this site, but feel like sharing my opinion on PzC.

    I´ve been playing PzC for about 10 years now, and before that I used to play the PC game World af War Stalingrad and Operation Crusader.

    It sounds very interesting that you are going to make some updates, and I´m looking forward to see what you come up with. But until that happens, I´m having some suggestions that I feel will make PzC a true “Gold series” 🙂

    To me the perfect PzC game would be, if you adopted some of the features from the World at War series into the PzC series

    1) Lets face it – the AI divisional movement in PzC simply does not work. Make it work – or even better – just get rid of it.
    Instead you should add a feature where you can give open orders to individual units – just like in WaW.
    i.e. order a unit to go from A to B using a certain route, (use transportation mode here and tactical mode there). The unit will execute the orders over the next many turns, and report to you when they are done. The unit will only terminate its orders if contact with enemy units is established.
    I´m currently playing the Moscow 42 campaign scenario, and its taking the fun out of the game, that I´m having to move every god damn German unit, each and every turn – especially when the weather is bad, and they can only move a couple of hexes per turn…… 🙂

    2) Like in WaW it should also be made possible to attach individual units to a divisional HQ.
    i.e. I want to attach a corp Nebelwerfer directly to a Panzer Division, but I cannot do that without attaching a bunch of other corp units at the same time.

    3) Bunkers, pillboxes, trenches, etc, should have a certain defensive value when attacked frontally, but a reduced defensive value when attacked in the flank or from the rear. Anyway – a bunker´s defensive value should be reduced when hit a certain number of time by artillery or FLAK. Today bunkers have a fixed defensive value.

    4) I agree with Fhil that it should be possible to destroy bridges by aircraft of artillery attacks – it makes the game much more realistic

    5) But most of all – you have to make the computer play a better game. “Cosmetic surgery” is fine, but doesn´t make it alone 🙂

    a) Much to often the computer allows itself to be surrounded without trying too break out and return to its own lines. And units outside the encirclement ring don´t try to relieve their comrades.

    b) The Soviet artillery (which is formidable) is too passive – it should pound every German unit in the open in sight, but usually does nothing. The artillery is also very easy to trick – a single shootout between two individual units will make the AI spend all the artillery firepower at once, after which I can start the main attack without being shelled.

    c) Partisans are much to passive. Most of the time they are just remaining in their starting positions, doing nothing. They should dig in along the roads and wait in ambush for the Germans – making it difficult for them to bring their reinforcements forward in time.

    d) In Moscow 42 some well entrenched soviet unit are leaving their bunkers for no reason at all – making them easy prey for my artillery.

    It would be very interesting to hear if any of you have similar ideas, or any comments to my suggestions 🙂

    Kind regards

    Bo (from Denmark)

  • No offense guys but I don’t intend on buying the same games twice or paying for an upgrade or patch. Maybe I won’t have all the latest doodads with my games but I can still get hundreds on hours on enjoyment out of them without spending another dime.

    • Hi Tim,

      We expect there will be a free patch/upgrade for existing owners. We won’t be asking people to buy the games again.

      David

  • All Great news, But a lot of this can be done already, ie, I can get the patches myself, I can get the map mod myself, I can get volcano art mods myself..ect…

    What I think people really crave after being in the blitz community for a while now and owning all the titles is…. New titles. People want the crimea, The berlin, The courland pocket, and so on. Well that’s my humble opinion anyhow.

    Still all good work tho.

    Craig

  • Some suggestions for the PzC update:

    -More clear fog of war. Like PzB.
    -More intuitive mouse cursor. Sometimes it´s difficult to see.
    -An option to view/HQ on top. Similar to “leaders on top” in the Napoleonic series.
    -Contours, area boundaries and Labels settings auto-saved on game exit.
    -Divisional markings colors on the unit box.
    -A clic sound everytime a unit is selected.

  • What is the latest for the PC’s updates…the last time we heard was 4 months ago.

    By the way, I love the updates as shown in Moscow 42.

    • Hi there,

      All is still being worked on. That said we’re on a time crunch trying to get another (new) title out and that is consuming more time than expected currently.

      I want everything done yesterday but there are only so many man hours in a week. That said, good progress is being made and we will make a call on release timing soon.

      David

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