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Poniższa strona to archiwalna wersja "ANGV Game Underground Page" w stanie niemal dokładnie takim jak w momencie jej zamrożenia. Wœród nielicznych zmian warty wzmianki jest fakt uaktualnienia patcha do wersji demo. Zawiera on zmiany dla artylerii a także zmienia "zamrożone stawy/jeziora" (kod 'P') w teren niedostępny. Patch ma okres działania ograniczony do końca czerwca - do tego czasu powinna już być dostępna pełna wersja gry.
Fakt zamrożenia tej "podziemnej" aktywnoœci nie oznacza oczywiœcie, że wszystko zostało już powiedziane. Sam mam kilka nowych, ciekawych informacji, które mogłyby znaleœć się na tej stronie, a z drugiej strony lista pytań i problemów wymagających odpowiedzi i rozwiązań jest ciaągle długa i raczej roœnie niż maleje. Być może za jakiœ czas znajdę doœć czasu i motywacji by wrócić to tematu, być może ktoœ inny spróbuje skrócić tę listę otwartych pytań.
Jak łatwo zauważyć strona jest obecnie dostępna jedynie w języku angielskim. Zależnie od iloœci wolnego czasu i skali zainteresowania (to znaczy od tego czy znajdzie się ktokolwiek chętny do czytania tego :) być może spróbuję też przygotować polską wersję. Póki co jeœli ktoœ jest zainteresowany informacjami zawartymi na tej stronie ale ma kłopoty z (przyznaję kiepskim :) angielskim lub po prostu chciałby wymienić kilka uwag na temat ANGV i/lub tworzenia własnych modów dla tej gry (co byœcie na przykład powiedzieli na "Bitwy Powstania Listopadowego"? :) to mój e-mail podany niżej pozostaje aktualny.

Here is archival version of the "ANGV Game Underground Page" in the state almost exactly like in the moment I decide to freeze it over. The only change worth to be mentioned is the updated patch for the ANGV demo. It encompasses artillery related changes and tricks ANGV engine to treat frozen ponds terrain ('P' code) as impassable (just like 'A' and 'B' impassable streams). Updated patch is supposed to cease working after 30 of June. Until then release version of the game should be already available (or just shipped and on the way :)
The fact that I decided to freeze my "underground" web activities does not mean of course that there is nothing more to say. Even currently I do have a few new topics/updates which are probably worth to be added to the page. And - what is of the greatest importance - the list of the open questions/problems is still very long and rather seems to still grow then decrease. Maybe in the future I will find enough time and motivation to return back to the topic, maybe someone else will take the effort to find missing solutions and shorten the list of open questions.

FYI: The game was released 8th of July. First copies are already in hands of lucky players. Go to BAG forum (see Links) to read about their first impressions. After getting my copy (should be soon :) I will try to find some time to compare release version with the demo with regard to the things I tried to describe here on the page. I'd like to describe differencies, correct my errors and maybe add some new info about ANGV internals. It won't happen soon however (if at all). First: because I will want to have some fun playing ANGV (MP?). Second: 'cause I'm already dividing my time between a few other ongoing WNLB/ANGV related "projects" (and there are also such very disturbing things like "job" and "private life" :).
   

ANGV Game Underground Page

This page is dedicated to (too) long awaited and still not released Breakaway Games' game - Austerlitz: Napoleon's Greatest Victory.
[It was finally released 8th of July]

What the reason for the page if the game is not here yet ?. Well, though game is not on the shelves there is (great !) demo available. It contains two example scenarios plus "random" one (in twelve variants!) which taken together is lot of fun. Unfortunately about three months is enough time to exploit all available options to their limits and now there is not much to do while waiting for the release...

After falling into that situation I have started to look at demo from the programmer rather then end user point of view. This page is intened to describe results of the efforts. Some info contained here maybe interesting to anybody who is tired of waiting (see Solution), other would be of interest only to most courios probably (Backdoor!).
If you want to know more about the game itself, please check the Links provided.


InfoNews       What and why      Solution       Scenarios       Backdoor!       Tips&Tricks      Future       Links       

[email protected]


D I S C L A I M E R

 THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON THIS PAGE IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" BASIS. THE AUTHOR MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THOSE OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, WITH RESPECT TO THIS DOCUMENT AND THE INFORMATION AND SOFTWARE PRESENT HEREIN. THE AUTHOR DOES NOT WARRANT, GUARANTEE OR MAKE ANY REPRESENTATIONS REGARDING THE USE OR THE RESULTS OF THE USE OF THESE DOCUMENTS OR THE INFORMATION OR SOFTWARE PRESENT HEREIN. THE ENTIRE RISK OF USING THE INFORMATION PRESENT IN THIS DOCUMENT IS ASSUMED BY THE USER. IN NO EVENT WILL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE TO ANY PARTY (i) FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF BUSINESS PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, LOSS OF PROGRAMS OR INFORMATION, AND THE LIKE), OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE AVAILABILITY, USE, RELIANCE ON, OR INABILITY TO USE THIS DOCUMENT OR THE INFORMATION OR SOFTWARE PRESENT HEREIN, EVEN IF THE AUTHOR HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, AND REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, OR OTHERWISE; OR (ii) FOR ANY CLAIM ATTRIBUTABLE TO ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR OTHER INACCURACIES IN, OR DESTRUCTIVE PROPERTIES OF ANY INFORMATION.

PLEASE, READ DISCLAIMER FIRST!
It is fun in itself afterall

Please note: though this page may stay online for a while don't expect here any webmaster's "fireworks" - it is intended only as a temporary solution!

Last Updated: Thursday 16th of May 2002
This page is still in statu nascendi.

Having any remarks, questions, problems or insults you can contact me here: [email protected]



InfoNews


Thursday, 16th of May 2002
Long time of silence... Easy excuse would be to say that I just waited for the official ANGV announcement to synchronize with. However it wouldn't be true at all. First two weeks I was simply too busy to do anything useful. Last week was better and I was working on preparing of some new content. However that work is not ready to present yet and that update is basically "an empty one" done by the way of some administrative work. Real update should follow relatively soon. If I'll find some additional space and all will go well it may mean also a few quite interesting pictures to look at :).

