Category Archives: Beta Testing

General Staff: Black Powder Battle Designer Bundle on Steam

The General Staff: Black Powder Designer Bundle store on Steam. Click on image to go directly to the Steam store.

I am very pleased to announce that the Steam store for General Staff: Black Powder Battle Designer Bundle is now up and active. More importantly, if you are an early backer, you should have received your Steam key to download it by now. If you are an early backer and have not received an email with your Steam key, please contact me directly.

Some important things to know:

The Battle Designer Bundle does not include the actual game! The game is a different install package and, hopefully, will be in beta in the next month or two. If you are an early backer and received a Steam key for the Battle Designer Bundle you will also receive a second Steam key, when available, for the actual game and you will be welcome to participate in beta testing, too.

The Battle Designer Bundle includes everything you need to create your own armies, maps and scenarios for use in the actual game. The Battle Designer Bundle includes the Army Editor, the Map Editor and the Scenario Editor. The Map Editor supports a digitizing tablet (if you’re lucky enough to have one and the talent to use one, I don’t).

I need your suggestions for a battle that I can use to create video tutorials for the Army, Map and Scenario Editors. If you have suggestions, please contact me directly. However, it’s important to remember that I need a good Order of Battle (OOB) table that includes unit strengths. I also need a good quality map that is at least 1155 x 805 pixels (resolution). If it’s an old battle map, I need somebody to take the time to remove the units from the map. For example, here’s the original map of Antietam from the Library of Congress:

Map of the battle of Antietam from the Library of Congress. Willcox, William H. Map of the battlefield of Antietam. [Philada., Lith. of P. S. Duval & Son, 1862] Map. Click to enlarge.

And here it is after I cleaned it up, removed the units and rotated it 90 degrees:

The Antietam map after I removed all the units, cleaned it up, lightened it and rotated it 90 degrees. Click to enlarge.

I’m looking forward to receiving your scenario suggestions and creating the video tutorials. The tutorials will be posted here and on our YouTube channel.

 

Testing the MATE 2.0 Artificial Intelligence on the new Antietam Scenario

We’ve just added a video showing the MATE 2.0 tactical artificial intelligence playing Blue (Union Army of the Potomac) against Red (Confederate Army of Northern Virginia) at Antietam. This video also includes an announcement that we’ll be working on getting the Army Editor, Map Editor and Scenario Editor installation packages and keys ready on Steam.

Follow Progress with the Changelog

A typical screen shot posted in the Changelog. Click to enlarge.

One of the many techniques that Andy O’Neill has brought to the General Staff project is the Changelog. A Changelog is, “a log or record of all notable changes made to a project,” and is common in developing business applications. Currently, it is over 23 pages of screen shots, updates and commentary.

The General Staff Changelog is here: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=21270.0


You can subscribe to updates in the Changelog and also make comments or report bugs that you have found. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a beta-tester.

I will continue to post updates here at this site. But, if you want more frequent – and often more technical – updates I would suggest subscribing to the Changelog.¬† You can do this by registering on the GrogHeads forum and clicking on the ‘Notify’ button.

 

Map Editor Released for Beta-Testing!

We are very pleased to report that the General Staff Black Powder Map Editor has been released into beta-test. This program allows the user to easily create maps for use as a battlefield in the General Staff Wargaming System as shown in this demo:

Important Note: If you were an early backer of the General Staff Wargaming System via Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you should have received an email update informing you of this, the beta test download page and password. If you did not, please contact me directly. Also, a few people became beta testers after the Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. You should have received an email from me with the URL for the download page and password. If you did not, please contact me directly.

Map Editor Documentation Now Available Online!

Screen capture of the Map Editor (working on the battle of Little Bighorn). Click to enlarge.

We are extremely pleased to report that the documentation for the General Staff Map Editor has been completed and is now available online at Famdom (link: https://general-staff-wargaming-system.wikia.com/wiki/The_General_Staff_Black_Powder_Map_Editor). There is also a link from the Map Editor itself to the online documentation (under the Help menu). This, of course, means that the Map Editor will be released for beta-testing in the next day or two.

During the course of my professional career I have worked on numerous programs that create or facilitate the drawing of maps for wargaming and military simulations. These include my own UMS, UMS II, the War College and TIGER / MATE (created for DARPA) as well as an extremely large  US Army Military simulation with a budget of over a billion dollars.

Creating easy to use military topographical map programs is not a trivial undertaking. Dr. Ken Forbus, and his group at Northwestern, worked for years on the NuSketch project (link here and here).

I believe that the General Staff Map Editor utility is the best program of its type commercially available and, in fact, is superior in ease of use to the billion dollar equivalent. The Map Editor supports digitizing tablet and pen as well as two-button mouse with scroll wheel. Andy O’Neill (see here) did a remarkable job coding the Map Editor.

In essence, the Map Editor is a 3D paint program that allows the user to draw terrain, topography and elevation. The maps are then used in the General Staff Wargaming System and can be printed out for your own use.

If you were an early backer of the General Staff Wargaming System (Kickstarter and Indiegogo) you will be receiving an email shortly to go to the ‘secret beta-test site’ and download the installer for the Map Editor.

Any questions or comments? Please feel to contact me directly.