A is for Abbreviated A2Z. I won’t be compiling any 26-entry news round-ups while The Experiment is running, but truncated versions like this may appear from time to time.

B is for Betty revelations

Michael Claringbould, an expert on the air war in the Pacific who has been assisting Drydock Dreams Games, the studio making Task Force Admiral, shares some fascinating details about the conflict in this interview. The portion on parachute use in the IJN and IJAAS is particularly startling.

C is for CityDriver crucified

Sadly, my CityDriver fears (“ViewApp’s determination to faithfully recreate the architecture of central Munich may have undesirable performance and coverage consequences”) seem to have been well-founded. The £30 motoring sim has garnered dozens of red thumbs since its release on Monday. A cramped venue, poor performance, flawed traffic AI, and lousy controller configuration facilities, are the most criticised shortcomings.

D is for Disturbing disclosures

The news emerging from the Tank Squad workshop is a tad concerning. DeGenerals are grappling with major optimization/AI challenges:

“Our custom pathfinding system might not be up to allow smooth calculations and pathfinding for 100-200 agents at once. The biggest issue is that currently, our AI does not follow the correct path to the next objectives/triggers/exit points and just stays idle. This in the end creates an issue with performance in late battle, as having 400+ units at the same time causes the game to have very few frames… We’ve discovered that our vehicles and their complexity have an impact on the physics engine in Unity. We will have to make the model easier for computation… When the vehicles change into wrecks then we disable most of their physics and simulation, but not enough. Having 20-30 + wrecks on a scene still causes Unity to drop frames… Infantry needs the animator state machine working all the time, resulting in performance drops.”

Amazingly, despite the problems, they still intend to release a demo in ten days time.

E is for Elephant berserk phase

Inspired by long-in-the-tusk Avalon Hill and SPI board wargames, the £8 (until June 14) Battle of Zama won’t be winning any beauty contests. Its novel spooked pachyderm phase is the primary only reason I’ve speculatively assigned it one of next week’s daily posts.

F is for Free Steam steam engine sim

Persuading the mechanical contrivance in this dinky diversion to wake from its slumbers is easy. Persuading it to run at a sensible/soothing rate, however, takes experimentation and delicacy. For unknown reasons, I found an 80ish RPM chuff-chuff most pleasing. Fiddling with throttle, fire, and brake settings, it’s not hard to picture a more elaborate, stationary steam engine sim – a game in which the player is asked to adjust the output of an 18th Century power plant to meet, as efficiently as possible, the fluctuating demands of a mine or factory.

G is for Gates of Freedom is growing on me

Now I’ve grasped how the unusual card-reliant combat system work, I’m starting to enjoy Comrades and Barons: Gates of Freedom.

Because busts looks fairly similar from height and roundel colours can be confusing (In the image above, my forces are ringed), telling friend from foe in bigger scraps is sometimes difficult, but accept this along with other questionable design choices such as binary victory conditions, and absent FoW and logistics, and the elegant, pacy Gates of Freedom should get under your skin.

I’ve yet to play a scenario in which I’m cast as the defender, but judging by the adroit way the computer opportunistically counter-attacks when defending, the focus in the campaigns on offence isn’t driven by AI limitations.


  1. Bare bones Zama. For ten bucks I am not complaining. UI gets the job done, but could be a bit easier to use. Read the initial instructions, although when I read them my mouse stopped working and I had to bring up the task manager to get out of the program. A bit rough here, but I can see the promise.

  2. I love the new abbreviated format. I always look forward to A2Z but then after a day it’s over and I spend the rest of the month waiting for the next one.

  3. Love the transparency from DeGenerals, even as I share their frustration at the optimisation challenge they’re facing.

    It’s easy to tell when an engine is struggling. It’s exceedingly rare for a development team to explain why.

    I shall however resist the temptation to offer optimisation suggestions, as they are of course immeasurably more experienced in developing Unity based tank games than me.

  4. The Tank Squad gameplay video looked a little too arcadish for my taste. I know it won’t be a hardcore sim, but I hope the devs find the right balance between sim and arcade elements.

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