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Sat, 31 Jan 2015 02:25:00 +0000
Gaius MariusBack to Colleen McCullough, for a second; she passed on earlier in the week - and readers might know her for the Thornbirds which was one of those big mini-series like they used to run on tv (in the US) -in the 80's - but my focus is on her Rome series.
At present I have only gotten through the first two titles, and had started the third several years ago but had to put it aside due to personal circumstances.
I have had some significant experience with the entire historical fiction genre, and one thing that I want to put out there right off of the bat - this series is much more similar to say, something Jeff or Michael Shaara, or even Allan W. Eckert wrote than say, John Jakes -or any number of authors that wrote serial historical novels pitching to a more generalised audience appeal. Basically take that to mean that some authors in this genre, in the past, have slipped a little '50 Shades of Grey' type of stuff into their historical 'plot lines'. Rest assured, that is not Ms McCullough's style.
I have had access to some of the material that she had written was some of her source material (as I don't have any of the books readily available to refer to at the moment -this is strictly 'iirc' territory.) material such as Livius, and Cicero -she referenced literature of the antiquities heavily. Yes, there are politics, social upheavals (face it - Rome of the Gaius Marius/Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix era was rife with it all -as it was with military reforms -which also entailed social reforms). I can't get into the details entirely, but basically this all starts with a period of societal change which was brought about by integrating Italians into the society of Rome; creating and maintaining a citizen army (prior to this it was more of a strictly Roman -meaning the immediate area of the city of Rome -and not the Italian peninsula thing) -and it also involved a hefty bit of class level politics.
While I don't entirely know how the Roman legislature worked, I do know that Ms McCullough described its functioning in things like votes as to how the Parliamentary system works in Australia (and probably the wider Westminster system of governance, although my main exposure to this has been in Australia ...) - meaning that when votes are held, the Senators get up and move from one side of the floor to the other as per how they vote prior to being counted. In the US it is just a roll call type system if it isn't accepted to have happened by a voice vote. In Australia -we do the voice vote and then sometimes a 'division' is required - this moving around is what a 'division' is -and it happened fairly frequently in the first two books (so if you are from the US -this is what that is all about.).
The first book relied a lot on reading correspondence (which I think probably exists in some form) to drive the narrative of the story. The second book did some of this, but relied on this method of story development a lot less.
The entire series basically tracks the rise and fall of Gaius Julius Caesar (and by 'rise' I mean birth), and the final volume was sort of one that fans (including some fairly prominent ones) appealed to have written.
In Australia it is pretty common to find these in op shops (op shops being like Goodwill, or a Salvation Army store in the US), so I have been pretty lucky in acquiring a set -I think even one of the titles I got hold of was a signed copy.
If I had more time, I would really love to spend some quality time in the Roman (ok and Macedonian too) period; for the record at the moment, I don't ... but someday... and revisit this fine series to give it the attention that it deserves.
Sun, 18 Jan 2015 05:06:00 +0000I don't actually have a part 2 yet, but just in case I do I will be ready for it, numerically speaking.
I tweaked the French 2d unit colour so that it is a bit lighter and provides a bigger contrast with the Prussians as well. I also changed it in BPW for no other reason than for maintaining consistency.
Tue, 06 Jan 2015 03:06:00 +0000
As it turns out I forgot to include the winter weather terrain. I have no added that to the mod download, although I will have to look into toning down the fields (read that to mean ditching the really bright green) in the non-winter weather terrain.
Tue, 30 Dec 2014 11:13:00 +0000
Click here for SDC's NB Mod page.
Been a long day, apologies for the lack of my ordinary prose ;).
Sun, 28 Dec 2014 01:55:00 +0000In prior years I have focused mainly on the titles, and now looks to be a good time to expand upon the theme, and begin adding in material by series topic, where it might not necessarily match up to an existing title.
With that in mind, folders are in the process of being added for each series, and I will restructure P Bruffell's Ancient Warfare area to be consistent with the new material I want to start bringing in to the site.
The above is a navigation menu for the Napoleonic Battles' series, and these categories will be specific to the series itself. In other words, the NB spotlights, NB strategies, NB mods, etc...