BTW: The official ANGV annoucement is supposed to happen "later that month". Doch! :-)

Thursday, 25th of April 2002
First of all - good news from BAG forum. It is not official announcement yet but - taking into account the person posting the info - very close to it. Looks like the game will be released through different publisher and will hit the streets in the first half of June. More info should be available at the beginning of May. Surely I would prefer shorter waiting time but then any reliable info is good news.

What's new here? Mostly minor to medium additions and corrections to existing topics on both pages. On the [email protected] page: supplement regarding positioning of "Fortified Houses" in WNLB, remarks about Fog File issue in the brute-force AUSTERLOOTM approach (with nice screenshot :) and two cool shots of Mr. Davros' Busaco battlefield map. On the main page: supplement for the artillery tip (these canisters! :) and two new tips: regarding upper limit of the map in ANGV and about fog effect. You should be able to locate new parts by looking for (a bit ugly? :) date markers like that: 25.04.02.

The bad news (for me :) is that I had hit the on-disc size limit for that web account. At first I planed to publish only one simple html page with a few even smaller zip files so I had chosen adeqately small, cost-free (thus anonymous :) account. After I started to post pictures things changed radically. As it is now I will have to limit the number of pictures until I save up some additional space or move to the larger account :-o.

Plans for the future? I may spend some time investigating deeper some of the topics already touched. In the near future I'd like to try creating another ANGV scenario (that time designed with strong artillery in mind) of the medium size (1-2 corps) and positioned somewhere in the Sokolnitz-Telnitz area. I think also about making diagnostic version of ANGV executable. There is a lot of diagnostic messages hardcoded into ANGV - currently they all are being sent into "black hole" but it should be possible to redirect them to something useful. That may allow to understand better how logic layer hidden deep inside ANGV engine is currently working.
In longer-term perspective I'm gathering info needed to do next point on my Future list: ability to dump the current state of the units during/after battle into the file available for later (post) processing. There is some chance that it will be implemented in the incoming release so I will probably wait on it before "charging home" :-). In the even longer perspective (and I mean REALLY long one) I'm starting slowly to think about Map Editor project. Maybe someone else will do it before me? :-). Needless to say I'm not able to give date estimations for any of the concepts mentioned. Time will show... :)

Saturday, 20th of April 2002
Pretty long delay comparing annoucements. Well, I can only say that I really prefer to do things than to write about them (many programmers prefer implementation over documentation :-). [email protected] story has found its place on separate page. It is rather long and not so easy to read (my English... :). As a bonus after you wade through (or instead of) it you may want to take a look at Bonus Gallery : twenty pictures snaped from AUSTERLOOTM AI-vs-AI battle (Feldmarschall Vorwaerts scenario).
AUSTERLOO is (or soon will be) registered trademark of Mr. Davros :-)

Saturday, 13th of April 2002
Artillery Tip added. It is by-product of the [email protected] investigation. In fact the topic is too big to be qualified as a tip or trick but there is currently no other place I could put it into and I don't have time to change the page layout.
To make long story short: the "tip" allows you to replace weak ANGV Demo arty by the powerful weapon and thus is bringing back some balance between the three army's arms. Especially strong arty is good counter-balance for the otherwise omnipotent cavalry arm. To taste the true power of artillery you need only to tweak the OOB files a bit. You will find such tweaked OOB files here ready for your experiments. For full (well, better at least) solution you will need to apply the patch (again! - sorry). It will resolve the "empty caissons" problem and will allow you to adjust the strength of the batteries according to your idea how the balance of combined arms should really look like.

Working on the topic above consumed most of my time and thus the description of the [email protected] story has to be delayed. I don't expect to be ready with it before Tuesday/Wednesday - sorry. For know just to show that it is really possible:
These pictures from the L'Arme Blanche scenario contain (of course) "quite a few" oddities (who is able to perceive most? :) but they show main point: possibility to play WNLB scenarios in ANGV. Note especially the friendly AI button available for use.

Two good news from the world. First: Jomini is back on the BAG forum. I think it was very wise BAG' decision. Second: there are rumours that BAG is starting to gather resources for the next project in the WNLB/ANGV series. Looks like the bright future is really close... :).

Tuesday, 9th of April 2002
Just short info: Looks like something like a breakthrough regarding the "Waterloo played through ANGV" topic is achieved (Mr Davros on the BAG forum has called that concept AUSTERLOO - that is best name I ever heard :). I was able to play through ANGV a few Waterloo scenarios without a crash or any serious jam. Of course there are still quite a few issues to be resolved / adjusted (couple of buildings, for instance), some aspects (uniforms!) will have to stay "suboptimal" but there seems to be no major problem (most serious may be recreating Hougmount complex using resources available in ANGV). For these curious or willing to repeat that experiment: I'm gonna to describe the details and post few pictures soon (before end of the week I hope). For now I want to say only one: playing Waterloo scenarios in ANGV I've found that the artillery is there an awesome weapon! In the L'Arme Blanche these British batteries are able to score rather easily some 500+ casualties in little more then half an hour (and also rout enemy cavalry regiments on its own)! I even started too think that arty is too effective there :-). Why such a difference? I suppose the secret lies in the OOB files. Artillery is encoded a bit differently in WNLB OOBs then in ANGV ones (but - surprise - ANGV seems to accept the WNLB way without problems). Is it possible to raise efficiency of arty in available Austerlitz scenarios by tweaking Austerlitz OOB files? - It is to be checked.
Again if you interested come back here in the weekend.

Sunday, 7th of April 2002
I just added THE PHEASANTRY tip. Some mistakes edited.

On the BAG forum came out a few guys working on the WNLB mods in the proffesional way. That is great news and I wish them all the best, keeping myself fingers crossed. Hope they will soon have chance to start working (and port existing mods) for the ANGV engine. The sooner, the better, I think :-).

