Cool Wheels!

A lot has been achieved this week. The wheeling system is almost complete. I am now in a position where I can show you moving wheeling units (see the video at the end of this blog post)!

To get to this position involved a lot of work. The first thing I had to do was modify the orders system so that its symbology supported two display modes: Issuing Order Mode, and Order Issued Mode.

This modification allows Ancient Armies to display different graphics whilst an order is being issued compared to those that are displayed once the order has been issued.

An example is probably a good idea at this point! 🙂

Over the next two pictures I issue a wheel order to the Macedonian Infantry unit. Note that the order shows more symbology whilst the order is being issued, versus the symbology that is visible after the order has been issued:

Here I'm in the act of issuing a wheel order to the Macedonian Infantry Unit. When issuing a wheel order additional symbology is displayed that will help the user to turn their unit by the correct amount to intercept a particular point or unit on the map. (Click for full-sized image)

Here I’m in the act of issuing a wheel order to the Macedonian Infantry Unit. When issuing a wheel order additional symbology is displayed that will help the user to turn their unit by the correct amount to intercept a particular point or unit on the map. (Click for full-sized image)

Once the order is issued, the additional symbology disappears to leave an informative and uncluttered display. (Click for full-sized image)

Once the order is issued, the additional symbology disappears to leave an informative and uncluttered display. (Click for full-sized image)

The result is that the user is presented with enough symbology whilst issuing the order to make the issuing of such orders simple and accurate. In the case of the wheel order it displays a line of travel to allow the user to point the unit at exactly the right point on the map.

However, once the order is issued, all of the extraneous symbology is removed to leave an uncluttered and easily understood map!

Consider the more complex example below:

Here the symbology is being used in anger! I think it is relatively uncluttered and makes it easy for a user to determine what each unit is up to. The eagle eyed amongst you will have also noticed two kinds of wheel order....

Here the wheeling symbology is being used in anger! I think it is relatively uncluttered and makes it easy for a user to determine what each unit is up to. The eagle eyed amongst you will have also noticed two kinds of wheel order…. (Click for full-sized image)

There is a lot going on in this picture, yet it is easy for the user to see what is going on and where each unit is going to go once they start moving.

As mentioned in the caption, the other addition to the system is the ‘Fast Wheel’ order. This order is a lot faster than the standard wheel, but players should use it sparingly as it has a much greater impact on unit cohesion when compared to a standard ‘Wheel’ order.

In the previous few blogs, I extolled the virtues of Ancient Armies high fidelity wheeling mechanism with regard to picking the correct realistic pivot point. However, the realism goes a lot further than this.

In many current wargames if one picks two different sized units and orders them both to turn by the same number of degrees, both units will invariably complete their turn at the same time.

The above seems like a sound notion, but it is completely unrealistic. A unit can only turn as fast as the fastest person/horse/elephant on the outside edge of the formation. As a result, larger formations take longer to turn because the distance that he outer edged person/horse/elephant has to cover is far greater than for a smaller formation.

This is one of the reasons why the Romans moved away from the Phalanx and embraced the smaller and much more manoeuvrable Maniple. Alas, most wargames don’t show this additional manoeuvrability, simply because their modelling of unit turning lacks the appropriate amount of fidelity.

To make this clearer, the next two images show a Macedonian Phalanx and a Roman Maniple turning through 90 degrees:

Here are two accurately portrayed units that are exactly to scale. On the left is a Macedonian Phalanx, on the right is a Roman Maniple. I have given both units orders to turn through 90 degrees. In most other wargames, both units will complete their turns at the same time.... (Click for full-sized image)

Here are two accurately portrayed units that are exactly to scale. On the left is a Macedonian Phalanx, on the right is a Roman Maniple. I have given both units orders to turn through 90 degrees. In most other wargames, both units will complete their turns at the same time…. (Click for full-sized image)

One turn later (30 seconds of game time), it has become obvious that the Roman Maniple is turning far faster than the Macedonian Phalanx. This is due to the fact that Ancient Armies takes the circumference of the angles into account. As a result the Macedonian unit actually has much further to move compared with the Roman Unit. I'm unaware of any current game that simulates this properly - another first for Ancient Armies! (Click for full-sized image)

One turn later – 30 seconds of game time, it has become obvious that the Roman Maniple is turning far faster than the Macedonian Phalanx. This is due to the fact that Ancient Armies takes the circumference of the angles into account. As a result the Macedonian unit actually has much further to move compared with the Roman Unit. I’m unaware of any current game that simulates this properly – another first for Ancient Armies! (Click for full-sized image)

To give you the chance to see everything for ‘real’, here is a video of Ancient Armies wheeling orders in action:

Laters

RobP

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