This is more about a plan going forward, than it is ready-made content. I might add a 'Bookshelf' category to add in links to material in the public domain, for example, Oman's Peninsular War volumes, or things like that.
I might also use this as something to replace the download area -in that I really don't have the time to manage that area, it would be pretty work-intensive so it might not happen, but I like the thought of being able to ditch that problem software.
Mon, 22 Dec 2014 21:49:00 +0000An precursor to content, and the thing is that when being a member of clubs can present some issues when creating content. I am not entirely sure that a club might not be counterproductive when it comes to providing content for the site.
It does provide a lot of good opportunities to network, as well as to get a wider exposure to, potentially, all of the titles.
I would like to provide more article oriented content, although for me, it only actually counts if it can be done to a certain standard.
My first try at this will be from one of the title's that has been around for awhile, Campaign Wagram. In this I will focus upon the day 1 French river crossings from Lobau Island.
Starting on the screenshots...
This will be involved talking to points of pioneer usage, and strategies ( ok, well mine anyways ;). plus also focusing on command control strategies ( paying attention to keeping your units together).
Some of this involves, prioritising and managing crossing points, which to a degree is not dissimilar to managing the follow on waves in Normandy '44.
I will also be making mention of certain environmental conditions ( mainly line of sight considerations) -and what the Austrians have that can impact your crossings. Granted, though, that my experience is coming against the AI as an opponent - but then again if no unit is able to reach an area then, really it does not seem to matter if you are playing the AI or a live person.
Ok- well this is sort of an intro into what is going on, and I need to start assemble some relevant screenshots for this. Part of this is due to an indirect request from NWC for some content.
~On another note, I am getting ready to put together my annual funding drive, and will be putting together a post regarding this. I was fortunate enough to get an early donation, so I already have $20.00 covered of the $125.00 goal that I have set.
Finally, a bit of a status update on what I want to accomplish in the next several weeks, outside of the above article, I also want to do some work on a general NB mod, that is centered around various JTS graphics that are already published. Note, however, that I might well take on the hexgrid to see what I can do - I guess that is a longer term objective.
Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:15:00 +0000This one is ready for prime time now, so although I do plan on writing out some notes later now, that is probably more about providing content for the site as opposed to anything directly related to the mod itself.
http://hist-sdc.com/mdc/sdc_bpw_mod.phpThere are a few other mods coming for the Napoleonic Battles' series, however this is mainly going to be based upon making available BPW's stock 3d graphics.I suppose there is a little irony in these are some of the same ones that I just switched out of BPW... but, well ... yes I guess it did work that way. I don't think that there will be that great of a turnaround time for these -as I did significantly more on BPW's other than map work -things like the Phasebox, the Vertical and Horizontal Bankboxes, the Unitbox and Leaderbox files, unit counters... vp flags... flags themselves... even the Cover.bmp file...
Sun, 07 Dec 2014 11:09:00 +0000While I have been posting images to the site's Facebook page -I also wanted to add a finalised version of the Leaderbox and Unitbox image (in this case for the French).
What's new on this one? I added a bit of map background ala the method already used in the series, although I changed my approach to this a little in that I went with 2 half size map images so that the same map image would remain on the activated unit which it did not do before.
I guess, technically speaking, this is a finalised candidate in that while this image does show an activated leader with inactive units -it does not look all that different and I can tweak that a little bit more easily.
Sun, 30 Nov 2014 01:26:00 +0000... for traditions ... first, a family tradition (ok it is just mine really) - the Christmas Scud (made in China) ... for some reason one of those fly by night seasonal Christmas themed shops had this candy-filled Scud as one of its items for sale. Yes sure it was completely out of context to all of the other decorations there - so naturally I just had to get it. -And it has been a centrepiece of some sort ever since (maybe worse - I left the candy in the thing ... hey it wouldn't be as collectable ... tongue firmly in cheek)...So all marvel at the Christmas Scud - it truly is that time of year. :D
Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:00:00 +0000As first mentioned yesterday, I wanted to point out a thing or two about working with bmp files in the JTS titles (or in other words graphics' modding); alignment in digital images is a technical issue that you might have learned about in mathematics classes.