Friday, 5th of April 2002
Because of my civil duties I didn't have as much time to work on the ANGV related topics as I would like to. My apologies to everyone (anyone? :) interested. I have added / updated:

  • Description of my epic struggle with multi-campaign feature in ANGV. It can be seen as a battle, which stake is ability to use WNLB map and play WNLB scenarios through ANGV engine. Note that there is still no final conclusion on that topic... To be found in Scenarios section.
  • A few interesting links related in some way to scenario creation (also in Scenarios of course).
  • My first scenario. You can treat it as an example how to not create custom scenarios :-) (at the end of Scenarios section).
  • One tricky tip regarding "strategy hints" in custom scenarios.
  • Backdoor! section updated.

There are some signs of life. Last week on both ANGV dissusion's boards appeared screenshots from ANGV Multi-Player game. Screenshots are cool but if somebody would drop me the scenario I would be really happy to playtest it too :-).
Ehh... nothing can compete with human vs. human battle anyway.

Wednesday, 28th of March 2002
"Opening" the page. Ok I know it was Thursday actually, but for me it was just still late Wednesday night :).

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What and Why

Things started when I have taken an interest in the scenario creation process. One of the things I wanted to do was comparing scenario format from Waterloo (WNLB) to the two scenarios provided in the ANGV demo. I've found them "hidden inside". It turned out to be possible to manually extract them, then to modifiy and store back. Thus I've got ability to play any scenario up to some limited size. Disadvantage was the need to reload ANGV after every scenario modification - it did not work well for incremental scenario design. Taking a deeper look into scenario loading process I have found that it is rather easy to turn off demo blockade completely. As a result I've got (well, almost) fully functional pre-release version of ANGV (as of about December 2001). When started game complained about lack of CD-ROM - as such it was more useless then demo version :-). One night later I learned how to selectively unlock file loading routine only, leaving all other aspects untouched. That is the Solution provided below...

Before you decide to use any information or programs available here you should understand that BAG company may be not too happy about it. The solution provided gives the ANGV demo player ability to load ANY custom scenario from disk drive (which is clearly against company's initial intention) but does preserve all other limitations of the original demo program (note that unlocking it to the full pre-release version would be also possible - more in the Backdoor! section). Also I added date-check protection so the demo will revert to the previous behaviour after about two months. Yes, it could be evaded but then anybody able to do it can probably do the same to the demo protection on his own...

Personally I do think that such extended feature may be good thing for BAG (or ANGV at least). It can help to keep attention of long waiting and often frustrated people and stop them from switching to other, ready to play games. On the other hand if BAG would think that way company would provide that or similar extension itself so you can treat the reasoning above as just looking for excuse - it is up to you.

I don't want to talk too much about fairness or legality issues. If you don't like it just don't use it. Also if BAG will firmly signal its disaprroval that page will be taken down anyway. If you decide to use it, if it work and generate fun for you - that is great. Just don't forget to buy the game when (yes, WHEN BAG ?) finally released ! And remember about disclaimer - I'm not responsible for any trouble/damage created by your usage of the information and software provided here...

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Solution


The zip file contains small executable and even shorter readme.txt file. To use you have to unpack it to your ANGV demo main directory. Be sure to close game before running the ANGVPatch.exe from there. It is Win32 console program (no GUI, sorry ;)), so find it in Explorer window and just double-click. You will see progress messages on the console (DOSBox-like) window. First program will check your game installation, then integrity of the target file(s). Next it will create backup file (by adding .BAK extension). Then comes time to first extend and later patch target file. Last thing will be sanity check against modified file(s).
It is needless to say that in any stage an error can occur. In that situation an error message and numerical error code will be printed and program will finish processing. In that case there is small chance that your AusterlitzDemo.exe may be corrupted. If so you should be able to restore it from backup (AusterlitzDemo.exe.BAK). Anyway it is wise to do your own backup copy in advance. Decision about any additional precautions is up to you (including decision to not run the patch at all ;)). I tried to make it as simple and safe as possible - teoretically worst which can happen is that it will not work for you. In practice though I can not guarantee anything for you. If it turn your PC (or your house, or city) into Waterloo-like shambles IT IS NOT MY FAULT. What I can say is that it works great for me. I tested it mostly on the Win95 OSR2 (yep! I'm rather old fashioned) as I'm using it still for playing games.

If you encounter problems that you can not handle on your own but really want to try new feature you can contact me by e-mail here: [email protected]. Please, provide any program output (error code/message) and your configuration. I will do my best to help you but (of course) can not promise any positive effects. Before mailing in case of troubles (especially if your just-patched ANGV bumps back to OS right after starting it) try first rebooting your OS. If problem is still there after reboot fill free to mail me...
Well, in fact I would also like to hear about successes - if any. So fill free to email me in any case :).

Note that first time you will run your just-patched ANGV game you will most probably see empty list of scenarios available to play. It is normal as your .\SCENARIOS directory does not contain any SCN files. See Scenarios section below to do something about it.

As said above I have added date-check protection code. Why? First: for fun (I always wanted to know how the crackers job looks like), second: to soften pangs of my conscience. The demo is supposed to reverse to the pre-patch behaviour after May 25th (will ANGV be available until then? hope so :(). Note that running demo with your PC clock put forward or back may cause earlier (permanent) reversion.

