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Thread: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

  1. #1

    Default My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Few days spent on Napoleon TW gave me plenty of things to think about
    I spent some time thinking how do digest this big pile of information.i ll start from the very beginning and i ll go deeper and deeper into details.

    Game was tested on:

    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3,00GHz
    Memory: 4GB DDR2 800MHz
    Graphic: Gigabyte GTX 285
    MB: Asus P5QC

    This configuration allows gameplay on max. details with no freeze nor any problems.
    Graphic is simply overwhelming (it is not creme de la creme of the strategy game, but worth of notice). You can see lots of smoke in areas where infantry units are shooting and You can see very nice fire traces out of muskets and cannons.
    Opposite - explosion of grenades thrown by the grenadiers is a tragedy. It looks like Jumbo jet engine sucked in a carriage filled with cow and pulverized it all over the throw area.

    There s a brand new dvice built in the game. It is a voice chat. I had no chance to check whether it works correctly. No way to connect to anybody now.
    Music has not been changed yet and comes from ETW. Other things like cannon and musket shots too.

    First thing i did was running the Tutorial, but i just checked the content and left. Nothing interesting.
    Secondarly i started to play SM battle of Ligny.
    First thing i saw was very nice radar working like HUD. It is big, gives some informations about units - as usually, but also is informing us about bridges. Theres 2x zoom and You can see it quite big on the screen, but at the same time view of the battlefield remains clear.
    This time You can see such a details like running units.

    Napoleon,s battle menu allows to see more historical battles:
    -Arcole
    -Dresden
    -Austerlitz
    -Borodino
    -Pyramides
    -over the Nile
    -Waterloo
    -Trafalgar

    Ligny gave me opportunity to test interface, units behaviour, orders obeying, fire orders, attributes, fatigue system.
    I wanted also to check morale system, but full understanding of it will come with some data files readers after game release.

    Interface

    has been remodeled. Now You ll see one single line of buttons over the unit cards. Middle panel allows unit managing with directional and movement buttons. On the right side u have fire and formation buttons. Left side is containig run, group, preset formations, melee and retreat buttons. Wooow - RETREAT button works now 10/10.
    I hope counter ll be back for replays, but there was no way to check it. Preview version has no replay loading button.
    One thing is missing for me is unit order while group is formed when You use ALT button then GROUP button. It worked perfectly from early Games until MTW2. ETW engine was so poor, that this feature was not included regardles the fact it s important and usefull.
    I haven t seen "inflatable stakes" in the game and i am keeping my fingers crossed for CA hoping they came to mind that it was bad idea. IMHO stakes were coming from the nuts dream. Just imagine unit of snipers travelling with telegraph poles and installing it within 8 secs before enemy cav arrives...
    I haven t seen it, but idt does not mean it is not in da game. I saw just one light inf unit - french chasseurs.
    Another new idea is General's abilities.
    First of all there s a blue circle showing General's influence area. It s size is depending on General's abilities or experience. general can change units morale and experience level. There s a limited number of commands for each battle. Napoleon had possibility to improve units morale three times and this action was working on all units present in blue circle area when button was pressed. Experience gaining was working on one present in blue area and selected unit only. In case of Napoleon this action could be used twice.
    I think that other things did not change and as previously generals presence is giving morale boost and his death causes morale shock changing in time into constant morale drop.

    My opinion: I see big improvement here and all of this are good news for MP community

    Units behaviour and reaction to orders

    Most important thing is - units are obeying orders without any delays nor neglect.
    Pretty amazing.......... no more triple R to see units running, no surprise that they slowed down by themselves.
    More amazing is that "pavise man syndrome " is away. Units no longer run into shooting range but reaching maximum shooting distance are taking shooting position and firing with no further delays.
    When unit is highlighted one single click on enemy unit is enough for Your unit to turn the face toward enemy, reform and start shooting enemy flanking unit.
    Formation change when moving lasts just few seconds. Soldiers are breaking lines like falling house of cards and pretty quick we can see a column instead of triple line.
    There's no magic line/column button and no preset formation.