An image is basically a big graph, and each pixel has its specific location, and of course the JTS graphics use bitmaps (bmp) as their images of choice although technically this information applies to any graphic file type.These locations are all determined by an x and a y location on any given digital image file. Some software will tell you where these are so that as a designer you can pinpoint an exact spot where you want to work in an image.
This becomes very important when modifying files like can be found in Tiller's titles as the images can be fairly small, and there is not always a lot of space to work with; that plus it is easy enough when working to just estimate a space and end up going outside of a set parameter.
For example, in the above image, the dot is a X:1, Y: -8 -and yes, this is also exactly the same concept used in identifying specific hex coordinates in the games.The basic impact of this is you get fragments of images being shown - a common example of this can sometimes be found in the 3d artwork as there are a lot of files for the artist to go through and like anything sometimes things get missed.
-so have a thought about the humble X and Y axes - they are a pretty important consideration.
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 05:14:00 +0000
Recently having acquired a screenshot app, as well as doing some work on North German Plain '85 (admittedly right at the very end of its development cycle) ... ok so there was the need for the screenshot app, as well as nutting out how to use it successfully.
There is the potential for some AARs/strategy content for the apps going forward. I imagine that I will be getting hold of ME67 eventually -and this promises to become a new fully fledged area for SDC in the very near future.
What with apps. there presents some complications to creating content that the PC versions just don't have - namely the ease of resizing the screen (inadvertently to be sure) which then messes up the ability to stitch together several shots - in the above case on my planning map -it happened on the very last couple of images which I decided to ditch since all of my units were shown on the map and that was the main point anyway. About the only thing that my own planning map does not have is the bottom hexrow which becomes relevant in that there is a supply source on the bottom of the map.
NGP '85 is another one of the apps developed by Dave Blackburn, and will certainly not be the last. One technique that you will notice that is used on the apps are the use of blocked hexes to restrict the useable area on the map - combine that with limited turns and you have an app that presents the player with situations that are designed to be brief, but challenging with (like most good apps) the opportunity to compete against your own scores.
In my own case, I am getting my feet wet with the MC series after a long hiatus (from the PC version), and am relearning all of the controls.
This one will transport you back to feathered hair and the synthetic drumming of the 1980's (or in my case -I guess you might call it Iron Maiden ... whatever ... the same thing :) - this one is about your classic Reagan-era Cold War turned hotwar confrontation.
Sun, 16 Nov 2014 00:33:00 +0000Apps:
I admit that I had been focused on working with my laptop/desktop even though I had gotten a tablet about 11 months ago, so I neglected working out how to take a screen grab on the tablet.
I fixed that little problem this weekend, so I am now good to go.
Ok, so what does this mean? Well. for one thing is means that there will be some content on the Apps start to show up on the site and on the FB page -things like AAR's and situational reports. All that, though is in the future, as first I want to stock up on the apps that I am missing.
I will do an entire write up for this when I go to release this - I have worked around the periphery this past week, and am really about there with things.
That's is - ok, the Phasebox will take the most time... mostly because it is about resizing images and developing easily readable text for the graphic file.
- Phasebox.bmp file
- Add texture/background image to unitbox/leaderbox.bmp files
- Add in some more palm trees into the 3d forest hexes
- Probably reinstall another iteration of the title so I can create backups of the stock images
I might need to adjust the size of the Spanish banner so that it matches the other nations' banner proportions. In the end I went with a banner without the coat of arms -as based upon where the leaders and unit portraits sit, they would mostly be blocked anyway ... call it 'artistic licence' on my part.
Sat, 15 Nov 2014 15:56:00 +0000
HPS just released Waterloo Update 107.
Changes for Campaign Waterloo 1.07
- Added Magnified 2D view (View menu, mouse wheel, or hot key '5').
- Added 2D terrain slopes to show elevations.
- Added movement sounds.
Note: This update is for the HPS version of Waterloo only, not the JTS version.
This update can be found here: http://www.hpssims.com/Pages/Updates/up_NapBats/up_NapBat.asp
Fri, 07 Nov 2014 23:58:00 +0000Well it is the weekend down here in Australia so I am going to fit in a bit of work around the hockey game today.