OK. Enough talking - to arms ! Here it goes (about 18KB):
ANGVPatch version 1.10
This version of the patch contains the code that tricks ANGV engine to treat 'frozen ponds' terrain element ('P' code) as impassable (just like 'A' and 'B' codes - impassable streams). To get look and feel in agreement you probably should download Mr. Davros "water ponds" artwork from his page (look for ponds.zip file there). Thas feature may be used to create REALLY BIG rivers. Remember however that because of some problems in AI and/or unit pathtracing code that feature should be treated as purely experimental (same is true for 'A' and 'B' codes of course).
If you don't want the impassable ponds feature then before patching you should rename the ANGVPatch.exe file to anything else (i.e. nowaterponds.exe :) and run that renamed file. I admit that it is somewhat unusual method of passing parameters (although it's quite common in the UNIX world) but also the simplest for me :-)

Patch functionality expires 1 of July 2002

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Scenarios


To be of any use for the solution above custom scenarios are needed. As a starting point below are two original scenarios available in demo - this time in the form of SCN files. Just unpack and copy to the .\SCENARIOS folder (note that SCI files are there already). You can use them to test if it work for you and as a starting point for creating your own scenarios.
Don't forget to check their (now available) variants too :).
Standard Scenarios (about 13KB)

Your custom scenarios should be named in the form AUSTERnn.SCN (or nnn for numbers above 100. Maximum is 199 or 200 - I never remember boundary conditions :)). Corresponding SCI file is useful but seems to be not required (?). Well, to be honest I've noticed once - in many tries - silent exit to OS when pressing BattleInfo button for scenario without SCI file.
Using SCENxxSnn.SCN form may also work (didn't check it yet). In that case you will first have to set Campaign property in the AUSTERLITZ.INI and prepare custom CONFIGxx.CFG in the MAPDATA folder. If you want to try that way dig into MAPCREATION.TXT (located in ANGV demo main directory) for more details.

20.04.02 Section describing how MultiCampaign feature is supposed to work (and why it seems to not work) has been moved to the [email protected] page.

You have now the freedom to use in your custom scenarios any units available in the OOB files (in fact you can also add new units to OOBs or modify properties of existing ones. :) There is a problem you may fall into in the process. ANGV demo does not contain all the art files of the long awaited release - amongst others it does not contain unifrom/hats bitmaps for all types of units available in the OOBs. As a result you may see in your very own brand new custom scenario battle horses without riders (very danger horses, anyway :), or deadly firing Standards wihout any soldiers under them :). Fortunately there are quite a few ways to solve that problem. The simple (quick and dirty) one is to modify the OOB files and reassign to the ghost-looking units the uniform/hats ids already available in the demo. More sophisticated (elegant but time&skills consuming) solution is to create missing uniform bitmaps starting from scratch or by modifying existing ones. Game is really easy extendable in that area. I may in near future provide here barebone solution in a form of modified OOB files with reassigned uniforms. I'm just a layman in the area of uniforms and my artistic skill level is next to zero so I can only hope that someone else will in the future provide complete and more accurate solution (BAG itself? ;) in the future.
For that very moment if you need help right now refer to the ANGV discussion board (Links). You shoud find there many people knowing how to deal with that problem. In fact it was discussed there some time ago in connection to the so-called "hidden" random scenario where in some versions you will also see riderless horses and ghost infantry (try LE version for example and see French Cuirassiers or Guards - both foot and horse).
In case you want to try DIY (Do-It-Yourself) approach Order of Battle Creation Guide and The BagBoy Graphic Convertor both of which you can find at THE ANGLE site may be of great help.
05.04.02 Good news: there is great extension (soon to be replacement? :) to the existing OOB Guide created and maintained by FeldMarshall Laudon. His OOB Guide contains lot of info in condensed yet very readable (thanks to cool formating) form. Thanks! Herr Laudon is also the author of a few art mods (hats file, uniform bitmaps for French units available in hidden scenario and even corrected medals pictures!) which can be starting point for creating final solution to the ghost-units problem. See the links for them (together with author comments) at THE ANGLE Austerlitz forum under the The Downloads Archive thread (should be near the top of list).
05.04.02 Here is mentioned above barbone ghostbuster (:) solution : OOB files with missing uniform sprites reassigned to the existing ones. Far from historical accuracy of course. Unpack to main ANGV folder, backup orginal OOBs and then rename new ones. Please, let me know if you find any errors or find better way.
Ghost-Free OOB Files

I'm going also to provide here a few of my own custom scenarios soon. Do not expect to much from them however. Creating good, well balanced scenario is an art in itself and I'm just pure amateur in that area. So forgive any deficiences and fill free to modify / correct them at will. I can not help you much regarding scenario creation - use provided scenarios as template and/or example (WNLB scenarios are also good example), ask WNLB/ANGV discussion board members for help when needed and keep trying (like me).
05.04.02 Once you master basis of scenario creation I'd like to suggest you to take a look at the Duke of Richmond "The Waterloo Expanded Version" - great extension pack for WNLB. You can find it at THE ANGLE (of course) on the User Created Scenarios page. Apart from being impressive battle in itself it is great example of advanced scenario. Amongst other things it uses some mysterious (for me) scenario sections like "Objectives", "Strategy Hints" or "Morale Bonuses". Now, I would be grateful if somebody tell me how to use that features :-). Don't forget also to read enclosed "Designer Notes" - very inspiring lecture (as measured by the number of questions it raised in my mind :).

In fact one of the major reasons I have created that page is the hope that someone else will be able to more effectively use provided solution and will create some scenarios for me :). So if you think you did make good scenario, please, please send it to me ([email protected]). I will put it in that section for others and (first of all) will have fun with it on my own :).
I wonder if there will be somebody with enough courage and passion to make his own full Austerlitz battle custom scenario? (with variants preferably! OK. - just joking :-))

05.04.02 "Chaba, chaba, chaba (Three hours with St. Hilarie)"
That is my first (almost) completed (or abandoned to be precise) scenario. I suppose you already tried "St. Hilarie" variants. Scenario above is based on one of them. It is to be played as French. Quick and bloody battle (mass murder in fact), not easy (for me) to survive. I may still try to change the MVP values (morale & victory points) as I'm not quite sure if they are now balanced correctly (I've changed them too often). Few variants easier or harder (?) to win would be also on place, including variant(s) to play as Allied. Thus feel free to enhance and extend scenario if you think it is worth your time.


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Backdoor!

auto-cenzura!

self-censored!

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Tips & Tricks

Not much for the beginning...