    One sad thing is that "snake tail" is still present . Unit in double line ordered to melee acts like lap dancer on the stick making weird moves. Unit deep for 4-5 lines is attacking properly without any strange behaviour.
    Another - square formation is formed with speed of light and squared units can't to move

    My opinion: it is revolution comparing to ETW, however some flaws are still present

    Firing orders

    Playing France i could check numerous units as: Militia, National Guard, Revolutionary Infantry, Fusilliers of the line, Chasseurs, Grenadiers, Young Guard, Old Guard
    I was surprised again. BAI is quite amart now.
    Line units are firing for distance of 80m.
    Light infantry are firing for 100m.
    EDIT: For the first time i saw enemy Jaegers in Campaign game. Their range is 125m
    When i sent my light infantry to shoot out Austrian Grenadiers they started to run from my shooting area as soon as i had them in my shooting range....... Great - don't Ya think?
    Fire rate and accuracy of basic units as Militia, National Guard and Revolutionary Infantry is low.
    Light infantry is quite good, but nothing can beat Old Guard having accuracy 70 and Fire and Advance attribute.
    Having just basic version it is hard to say how firing orders work in Napoleon. ETW offered different attributes like mass fire, fire by rank, paltoon fire and improved platoon fire.
    I am somehow persuaded that after what i saw :
    -there s no platoon fire (Old Guard or Young Guard did not used it during Ligny battle)
    -the only attribute present is Fire and Advance and it is available for elite units like Grenadiers and Guard.
    pressing this feature in cas of Old Guard gives pretty impressive view.
    Third row is advancing and firing then is replaced pretty fast. Effectivity of it remind me platoon fire, but under totally different approach.
    Other units are diversified by number of rank allowed to fire.
    In case of Armored Citizenry, Militia, Revolutionary Infantry thre s just first row able to shot.
    Others are checking nasal holes and sharing expressions from last night rapes in a passive await for a free spot in a death row.
    In other words these are the units to be placed in wide formation - as we all know it makes them vulnerable for melee attack as all of these units should have attriubute run_like_rabbit.
    Line infantry is much better. It depends bow deep formation we create.
    If it is too deep (more than 5 rows) You ll se first and second row shooting and some marauders from other rows are firing too.
    Change to preset formation or to three row formation makes almost entire unit firing.
    Why almost?....
    Because there s "misfire" modifier working on the battlefield and gaining importance especially during rains - Your General is reminding it several times during wet encounter.
    Avoid firing while formed in columns. Just forst row of soldiers is shooting.
    All soldiers in units are standing. Slight change is seen in light infantry units. All soldiers are kneeling, when ordered loose formation.

    My opinion: it looks good - including fire power diversification

    Fatigue system

    As usually we have system with 6 states of fatigue
    FRESH -> ACTIVE -> WINDED -> TIRED -> VERY TIRED -> EXHAUSTED

    EDIT: Tests made on campaign map of Milan siege have shown edition necessity.
    Fatigue system is looking similar to ETW and tests made on Ligny map have shown that:
    -Ligny map on is somehow bugged
    -Beta itself may be unstable, as i had different results during subsequent tests, and making tests for 2 or 3 units at the same time i had different results where difference was greater than could be expected due to terrain difference, gradient difference or simple error i measures.

    Morale system

    As i said before it is hard to say anything about it now, but one thik is worth of notice.
    Now there's a morale bar present over the unit flag.
    As i saw units are able to fight until their losses come to 60-80% depending on unit class and battle situation.
    Artillery is complicating isituation as it's force is destroying balance. One battery shot is able to cause units with 50-60% of losses to run away.

    My opinion: should be observed, but looks ok with musket fire. Melee looks quite OK, but at this stage i am not able to say that i am 100% sure of it.

    Artillery

    Another mistake.....
    I had chance to test 6pdrs with 450m shooting distance, 12pdrs with 600m shooting distance and 6pdr howitzers with 400m shooting distance.
    First of all - i haven't seen shrapnell. Just round shots and canister shots are available.
    Howitzer looks quite OK. it is true that this gun is able to cause heavy losses, but firstly it has to hit an unit...... and it is not so easy.
    Explosion makes quite nice hole in da ground.
    Cannons are firing far behind shooting range. It does not make any damage to placed behind shooting range units, but it changes when You hit a house with an unit placed inside. House gets damage and unit gets losses.....
    Canister shots are even worse. it s range is quite short, but when enemy enter shooting range and leaves it running away canister shoots are chasing this running unit even when 500m away. No losses, but for the Christ sake - is there no way that programists make good ballistic model taking into account that ..... let's say canister particles and round shots are loosing their energy close to their shooting range???? Is it so hard?
    Another bad thing i saw is canister shoot hitting again the left wing of the targeted unit... WHY? Problem with nodes? It must be corrected. Cannons should try to hit the center of the unit, where losses might be devastating. If shot is oriented to the wing it looks like two guns out of four are missing target and another two are killing some soldiers, but canister is just half effective
    The most devastating and unacceptable thing is fact that artillery is able to demolish every cavalry unit within seconds and devastate any infantry unit in column. I am comparing this element of the game to ETW mod TROM.
    Artillery there is also able to hit badly cavalry units, but there's big difference between Napoleon and TROM. Hitting a cavalry unit on TROM makes You happy, because of low accuracy of cannons and hitting a cavalry on Napoleon makes You scared as every half of rounds is very well placed and one volley is able to kill 75% of cavalrymen in a unit..... far too many.
    I looks like round shots have so big energy. Hit is throwing soldiers far away from their horses - up to 30m.
    There s a new option in artillery like Barrage Fire. It is a fire order making Your battery to fire faster, but after a certain period canons must cool down, so battery remains silent.
    Graphic effects are great. Round shots are leaving trenches in the battlefield.