My focus today is going to be on the Unit box and the Leader box files (I will work on the counters and bases as well in order to coordinate all of the colours -in fact I might get on that before adjusting the unit box and leader box files much further since I am working with a base set of colours that I had sitting about.
The above image box is what I have for Spain (plus I have added in the others as well -but more on that in another post). The leader is activated while the other infantry unit is not -just to show the difference in effects. This is only a draft in so far as I am going to add some effects as well - and replace the flag or national symbol -I just have not gotten to that point as of yet.
I was not planning on playing around with the actual images for leaders or units.
As for the map itself - I might play around with the 3d trees a little to mix in some larger trees in amongst the scrub - but I have not yet decided on that just yet.
Also the plan is to create planning maps using the mod, add these to a page in the one area of the site that I haven't really gotten much content on (practically none really) - Mod Design Center/Centre and then add a link to the mod itself where it can be downloaded if you want.
Another thing that I have been doing is I got a little chance to actually play the game (which is fairly unusual given my schedule ... ;) ) -one of the campaigns- I think Portugal 1809 -and I might be tempted to do a brief AAR on the first scenario in that campaign once things are all said and done. It is a nice little title, and I am looking forward to the second part (otoh -I am a completist in these sort of things :D.
Sun, 02 Nov 2014 08:05:00 +0000I did not expect to get into a full blown mod right at this time, well not on a new title at any rate. I guess you can say that I am actually really just practicing with my image editing software (usually just limited to creating planning maps.).
While I sort of expected to be working some on a mod, I actually expected that mod to be for Early American Wars (and I suppose ironically -not using Mexican-American War material yet because the other three titles of the series are all using a less Southwestern theme... ) -as it turns out as noted elsewhere on this blog (as well as on the site's FB page), JTS released a title that had long been in development for them - 'Bonaparte's Peninsular War'.
I do have a page up on the site for this title. I took some time to put together a banner (I sort of like working with more 'real estate' on the page that the header banners allow for (although I also wished that I had made the site's dimensions fixed instead of fluid - but that is another project for another day - well probably month or so -who knows when that might end up being.... but never mind all of that for now.).
On the banner, I used a period map ( a close up to be exact) of the Battle of Talavera. Sure the mini banner thing which technically does not need to be there I guess (and will probably end up getting replaced with something more appropriate at some point), and a reconsistuted Knoetel (I think) previously used on Campaign Eckmuehl.
In the process of working with planning maps (my forte I guess), it struck me that they seemed to be pretty good for most parts of Europe, but I was wondering what it might look like if I reworked the terrain from Mexican-American War (yes - that's exactly right - reworked stock graphics) -it seemed more Spanish (or at least arid) and so I went with that -although the issue with NB titles is that they also come with 28 hex row graphics and the maps draw from either a standard 14 row or the 28 rowed maps: I had to convert the MAW hex graphics to a bmp file double the size of MAW and wanted to retain its rather unique usage of 'noise' on the hexes - basically what I did was carve up the alt graphics in MAW and interspersed them with the standard map. I traded out the bridge graphics, sorta worked in a different 3D building, and ended up using what I think is Bill Peters' road graphic mod.
Now after more or less working within standardized MAW graphics to this point -I will have to probably work outside of the square some, and will look to replace the unit and leader boxes -mainly because I think that the colours need to be toned down some, add to that I might work in some of the dialog menus to brighten things up a little, and I might work on the blank boxes -or see what I can do with that as well. I guess too that I might play around some with the water hexes a little. Why? Well frankly it is mostly about practice.
I guess all of this might eventually make for some content for 'Mod Design Center/Centre - a seldom talked about place here that basically has no content apart from a link to Jison's own area (I think.).
The other thing that this brings about - is that I will have to create the planning maps using stock graphics from the game -so I probably need to go in and sort these out a bit -so that I can get that finalised for the the site - then finish off the mod.
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:32:00 +0000
The Peninsular War was one of the longest and most drawn-out campaigns of the Napoleonic War; a piece of Imperial regime change designed to close off the last European ports open to British trade, which instead developed into the "Spanish Ulcer" that sapped the strength of Napoleon's empire and left him to fight a two-front war that would ultimately destroy him.