  • ShowActualCoords=1
    WNLB veterans probably know already that such setting in the AUSTERLITZ.INI provides (on left button click) map coordinates in the top-left corner of the screen. First pair seems to be in 0.1 meter (or yard?) units, second in units of squares. Oddly enough it seems to not work if currently selected unit/command is under "friendly" AI control...
  • 05.04.02 Strategy Hints
    There seems to be possibility to give AI hints how to command some formations. Here is a list of recognized hints:
    1. PD - "PositionDefense"
    2. MD - "MobileDefense"
    3. CD - "CordonDefense"
    4. DA - "DelayingAction"
    5. WA - "WithdrawFromAction"
    6. E - "Envelopment"
    7. DE - "DoubleEnvelopment"
    8. FA - "FrontalAssault"
    9. PB - "Probe"
    10. ? - "Dynamic" (means nothing specific?)
    That was the tip. Now, the trick is that I don't know how to use it nor how (and if at all) it works. You can find an example of the hints' usage in the real scenario at Duke of Richmond's "The Waterloo Expanded Version" mentioned above. It looks like strategy hints are related to the objectives specified in the separate section. If you figure out something on that topic I would be grateful when you let me know :).

  • 07.04.02 THE PHEASANTRY is kind of SpecArea object
    Some of you probably already noticed that feature. I have discovered it after I have seen pheasantry-like object just on the edge of the Waterloo map loaded (not without problems) in the ANGV. As it turned out THE PHEASANTRY and its properties are defined in the MAPDATA/SPECAREA.MOD file. It can be easily customized:
    1. disabled by changing property active=1 to zero.
    2. moved on the map using (ulx, uly) and (lrx, lry) pairs of properties. These seem to be specified in square units. It is certainly possible to resize the object too but to do it correctly we need first to know more about other properties which seem to define internal object's structure.
    3. duplicated. Just copy the [area001] section as many (? I've tried up to three times) times as you need, rename to [area002] (etc). To preserve object's structure it seems to be also needed to rename all the internal area001000nn property lines to area002000nn (etc.). And don't forget to change location of new objects too ;-).
    Set of wall0000n{ulx,uly,rlx,rly,type} lines seems to (surprise :) define kind and location of the walls. The exact way how the walls are positioned on the map is not clear to me. The units seem to be in something like 1/4th of the square (?), and relative to the object's dimensions. More experimenting is also needed to understand what all the codes on the area001000nn lines mean and how to use them freely. I have done only cursory testing: I've cleaned all that lines (replacing all codes by dots). As a result walls were still on place but forest inside disappeared. More important: units inside the object had no more defensive bonuses - not only "defensive forest" but also "defensive wall" and "fortified wall" had gone away. So the codes seem to define "logic-layer" properties too (as seen by the engine itself). My (only) guessing for the moment is:
    1. "a" - coding for stream (see the stream in the original PHEASANTRY)
    2. "b" - coding for stream with trees around
    3. "F" - coding for forest
    4. "W" & "w" - coding for "behind the wall" bonuses
    Again it all needs yet much longer investigation but even now I'm sure it is very flexible feature promising (when used creatively) lot of new cool terrain objects on prospective custom-made maps ! It is also big progress comparing to WNLB which seems to have things like Hougomount encoded inside the executable file (as discovered by Mr. Davros - see his post in the BAG help! Mod map making blues... and OBA for TALAVERA thread on the BAG forum. It is ninth post there). The only small complaint I have is that the feature seems to be not so to say "multi-campaign aware". Manual intervention will probably be needed when one would like to switch from one custom campaign (with its map and SpecArea objects) to another one (with different map assets).

  • 13.04.02 ARTILLERY BUG WORKAROUND: Artillery is back again THE FINAL ARGUMENT
    That tip is the side effect of the [email protected] venture. As everybody knows artillery is very weak - in fact next to useless - in the Austerlitz Demo. Thus I was rather surprised when I discovered that in the Waterloo scenarios loaded into the ANGV the artillery is VERY strong and effective weapon. How is it possible? The answer lies in the OOB files. There are differencies in the way of encoding artillery related properties between ANGV and WNLB OOB files. The ANGV way is much more flexible: it allows specifying freely any combination of the guns in the battery (looks like internally there is space for up to 10 gun types). In WNLB OOB designer has to select from the fixed set of one-letter codes which correspond to the fixed number of possible gun compositions. (List of possible codes and their meaning can be found in the Order of Battle Creation Guide at THE ANGLE site). The advantage of ANGV method is clear. Unfortunately some bugs in the ANGV code responsible for handling artillery encoded in the new style produce well-known results. Fortunately ANGV is able to read and interpret without problems (well, almost without probs) artillery described in the old (WNLB-like) way. Battery defined in that way does not exhibit any signs of weakness. In fact it transforms into very strong and lethal beast (Keep away! :). Here comes example from ANGV OOB:

    3:3:1:5,a,66,16th Co/5th Foot Artillery,E,134,16,Fr,6,>8lbGuns:6,1,St. Hilaire's Division,IV Corps

    Three artillery related fields come here after nationality code. In turn: Cannon's Number, Cannon Mix and Range Code. Changing Cannon Mix in the way like below do the trick:

    3:3:1:5,a,66,16th Co/5th Foot Artillery,E,134,16,Fr,6,B,3,St. Hilaire's Division,IV Corps