    My opinion: if it remains unchanged we ll face artillery ban in MP battles for sure
    EDIT Jack Lusted explained that beta build has been done long time ago and we should observe change in artillery lethality on final version as he made changes in the meantime.

    Cavalry

    Charge on moving infantry units is strong. Charge in the back is even stronger.
    There s no problem with razing or panicking elite infantry unit while attacked by two cav units.
    Square is effective as it was but can't move.....

    My opinion: we should wait for full version for further evaluation

    Campaign description

    Italian campaign starts putting France in quite defavorable situation. Napoleon is ruling one town and having initially small forces has to open the way to Vienna being attacked by almost all taking part nations. Just one Toscany can not decide what to do. Others want to kick Napoleon's butt. To finish campaign we need to take control over Clagenfurt.
    Nations are quite agressive and having few towns i got to fight almost all of them. All the maccaroni simply hate Napoleon....
    So far i spent few hours playing campaign and i can share with You information about new features, diplomacy, technology tree, unit recruitment, attrition system, AI on the campaign map and BAI.
    Recruiting units lasts longer and it s impossible to have brand new full army within four-five rounds. So You simply must take care of Your units and try to find best places to "refill them"
    Attrition system is merciless. I sent for tests 480 soldiers ito the Alps camp in the early December. When Spring came i had just 277 soldiers able to fight for the Emperor. Scarry.... especially when You think about great campaign in Russia.
    What would happen if i sent 2.400?
    Attrition is one side of noveauty, but on the other side You can find supply points and stores allowing You to rebuild army quite fast in provinces where supplies are available.
    Italian campaicn allows to build max 2nd level buildings.
    Supply buildnings are giving boost to rebuildand
    1st level allows +10% replenish rate in province where built
    2nd level allows +20% in province where built and +2% in all other provicies
    Other buildings like pastures, factories, farms, vineyards are playing role in army development or are lowering unit prices.
    As in ETW some buildings allow new technology development grouped as previously in ETW in three groups: military, philosophy and industrial
    ETW gave chance to have 42 military findings, 21 philosophy and 16 industrial.
    So far in Italian Campaign - and this is the smallest one i've found 9 military technologies, 4 philosophy and 8 industrial, but i am not sure if i heard, that small campaign is the one where research is turned off anyway,
    We have three political systems in da Campaign. These are Republic, Absolute Monarchy and Constitutional Monarchy
    Playing VH/VH i must say that AI is quite agressive. As soon as i advanced to the middle of the map almost all nations have attacked me simultanously. Not all AI movements are correct. Sometimes AI is loosing entire turn for an army moving 1 cm up and down until movement points are finished. Some other time AI surprised me flanking my entire army having some rest in a town, moving to the only way in the mountains in an attempt to block me. Tactically good, but AI forgot that i have 15 units in town and there s only 5 units of blocking forces.
    There are new diplomatic options
    -demand other nation to join war
    -demand other nation to finish unwanted by You alliance with another nation
    -demand of a trade embargo against other nation
    When You attack a town, You may propose capitulation. AI accepts if You re better in soldier numbers and retreats smoothly to another location. Ai looses a town, but saves soldiers making stronger army elsewhere.
    If forces are equal - You have to fight
    This time General with less experience is deploying first on the battle map, so You can see what AI did and You may react accordingly preparing scenario....
    Campaign battle maps are quite small. My 450m artillery units almost had enemy in range
    BAI is far better and advanced.
    There s no melee bug. BAI is forming a line triying to win shotout phase or tries to concentrate efforts on one wing. There s no one by one unit attack - unless we re talking about cavalry. It happens sometimes that BAI reacts ETW way sending 1 flanking cavalry unit.
    Attempts to destroy our artillery are a priority for BAI. Cavalry is seeking it on the battlefield in an attempt to destroy it. Sometimes it is unwise as they re passing in front of our units taking heavy casualties from musket fire.
    Another stupid habit of BAI is mass hiding of infantry units in town buildings. That s boring as three units of artillery are destroying a house and killing all soldiers before they re able to leave building...... Easy gain when fighting for a town.
    I witnessed worse things. Sometimes artillery is acting like russian NKWD units - killing own infantry or cavalry, as BAI loves to put em just in front of the guns. No further reaction for own casualties, till units re fleeing
    It is sure - Napoleon is far better than ETW and random player invitation is for me an option removing these flaws.
    After we won town may be peacefully taken over or just burned and robbed. First option allows us to see happy citizens and income in every round. Second gives a pile of cash, but let s forget about hapiness and any important income rise.
    I caused riots once. Rebels army was quite strong, but i wonand left my army in the field. Remnants of rebels has taken back town and when i repeated siege i was really shocked....
    I received even bigger pile of money form burning a town already burned........... is should not work this way as it makes Madoff happy.
    Being besieged by AI army i saw funny thing.
    My two armored citizenry units in fort were surrounded by 2 line inf units and one artillery. BAI did not use guns..... BAI wanted to use ropes and seweral tests ended always the same way. They were running around my fort not paying attention for what am i doing and installed ropes always in thwe same position. Left fort's corner in the back.....
    I haven t noticed soldiers lost in the trees, so there was no single accident with an entire unit refusing to shoot as Henry is producing a canister in nearby bushes.

