In our recent Developer Q & A, we mentioned yet another new feature to be introduced with the imminent arrival of the Manstein build: the first iteration of the fog of war. It’s a fairly common feature in strategy games, and it should have a noticeable impact on the way Generals plan their moves.
The term “fog of war” (“Nebel des Krieges“) was coined by the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz to describe the lack of situational awareness experienced by the participants in a military conflict. In the chaos of warfare, you very often have no idea where your enemies are, or your friends, or how they are doing. What happened to the fighter squadron you saw flying over your head yesterday? Did they bomb the target or get shot down? Probably only their commanding officer knows.
To simulate this, we will turn off the lights! Beginning with the coming Manstein build, the Campaign Map will be darkened and you will only be able to see what the Assault Teams directly under your command can see. This includes both friendly and enemy units. Otherwise it would be too easy to circumvent the fog of war by logging into an alternate account on the rival faction and checking out where everyone is. However, you will remain able to see ongoing battles as orange flames anywhere on the map, so you always know where the party is happening.
This limited vision will also force Generals to discuss strategies with each other more and exchange information on the faction chat in order to organize their offensives. This lays the groundwork for the Command Structure, which we plan to implement at a later stage, and in which the upper echelons of the hierarchy would be able to get a more complete picture of the conflict, seeing what all their subordinates see.
But that’s not all: by eliminating the need to draw all Assault Teams deployed on the Campaign Map, the fog of war should greatly improve performance and reduce memory usage.
Armies in Darkness
One important detail to keep in mind is that the Campaign Map is built on a square grid. This affects how your Assault Teams’ field of vision will be represented. You may have noticed in the example above that the Light Armor AT at Königs Wusterhausen is near the top left corner of the map square (right side of the illustration). Light Armor ATs have a vision range of 0: this means they only see the map square inside of which they are located. The result is that the “spotlight” which represents this AT’s field of vision appears off-center. This is not a bug, but rather the result of the grid resolution. We may adjust the grid resolution (and vision ranges) in future builds so that everything appears more centered.
Also note that your AT’s field of vision will not travel in real-time, but only follow your AT once it reaches its destination.
Some units see more than others! With the fog of war, Recon units will live up to their name by providing reconnaissance reports in the form of a wider range of vision. A range of 2 means the unit’s vision extends to 2 squares in every direction around the unit’s current square, thus encompassing a 5×5 grid. Motorized Recon, as well as Fighter Squadrons, can reveal a 7×7 grid (range = 3). Starting in the Manstein build, having upgraded Assault Teams becomes much more interesting!
|Assault Team type||Vision range|
|Motorized Anti-Tank Infantry||1|
|Medium Tank Destroyer||1|
NB: All reinforcements traveling to their assault team have a vision range of 0, limiting their view distance to their own current square.