From: Vermont, USA
This looks really good. Sorry for the CM comparisons, but I have been playing CM for over 5 years. Until I found this game, there was no other to match it. So, a few questions...
Yep, thanks and understood. You've picked almost all the areas where we don't compare well to CM by design. Part of that is because this is the first game in a series and we focused on implementing things that would give us the biggest bang for the buck, so to speak, in the year of development that we had. The good news is that we can do a lot in a year and we have plans to implement much of what's not in this release in the future. I'll note that below as I answer.
1) From the screenshots it looks like the infantry squads are represented by 3 figures. Is that correct and can a squad be displayed with all individuals represented (9 man squad = 9 figures displayed)?
Yes, by default we show three figures. However, there is a "Limit Infantry Off" option which shows as many as is defined in the data for that squad type. In the release version, this ups it to five figures, but we include an example in the manual of how easy it is to edit that up to 8 or 10 figures and give them the weapons you want them to have when they show up in-game. The reason the default is three is for performance. We don't want folks to have a bad experience performance-wise with the default settings, so we keep them conservative. However, on my Athlon XP 3000+ with 1GB RAM and a GeForce 6800, I run a version where squads are at their historical numbers and the performance is fine for me.
2) How are ambushes handled, from the ambushers perspective? Cover arcs (to use a CM term)?
No cover arcs at present. CM added that in CMBB as I recall and we may add something like that in the future as well. However, there are targeting rules built into each unit type. Infantry, for example, will tend to hold fire on vehicle targets until they get into close assault range. Infantry in cover is very tough to spot, so there's a good chance of springing an ambush. AT guns won't fire until they have at least an "average" shot. By default, an AT gun has a 90 degree arc of fire so you can position it to take that into account and create an ambush through the combination of line of sight and targeting rules. Also, being "hull down" for vehicles makes you harder to spot and limits where you can be hit. Being stationary in general helps a lot with not being spotted before you fire, etc.
You can't fine tune an ambush in Panzer Command the way you can in CM, but I have sprung many ambushes nevertheless just based on terrain, LOS and unit type.
We made a good deal of choices for the initial release based on the campaign. This was largely a high speed, dynamic armored duel over open terrain so a lot of what got in and what was pushed to future expansions came down to how useful it would be for this campaign.
3) Does artillery and armour have the ability to fire smoke? And if so, can other units fire into the smoke blindly and potentially cause casualties to units inside or behind the smoke?
Not in this release. Degrading smoke and dust, not just from deliberate smoke generation but also from general battlefield smoke and movement, is planned for a future expansion. Area fire is in this release so once you get degrading smoke, you'll be able to fire blindly into it.
4) Do vehicles bog? Can they be unbogged?
No, we left this out in favor of terrain movement speed modifications which are generally less frustrating to players. Adding in terrain immobilization is definitely something we'd like to do , but for the initial release you'll see vehicles slowing down, sometimes a lot, when in difficult terrain but they will make it through.
5) Can structures such as buildings and bridges be destroyed by artillery or direct fire from tanks?
Nope, no destructible terrain in this release, however it's definitely on the list. We want to start blowing up those buildings too!
6) Will a playable demo be released?
Yes, we plan on one but we don't have a timeline on that as yet since we are focused on the release. I would guess that sometime after the first post-release update we will start looking at creating a demo.
7) In the Series, should it go ahead, there will be a Normandy based campaignwon't there, huh? Huh?
Yes, our current plan is for the first expansion to be an earlier East Front Summer campaign to allow us to bring in terrain that's a bit more varied in color and some more of the earlier German units. This would also add some new features to the game, more info on that later. The second expansion would take us to the West Front, but we have not yet decided on the exact location.
Thanks for any response, and thanks for developing this game. I wasn't looking forward to Syria that much!
No worries. I realize Panzer Command won't have everything you want in it, but we hope that you and others will give it a try. It's a fun game and we plan to run with this ball and grow the series in a lot of ways.