After 1808, Napoleon left the Peninsular conflict in the hands of his brother Joseph, and of the marshals and generals commanding the various French armies. No one man was given supreme command of all French forces in Spain, and French operations – though frequently successful on a local level, were marred by a lack of cooperation. This was made yet worse by Napoleon's own attempts to run the war by remote control from Paris, sending written orders that were out of date even before they were despatched.
Though often defeated, and similarly bereft of central control for the early years of the war, the Spanish leaders kept on putting fresh armies into the field, while the civilian populace refused to surrender and fought a bloody guerrilla war against the invaders. This tied down a large part of the French forces, limiting the numbers available to pursue further conquests. As a result, once their initial occupying army had been driven out in 1808, the French were never able to conquer Portugal, which was defended by its own reorganized forces and by a growing British contingent. The British were led by Arthur Wellesley, a man of outstanding ability who would subsequently get the better of Napoleon himself at Waterloo. Although initially the French had the upper hand, the reorganization of the Portuguese army by Beresford and the construction of the Lines of Torres Vedras secured Portugal from French conquest. Thereafter, Portugal would become the base for the Anglo-Portuguese army that would eventually join with the Spanish to evict the French from the Peninsula.
Bonaparte's Peninsular War will take you through battles and campaigns focused in and around Portugal, but also branch out into Spain for some of the early war actions of 1809. The balance of the Peninsular conflict is covered in a follow-up title currently in development. For further details you may read the Designers Notes.
•Over 170 scenarios to include the battles of Badajoz, Bailen, Oporto, Rolica, Talavera, Vimeiro, and many more.
•Tutorial scenario that helps the player learn the game system.
•Scenarios range from small to large and have versions designed for both play against the A/I as well as those focused on PBEM.
•Three campaigns are included covering 1809 & 1810 in Portugal as well as the series of battles leading up to and including Vimeiro in 1808.
•Turn scale is either 15 or 10 minute turns.
•Over 40 maps with the largest being over 84,000 hexes.
•Scenario and Campaign Editors.
•2D Zoom-In View
Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8
Processor: 1 GHz
Disk Space: 1 GB
Memory: 1 GB
Video Memory: 512 MB
More info about Bonaparte's Peninsular War can be found over at JTS:
The game can only be purchased from the JTS store, located here:
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:53:00 +0000
HPS just released update V1.05 for France '14.
Changes to France '14 V1.05
- Increase in HQ restoration rate.
- Changes to some resource files.
Please note that this update is for the HPS version of France'14, not the JTS version.
The update can be downloaded here:
Sun, 26 Oct 2014 01:01:00 +0000
JTS just released the update V1.05 for the JTS version of France'14.
Changes to France '14 V1.05
- Increase in HQ restoration rate.
- Changes to some resource files.
Please note that this update is just for the JTS version, not the HPS version.
The update can be found here: http://johntillersoftware.com/Updates.html
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:30:00 +0000I ran across this earlier; this can come up with scenario design, and it is a very important consideration to make prior to contacting Support at John Tiller Software or HPS Simulations -namely because it is something that they will not be able to assist with.
This is one such example, where the problem was in a user made PDT table (mind you I am definitely not criticising the author -as what with all of the coding that can go into making a scenario -these things do happen).
In this instance a parameter line for a weapon was omitted -and with the resultant impact being that units with that sort of weapon were unable to fire.
Ok the point basically is, is that the companies are not able to provide support for custom created files.