    In Total: there's a VERY BIG improvement and game has potential to be a very good option for MP community and tournaments. Some work of moders (i hope The Lordz ll be fast this time) may turn it into piece of art.
    I said i ll not buy it unless i see some positive comments after release. After testing i preordered and i am ahppy that it is less than one month from now on to put my hands on it.
    Last edited by Niesmiertelnik; February 06, 2010 at 08:28 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Thanks for posting. Please everybody be correct and polite this time with this work

  3. #3
    GTFO. Jamie's Avatar Decanus
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    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    did the BAI make use of formations? Did they actually arrange their units into a line and not bugger about with shifting everyone around every few seconds or moving around in a big blob back and forth?

  4. #4

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Lets see if this guy will fare any better than me LOL

  5. #5
    Vicarius
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    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Thanks for the informative review, Niesmiertelnik : )

  6. #6

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Yes, this time BAI is trying to find best position and starts to fire asap. Units are trying to form long line putting more force on our weaker wing (if their initial position allows it. I haven t noticed Tourret syndrome while AI controlled units are approaching. It clearly looks like they know what they want to do and they proceed..... no wandering blob formation this time


    However this is correct for infantry. Cavalry often reacts ETW way sending single unit to the wing, or (that s new) has a priority to destroy our artillery at all costs ending killed by our inf units fire.
    Last edited by Niesmiertelnik; January 27, 2010 at 03:06 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    "Others are checking nasal holes and sharing expressions from last night rapes in a passive await for a free spot in a death row". You funny man!
    Thanks for the report good sir, lets hope some of the negatives you mention will be improved in main release. Shame they still hav'n't fixed the dangerous artill from shooting it's own, but we'll see.

  8. #8

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Hey "immortal" .

    Very nice review. Thanks a lot for spending all this time testing ntw and writing down your thoughts so others can get a gimps into the game.

    As i know you're a veteran of TW games, I'm convinced by your testimony and am very pleased to hear you say that CA did a good job improving the etw engine.

    +Rep, you deserve it mate.

  9. #9

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Have you noticed an improvement to animations, for example: better motion-capture fighting, cavaliers struggling as they're dragged by their horses, etc.? Any graphical issues with sprites, the "disappearing hat trick" (different levels of zoom-in causing disappearing or changing unit details, i.e. Hussar with an Iroquois headband)? Are we still in the realm of "Clone Wars" or do the units have varied facial details? Do Napoleon and other units speak their language in campaign/battle/cine, or is it accented English?

    Can you provide us with a "PrintScr" image of the craters in the ground caused by artillery? (If so, feel free to provide as many images as per your leisure )

    Is there a "ground fire" option for artillery to bypass the "left-wing" default aim (a feature more at home in Blitzkrieg and Men of War, sure, but one needed for any arty-based game)?

    Thanks again for the great preview!