    After such change that single battery used in the With St. Hilarie... was able to rout enemy cavalry regiment in 2-3 salvos and usually needed no more then 5-10 minutes to do the same with infantry batallion(s). Having such weapon we can now come back to the hidden scenarios... no more fear of that enemy cavalry roaming everywhere, no more wasting hours in the squares. Time for revenge! All in all the balance between three arms seems to be restored and we can now again contemplate all the beauty of the combined arms tactics.
    Are there any drawbacks? Yes, there seems to be a few. Below I will propose workaround for some of them, but first let's enumerate:
    1. First we need to recode OOB files from ANGV to WNLB style. It is not easy to decide how exactly the mapping should be done (remember that ANGV way is much more flexible) and even harder to preserve historical accuracy (total number of guns, total fire strength etc.). Below I'm providing such recoded OOBs (in fact two pairs of them. Why two - explained later). These are purely experimental, may still contain many errors and were not intended to be historically accurate at all. Feel free to experiment and adjust.
    2. I've said there is almost no probs with handling of WNLB-like arty in ANGV. In fact there is single but very serious one: engine assigns for such arty the number of ammo as if there is only one barrel in the battery - it forgets to multiply the per-cannon amount by the number of guns. So the very powerful battery as it is will rather quickly become out-of-ammo and thus useless. It is the problem even in small scenarios (like With St. Hilarie...) - let alone all-day battle. Below I will describe solution to that problem. Yes, it is Yet Another F. Patch - YAFP for short (:-).
    3. Range of canister fire for the ANGV arty is limited to 200 yds. For WNLB-like arty that range is over two times longer: about 400-450 yds (and somewhere between 500-600 yds for heavy arty!). I wonder your opinion but for me it is much too much. Not that I want to suggest that canister can not be fired at 400+ yds but (imo) its efficiency decreases rather quicky (and thus as a scared resource it was usually conserved for shorter ranges). Unfortunately for now I don't know the way how to adjust that range (but I haven't finished yet with that issue... The Range Code should have something in common with it - but what? :). At the end it is a matter of taste - some of you may consider long range canister fire to be the feature anyway...
    4. Last issue is even more subjective: I have the feeling that simple recoding of OOBs gives artillery that is too (!) strong in relation to the other arms. It may be that I just got accustomed too much to the weak artillery in Demo or maybe I simple have to have the reason to complain in any case :). After playing more scenarios I may change my mind - for know in my opinion recoding operation in a large degree replaces the absolute battlefield domination of the Cavalry by the clear domination of Artillery. From cavalry-centric to the artillery-centric battle? I suppose it will not be the case in the release version of ANGV - for now I provided some workaround for that issue too.
    Let's start from the last topic. The aforesaid workaround is based on the Cannon's Number field in the OOB files. As far as I can tell normally that field is completely ignored. The number of guns assigned depends only on the Cannon Mix field (for ANGV it is supposed to be simple sum of the guns specified; for WNLB every Gun Mix code has corresponding number of guns hardcoded). The patch I'm providing below is supposed to not only resolve the lack-of-ammo problem but also to reenable that field. That is you can now specify effective number of guns (ENG) in the OOB file independently of the Cannon Mix code. That number determines (at least) two things, first: how much ammo battery is using up in the unit of time, second: how strong is the battery fire. So my idea is to adjust (reduce) the battery firepower by decreasing the Cannon's Number (an ENG from now on). How much (if at all) it should be reduced - I'd love somebody with greater knowledge to investigate and tell me that... For know I have made for myself a set of OOBs where arty firepower is reduced by about half. I'm providing them below as a second pair of OOBs. I believe they give better arms balance - it is up to you to judge. Remember that you need to apply the patch to be able to use that firepower-reduced variant or create your own version (Note that I didn't try to use the ENG higher then the nominal number of guns - I was not looking for nuclear weapons afterall :).
    Now is time to take care of the empty caissons. When the patch is applied WNLB-like batteries will be assigned by default 90 roundshots times the effective number of guns (as specified in OOB, not the nominal one) and 36 canisters again times ENG value. I must admit that it is quit limited value (ANGV-like arty has [always better to check first...] 160 roundshots per gun). You can adjust it to suits your ammo-management idea. To do it you should put in the AUSTERLITZ.INI lines like that:
    RoundshotsPerGun=120
    CanistersPerGun=60
    Needless to say these are home-invented properties and have no meaning until you apply Artillery Patch. You need to exit and restart the game before change of that properties will have any effect (sorry). Quite opposite you do not need to restart game after changing OOB files - exiting to main screen and then reloading the scenario is enough. [UUPS! that is not true. AFAIR it is true in case of MAPDATA and SCN files but OOB files seems to be kept opened all the time. The game needs to be exited before OOB can be updated] In future I may be able to provide patch version allowing to set values above for horse/foot/heavy artillery separately. Would be also useful to have the ability to specify it for each side separately?

    Just to be clear: the patch is not supposed to influence artillery encoded in the new, ANGV-like style. It will still have usual amount of ammo and be as weak as usual. There should be no problems with mixing both types of artillery in one OOB file. You can even have one (yours) side equipped with powerful WNLB-like arty and other (enemy) side with weak ANGV-like one - but I don't think it would be much fun really.

    Few words about Range Code: it is a bit mysterious field. It does not seem to have as much meaning as I expected. Particulary I hoped it would be possible to use it to reduce the canister fire range - it is not so easy. Does somebody have any idea about how and for what that field is supposed to be used?

    Downloads for that tip:
    OOB files with (super) strong artillery
    Here are the OOB files recoded to the WNLB style. You do not need the patch to use them. Drawback is that your arty will be super-strong and will be out-of-ammo very quickly. The accuracy of the mapping to WNLB codes is an open question of course :).
    OOB files with tuned artillery
    These OOB files are recoded too. Difference is that artillery firepower in these OOBs is reduced significantly - by half (more or less). It is done by changing Cannon's Number field. Note that on screen (in the unit's status box) nominal number of guns will be listed. Engine will use however the effective number of guns (ENG) as specified in the OOB file. You need the patch for these changes to be in effect.
    ArtyPatch version 1.0
    The artillery patch itself. Note that it is cumulative patch - it was just easier for me to merge new changes with the previous patch. So if you want to you should apply the patch to the original AUSTERLITZDEMO.EXE. Most remarks regarding the previous patch stays valid. The patch is needed to resolve "empty caissons" problem and to allow you to adjust the strength of batteries. Remember that you can easily change default number of ammo assigned per gun as described above.

    Few pictures for illustration. All were taken from my Chaba, chaba, chaba scenario. Note also that all were snaped from the non-patched game - only OOB file changes are in effect. Hence visible shortage of ammo with very big firepower at the same time. They were all transformed to JPEG format to save time and space. Quality drop seems to be negligible.
    Russian heavy battery (assigned 'A' Cannon Mix code) demonstrates its firepower. See the limited number of ammo available. Note that it is using up canisters despite the fire distance.