Sun, 05 Oct 2014 11:17:00 +0000A few weeks ago I had pause to consider my position 'graphically' -nothing seemed to be working.At the same time I felt that I was maybe going to be in need in of a new carry bag for my research gear -and things being what they are - at the store, you need to add a new design at least every 90 days - and I guess my time might have been getting close... I got to a work (ok -I did not put a lot of time into these -an example being to the left), and I still have some other project material that I need to get to elsewhere.Anyway ... that is about it for the weekend for me (I will probably have to put this aside for a bit -all graphic work is actually good practice, and yes, I think that you can accurately call this practice as well. ;)
Sat, 04 Oct 2014 13:32:00 +0000One of the things I have noticed is that a lot of wargaming sites, particularly miniature sites, focus on photography. And yes, I agree that the models are incredible, and an art-form in their own right.What seems to be lacking a lot of times, is (for me at any rate), the strategy behind the wargame itself. I don't know if I would call it a failure, per se, but I would probably suggest, instead, that it is a significant missed opportunity that links a battle (in a lot of cases a scenario), and the history behind the situation being gamed out.What are the objectives being contested? What is the strategy being adopted? What is the historical background? When it is all said and done, how does the player (or do the players) evaluate what you have achieved?I guess that is what I find to be one of the most interesting parts of the hobby, if not the main purpose for playing.Take, for example, a plan that I have had to write a debriefing of a recent match at Spotsylvania that I had with Don Vandergriff, where the scenario ended prematurely due to Don's day job.This won't be a full on AAR, if only for the main reason that I was not really keeping a running log of what was going on (this battle was part of a linked campaign in Campaign Overland). Don had been suitably unimpressed with my play before this scenario, when he had called me: "...by far... the most cautious player (that he) had ever played." Well in my own defence, that was the first two scenarios of the campaign ( and the second scenario was largely hindered due to his withdrawal to a map edge and digging in with a hedgehog as well as rainy weather which impeded my progress in finding him. The first battle - was one where I frankly had hoped that he would have gotten frustrated at me and come after me -forcing a crossing near Orange CH - and to which I had dug in with the aim of fighting a river defence (instead of forcing a crossing over a river -with some nasty looking fortified works behind them)... I suppose at best I would have allowed an artillery duel... but -well, this isn't at all about any of that (seeing as nothing at all happened really).Spotsylvania wasn't like that.I think I will chuck out the images, and come back to the narrative later (and I might make a page out of it). Speaking of pages- I also have some screenshots for a Civil War Battles graphics mod that I was sent recently, and I will have to get those organised as well as make the mod available for download (I have gotten a bit backed up with personal life over the past month or so.).
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:55:00 +0000
JTS just released Leipzig Update V1.05
The update includes:
Changes for Campaign Leipzig V1.05
- Added Magnified 2D view (View menu, mouse wheel, or hot key '5').
- Multiple scenario updates.
The update can be found here:
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 02:47:00 +0000
HPS just released update v2.0 for Atlanta, Corinth, Shiloh, and Vicksburg.
All of the updates include:
- Added Mixed Organization Penalty Optional Rule for -1 morale modifier when units from different brigades are in the same hex.
- Added ability to construct Trenches in certain scenarios based on Parameter Data Trench Construction value.
The updates can be found here:
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:25:00 +0000
JTS just released Waterloo update v1.07.
Please note that this update is only for the JTS version of Waterloo.
The release of the HPS Waterloo version will follow.
Changes for Campaign Waterloo 1.07
- Added Magnified 2D view (View menu, mouse wheel, or hot key '5').
The JTS Waterloo version update can be found here:
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:55:00 +0000http://hist-sdc.com/spotlights/fwwc_ep14.php
I still have to add in links to the updated documentation files, however I do have a page up for it.
By the sounds of things, there is an update to be put out shortly for owners of the HPS version of France '14 as well (from what I understand, it is actually completed and just waiting on HPS to add it to their site).
Owners of the HPS version should not update to the JTS version, as that update is already posted at the JTS site (JTS having direct control over when they can update their material on their own site - it is one of the major perks of running your own site...). If you were to do this with the HPS version -then the HPS version would begin asking you for a serial number -which you wouldn't have. If that were to happen, you should be able to apply the update when it comes out from the HPS site to overlay the erroneously applied JTS update.
..which was one of the things I found out while testing the recent Campaign Waterloo update.Loading
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Scenario Design Center aims to provide you with utilities and ideas to create custom scenarios for use with titles released by John Tiller Software as well as John Tiller's and Paul Bruffell's games from HPS Simulations. Also supported are John Tiller's games through Talonsoft Games. This site is not owned and/or operated by any game company, and as such all material posted here should be considered unofficial; the above companies are not responsible for providing support for anything found on this site (although SDC may be able to assist in some cases).
Scenario Design Center/Centre (aka SDC) use and hosting of images/files of their respective product lines is done with with the expressed written permission of HPS Simulations and John Tiller Software.