  10. #10
    SirAndrewD's Avatar Civis
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    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Thanks for the preview!

    On the subject of the BAI, when on the defense does the AI actually try to hold a position and defend or is it like ETW where it's almost always the aggressor regardless of who is attacker/defender? This was always a real game breaker for me with ETW since it was always too easy to lure the AI to slaughter onto my pre-prepared battle lines backed by artillery, even if I was the one that was "attacking".

    Again, thank you for taking the time. +rep
    Last edited by SirAndrewD; January 27, 2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: forced at gunpoint by banditos.

  11. #11

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    better motion-capture fighting
    I think yes, but i have noticed it just in case of infantry.
    Cavalry is rather scarry for me, as i saw ETW 1.0 syndrome. Units clashing and then..... nothing .... hands up, swords n lances up... total freeze... they were lika small blind cangaroos in mother's sack - just rubbing each other
    I haven't been chasing any errors in sprites, as i am having quite busy period in my life now and being for last 5 years 100% Multiplayer gamer i concentrated on things important for MP community.
    I hope You ll understand - having 3v3 battles You look for totally different things.
    cavaliers struggling as they're dragged by their horses, etc
    Definately yes... it is beautifull view, same as panicked horses without riders wandering all over the battlefield.
    Are we still in the realm of "Clone Wars" or do the units have varied facial details
    I do not care, but i can check that. In multiplayer i love to see a mass killing. Single soldiers or their faces are not important. I won't decorate their chests with some medals.
    Can you provide us with a "PrintScr" image of the craters in the ground caused by artillery?
    Definately not, as this action is forbidden. i ll not break agreement rules putting at risk totalwar.org.pl i was recensing this beta for.


    Liberalis mate.
    Thank You for warm welcome. It might be needed if You see my number of posts here...
    But it s true that until now i was active on multiplayer forums only.
    Last edited by Niesmiertelnik; January 27, 2010 at 03:30 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Sounds Fantastic Actually everything but the sieges.
    He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat - Napoleon Bonaparte

  13. #13

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    I am convinced this is basically ETW 1.3 AI and now we are to applaud their efforts. I appreciate the preview, but if I was big into conspiracy theories, I would jump on the bandwagon that CA made ETW BAI terrible after the sales cycle so anyone who wanted to play against the AI and use actual tactics instead of blob warfare would have to buy NTW.


  14. #14

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Wait a second, WAIT ONE SECOND! Are you telling me that I am not the only one who can't get the stinkin units to run (or even move) when you tell them to? I thought this was due to my humble laptop, and it has really been ticking me off lately in MP. I have lost battles because my idiot units will not respond to my commands, so I an ECSTATIC that this has been fixed!

    Sounds like great info on the BAI and even CAI. I am sure that if enough people take exception to the fatigue and arty strength, it will be patched just as it was for ETW.

  15. #15

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Hmmmm. I still remember introduction of ETW, where CA said that this is a brand new interface and it is friendly for new players and may be somehow difficult for vets.
    Truth is that it was simply unfinished ......

  16. #16
    GasMask's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Good Review

  17. #17

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    If you could answer to that:

    what do you think of the sounds of the muskets?
    when troops are walking, is there some music march?
    Did you saw the new model of cavalry lancers, the new lances?
    Are Some troops abble to build ?
    Did you try to see if there is the bug melee( did the ennemies shot on you or simply charged?)
    I believe for the last you already answered...

  18. #18

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Thanks alot for the review - good to know CA has (possibly) learned from earlier problems. I will keep my eyes more on N:TW from now on. I have never buyed a TW game sooner than 6 months after its release (I do the same with all video games - there are always smaler or bigger flaws that need to be fixed). Haven't bought Empire yet (because time period didn't and doesn't interrest me). The Napoleonic era is one of my favourites and now theres even a greater chance that I'll wait just 6 months (but no longer) before buying as I always did.
    "He will die, but you will be destroyed" - Marion. From the AAR "Sword of Albion" by Theodotos I.


  19. #19

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    I'm not that optimist as you Niesmertelnik, talking for MP of course.
    Warp speed to form square, overpowered artillery...I wonder how cavalry will be still usefull. No effect of fatigue, no proper column implemented...looks many suggestions by the community have simply been ignored. I saw stakes again for lights. Let's hope in the first patch then.

  20. #20

    Default Re: My hands on Napoleon beta preview

    Thanks for the review Niesmiertelnik. Good work.

    Does NTW have some type of a grand campaign option beyond the three scripted ones?

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