    French batteries are short of ammo. On left battery has still some rounds to fire. Note the thickness of the arrow in spite of lack of canisters. On right the battery is already fully out of ammo. Where is the artillery train!?

    BTW I hope that in the next game in the series the ammo management will be modified a bit. Personally I'd love to see for example the ability to define the total reserve of ammo for the army (in artillery train) on the per-scenario basis (it could be done on the same line as the morale value). Batteries could have then a bit lower amount of ammo assigned to their caissons (thanks to that artillery may be also able to move a bit quicker :). Once out-of-ammo battery would stay in that state for some predefined (or defined in scenario file too; anyway randomized of course) amount of time after which it could be "automatically" resupplied drawing the ammo from army reserve. The delay is supposed to simulate the time needed for the rear part of battery to go to the artillery train, and back with replenished stock of ammo. Shouldn't be too difficult to implement but would give some reality bonus to the scenario. Adding messages informing about batteries running out-of-ammo and just resupplied, ready for action ones would help the player to keep control of his artillery without unnecessary burden on his side. Just a thought for the future. Some day (I hope) will come time for the full three days at Leipzig where the ammo factor was critical :-).

    25.04.02SUPPLEMENT: Caseshot article
    As a supplement to the topic of range/efficiency of canister munition I'd like to cite some data from Caseshot munition article. (That link was already posted at BAG forum few months ago).
    The author describes results of trials with caseshot (canister) ammo done on the military training ground. Though the data is limited and can not provide the base for final conclusion it looks very interesting. The test was made with 6-pdr guns aiming at the target supposed to be about 30 yds wide and about 9 feets high (it is said that these dimensions correspond more or less to the frontage of infantry company and height of the mounted cavalryman). For the range of 200yds 49% of subshots hit the target, for 300yds - 36.8%, 400yds - 28% and for 500yds only 13.6% struck the target. The author notice also big drop of subshots' penetration ability at ranges 400 yds and above.
    Of course these statistics should be shift down to take into consideration real battlefield conditions and potentially lower then perfect skills of averange artilleryman. Still looks like canisters were effective weapon at ranges about 400+ yds. Does it mean that my complaints above were unfounded? That may be true. However I'm going to refrain from admitting that because of two reasons. First, the in-game "curve of efficency" for canister is not known and not easy to reveal. Second, number of canister ammo is (and should be) limited. With the range 400+ for foot and about 550yds for heavy artillery, most batteries will rather quickly use up all canisters and when they will really need such ammo either for self-defence or in decisive moment of battle none will be available. Crucial factor is that player(s) have no ability to stop firing canisters (AFAIK at least) and/or cease firing at all. Another way could be ability to define (on per-battery basis) range at which battery is to switch from rounds to canisters (something like 200-300-400-max slider). To much details? Maybe... Time and coming (soon :-) release will tell.

  • 25.04.02 UPPER LIMIT FOR MAP DIMENSIONS IN ANGV
    As already mentioned on the
    [email protected] page the map dimensions provided in the CONFIGnn.CFG file are rounded down (or up) to fit into the range 32 < GameMap{X,Y} < 320. Taking deeper look into code which handles MAPDATA loading reveals that ANGV is indeed designed for handling maps of the sizes up to 320x320 squares (about 16x16km or 10x10 miles [?]). All the internal structures (separate static arrays for terrain, elevation, buildings, fog etc.) used for keeping decoded map data are of size 320x320 entries. However the largest map which ANGV (in its current demo version) is able to load properly is 256x320 squares. The limitation for the X-dimension seems to be simply the result of the bug (well, if something looks like a bug AND jumps like a bug it HAS TO BE a bug :-). Namely during the process of loading MAPDATA files are decoded line by line - each line (which corresponds to one row of squares) is read first to the temporary buffer. That buffer is located on the stack (automatic variable) and is apparently not ready (at least in case of some files) to accept lines longer then 256 chars. Exceeding of that limit results in overwriting the stack frame and thus crashing the program. Good news is that if that is the only reason of problems fixing that bug shouldn't be too difficult and we may see it done in the release version.
    Oddly enough you can set GameMapX to numbers higher then 256 until you keep the width of lines in your MAPDATA files below that limit. In that case the program will not crash and most part of map loaded will look OK. Only on the East edge you will almost certainly see a kind of curiosity (see the pictures below) - the result of interpreting garbage data as valid MAPDATA codes.
    When speaking about map dimensions it seems to be proper to mention JumpMap feature: mini-map located at the lower-right of the screen. I consider it as a crucial feature for comfortable usage of large maps. Unfortunately currently I don't have any clues how to customize that feature for home-made maps. I guess (even that is not clear for me) that TeenieMap.RAW file is responsible in some way for mapping between main and jump maps [?]. The format of that file is highly unclear to me. If  I'm guessing correctly that file is 2-D matrix of the size corresponding to the map size (145x100 in case of WNLB) and each matrix element is three bytes wide. Apparently TeenieMap.RAW in ANGV demo is just copied from WNLB. That would mean that jumping through (and scrolling in) the Jump Map works reasonably well in ANGV only because the size of ANGV map (125x150) is reasonably close to WNLB case. If somebody knows something more about TeenieMap.RAW and JumpMap customizing please, please be so kind and tell me! You will earn my undying gratitude :-).

HOW DO YOU LIKE IT ?
These pictures illustrate what you can encounter on the EAST side of map if you specify GameMapX property larger then length of lines in your MAPDATA files (again: in any case to avoid program crash these lines can not be longer then 255 chars). For that particular map GameMapX=280 (whereas the real length of lines in MAPDATA files was equal 250), GameMapY=320. Note the coords displayed at upper-left corner. On first picture are coords of the last "flat" square - last square which has its properties defined in the MAPDATA files. Coords on the second picture are near of the south-east corner of the map (it was not easy to hit it :). Unforunately the position of the (hardware) cursor was not captured so you would have to take my word for it :(. Needless to say appearance of all squares with X-coord higher then 250 is a result of interpreting garbage as valid data.
Note that these pictures demonstrate also (in somewhat odd way :) that ANGV is indeed able to handle properly maps as large as about (in that case) 12.5x16 km.

Ability to access to internal map data structures in run-time triggers off a series of (really wild I admit) concepts in my mind. Especially the access to Buildings array opens (in theory that is) the road to such features like fieldworks build (or levelled) in the course of the scenario. Abatis and barricade are obvious and already available (but currently fixed on the map) assets. Though fieldworks were in general not very popular in Napoleonic period still some armies loved to use them to enhance their position. Could someone imagine playing Borodino battle without Great Redoubt or three Fleches?
Could not resist to make that digression. Don't treat it too serious however! :-)

  • 25.04.02FOG EFFECT
    That one is kind of mini (or micro :) tip. In fact all I know about the fog feature was already written out at the [email protected] page. You will also find there nice picture of the part of Waterloo battlefield covered by fog.
    Lets recap shortly. Fog effect is defined in the binary AusterlitzFog.RAW file. It is byte matrix of the size corresponding to the size of the given map (125x150 in case of Austerlitz). Bytes equal to zero seem to mean no fog in square thus it is reasonably to assume that highest value mean highest fog density (though it may be not so simple). To disable fog you can either remove fog file or create fog file of proper size with all bytes nullified. It is possible (or better to say: will be possible) to use fog file in custom campaigns (Campaign <> 2). Default name is NAPFOGnn.RAW and can be changed by using FogFile property in the CONFIG file. The way to define the time limit for the fog effect is kind of open question currently. There are FogStart, FogEnd properties available for use in the CONFIG file but I don't know the way to use them (or even if they work at all).

    Yet another wild digression :). Is it possible (Having access to internal fog array) to get an effect of fog (or blizzard) which intensity is variable in time? Suppose that many of you played (and enjoyed) old, good Age of Rifles. That game was never designed for Napoleonic period yet there are quite a few great Napoleonic scenarios ready to play in it. My uquestionable favourite is Eylau scenario. Man! All that mist and blizzard and clouds of gun smoke which change their intensity and move with the wind making every maneuver very risky venture - kind of "russian roulette". That was really well done. Hope I will see some day analogous feature in one of the post-ANGV games. That would really boost the reality level (all that clouds of gun smoke limiting commander's visibility) - and think how beautiful it would look on screen! To be honest it has to be said that implementation of such feature in the game like ANGV is much more challenging task then in the turn&hex based, top-view game like Age of Rifles. Still current fog effect in ANGV - being great feature in itself - is also good starting point... Just step by step :-).

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    Future


    Here is rough list of my plans / ideas / dreams to work on in the future.
    • Supporting work described above. Correcting bugs?
    • Taking a break. Playing a game (err... demo) for a while, trying to make a few scenarios good enough to be made available here...
    • Investigate: is it possible to play Waterloo (map, oob, graphics and scenarios) using brand new ANGV game engine? I'm not sure if it is realistic concept but think it is worth to try and may be fun in itself... Ultimately chance of success denpends heavily on the level of the parametrization of the engine. If there were made any quirks in source code to fullfil needs specific to only WNLB but not ANGV (or other way) the chances are next to null :(
    • Here is the topic I would like to try next: I'd like to investigate possibility of writing a program (or DLL extension to ANGV[demo]) which would allow to dump informations from After Battle Report screens to the file (in the well-defined) format. Taking alone it does not seem to be very useful but in fact it is prerequisite for the next topic. Of course would be much better if BAG implemented that feature itself but as it is now they seem to be too busy with other things.
    • Having above, program which would implement scenario tree for the battle / campaign externally seems to be possible. Selection of the next scenario to play would depend on the outcome of previous one, state of units (losses) would be rolled forward. There would be even possibility to add some interactivity - player could be asked where, when and with which forces he plans to go into next battle... It could look somewhat similar to that so-called Interactive Battle Simulator
    • Step further (but big one I have to admit) would be creating true (turn based?) campaign-level game which would use ANGV engine to resolve tactical battles. Easy to say... :-)
    • 07.04.02 Shortcut for the above would be using (now Open Source) campaign layer code of the infamous Wargamer: Napoleon 1813 and after customising "a bit" (switching from abstract StrengthPoints to "real" batalions and many more) combining it with ANGV engine as tactical battle resolver.
    • Map editor for WNLB/ANGV seems to be one of the obvious and important targets.
    • Deployment editor (or full scenario edior) may be next logical goal.
    • Investigating further issues described in the Backdoor! section. I'd like to check what crucial (art/help/other) files are missed, check if multiplayer part of code is of any use in that pre-release, play a bit with random battle generator, fix some minor problems experienced on the UI level (in the fully-unlocked game's menu things are messed up: "OOB screen" is available through "Load Game" label for example). The ultimate (but totally unrealistic :) goal would be to dig into logic layer of the game. In particular would be great to find out (and change!) why cavalry-only melees always end up with 2:1 results in terms of casualties. This issue really bothers me ;-/
    • Convince BAG to release kind of GOLDEN (DEVELOPER) EDITION of ANGV with full source code included. That is an ultimate goal :) :) :).
    It is needless to say that all that plans are so to say "written by finger on the water". I don't know the English version of that proverb ;). If any of them will be transformed into reality I would call it big success :). Anyway if you have any other useful ideas or any remarks / advices regarding ones listed above I would be happy to get your opinion ([email protected]). Thanks!

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    Links

       company's ANGV game page.
       company's Download page - AusterlitzDemo is available from here (about 36MB).
       company's Discussion Board for WNLB and ANGV games (amongst others).

         THE [email protected] also covers WNLB and ANGV.
       THE ANGLE has its own discussion forum for WNLB and ANGV too.

         Shrapnel Games is the publisher of ANGV game.
       On the Shrapnel's ANGV Game Page you can order the game right now!
       (or you can go directly to their GamersFront on-line store page)

         The ANGV Game Underground Page 2nd Edition - new page focused
       on release version of ANGV game

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