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All Forums >> [Current Games From Matrix.] >> [World War II] >> Achtung Panzer Operation Star >> Screenshots Page: [1]
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Screenshots - 3/22/2012 11:38:37 PM   

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I have been a loyal follower of Achtung Panzer since the original version, Achtung Panzer:Kharkov, and I wanted to recommend the game to those of you who may not know anything about it. There are a lot of quirks mainly due to the language barrier because the game was developed in Russia, and the user interface takes some getting used to but overall it is a highly enjoyable game. In fact, there is so much unwritten and/or under-written about the game that many people might get turned off by it at first. Stick with it!

Here are a few screenies I have captured over the past few months to hopefully illustrate just how great AP is.

Operational map with fog of war. This is how you maneuver your platoons on the operational map, and the outcome of a turn on this map sets up the tactical battles for that turn. You can have many tactical battles generated in one operational turn, which is about 4 hours time. Some tactical battles can overlap and be redundant, which means that on the operational map you might see 2 or more tactical battles in roughly the same area at the end of the operational turn. Usually after playing one of the overlapping battles, you will discover that the other ones from the same area are no longer playable because they all involved the same forces.

2D tactical map from inside a tactical battle. Operational graphics are templated over the map and you can actually see individual soldiers, guns, buildings, etc. You can see in the center of the large blue arrow there is a graphical spot report (4:13 veh), which the graphic shows as a vehicle along with the axis of movement of the sighting.

This is the tactical battle deployment phase. The blue squares are enemy setup areas and the green squares with different colored squares inside the outer green square are friendly setup areas. The light green spray pattern is a selected unit with area LOS tool turned on. I have discovered that the area LOS tool is not absolute - meaning that enemies are sometimes visible beyond the spray pattern and also visible inside what appears to be dead space. Basically, the double boxes represent cover (outer box) and concealment (inner box). Green is good. Dashed outer box means entrenching is not possible. German flags and Soviet flags are objectives.

I hope you all like night action, because there is a lot of it in AP. Here, a Soviet lend-lease Carrier awaits a German attack in the pre-dawn twilight. Vehicle models are well done, and each vehicle will have unique numbering according to their "call sign".

An entrenched Soviet infantry squad awaits a German attack in the pre-dawn twilight. The green arc is the assigned sector of fire for the squad and the blue lines just mean that the squad is selected. You can assign sectors of fire but they are just "recommendations" according to the developers. The AI does a fairly good job at self-preservation, and units will react to threats outside their sectors of fire accordingly.

Here, a Soviet recon section in a captured whitewashed German Sdkfz 250/1 (callsign: Oak 953) awaits a German attack. The crew door is animated and will open and shut when the passengers mount/dismount. The white square "riv. crossing" is an objective that has no owner (yet).

A dug-in Soviet 45mm anti-tank gun awaits German assault. The tiny blue square just above the end of the gun tube is a sighted German vehicle. The red dots are friendly Soviet troops off in the distance.

A whitewashed German Sdkfz 251/1 running fast with headlights on approaches some entrenched Soviet infantry. Vehicles under a fast move order will run with headlights on at night. Slow move vehicles will be in blackout. I had the Soviets on "no fire" mode in an attempt to allow the German vehicle to get within grenade range.

The halftrack stops and the infantry inside dismount. I think I waited to long to lift the no fire order. The German infantry have blue dots above their heads, Soviet infantry has red dots.

13 seconds later, the halftrack is burning (from molotovs or sticky grenades) and there are several dead infantry on both sides. Casualties have the grey dots/plus signs above their heads. A plus sign indicates an infantryman with an automatic weapon or other heavy weapon such as an ATR.

Another view of the same scene. This ambush did not go well for the Germans, but the Soviet squad took a couple casualties as well and will probably panic and rout much easier if more Germans appear. Leaders nearby can keep the Soviets from panicking, however.

There will always be pathfinding issues, especially with vehicles set to close column formation. The game has evolved very well however, and problems like this are not that common and usually just around built-up areas.

Just a few screenshots so you can see what this game is all about. Enjoy!


< Message edited by apd1004 -- 3/22/2012 11:59:44 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Screenshots - 3/23/2012 3:06:15 AM   

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Nice screenies, thanks; and tempting too. I'm concerned about the RTS side of the game no speed demon and don't enjoy such games normally. How does RT play in this title?


"Things are getting better!
...Well, maybe not as good as they were yesterday, but much better than they will be tomorrow!"
-Old Russian saying

(in reply to apd1004)
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RE: Screenshots - 3/23/2012 4:06:12 AM   

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It's pausable real time, and you can slow it down below 1:1 if you want, but there are many occasions when you actually are speeding it up because sometimes it takes the AI a while to set a plan in motion and to actually find your force because the maps are usually 3km square. You aren't micromanaging individual soldiers either, although there are times when you wish you could. You spend most of your time dragging boxes around several squads and giving them an order. You can't really get a unit to target a specific enemy unit, and sometimes that gets pretty frustrating, but it's not about you micromanaging like you would with other games and it's more about giving orders to your squads. You can point him in the right direction but it's still up to the unit to actually identify the target and engage it.

I think it has the best off-map artillery system I've seen so far. It looks and sounds incredible, and the time it takes sound to travel a couple kilometers is actually modeled because you will see the splash then hear it a few seconds later. If you are lucky to get an artillery observer in a battle, you will get 3 TRP's that you can place during the initial orders phase before the game runs. Depending on where you move them during this setup they may or may not have good initial response time and accuracy, and because of that you can't just put them wherever you want. You can then adjust fire during play from the TRP's using 3-round volleys to improve the accuracy before you fire for effect. Response time for the artillery also improves as the accuracy improves and vice-versa. My favorite though is if you are lucky enough to get an on-map mortar battery. They aren't very accurate and don't have a whole lot of ammo, but if you have all 6 tubes they can lay down a pretty quick suppressive fire barrage for a few seconds at a time and you don't need an observer although accuracy improves if the mortars have line of sight. The flight time of the mortar rounds seems pretty realistic as well, and they sound very cool both when they fire and when the rounds splash. AT guns don't survive well once spotted if they are not dug in. Infantry guns are pretty good for on-map artillery. Sometimes I will use the artillery as a recon by fire, because if you get lucky and drop it where previously unseen enemy units are, they might displace and become spotted. Other times I will recon with a very small force to spot the enemy positions and then call down the artillery to soften them up a little before I close. You also have smoke and illum available depending on the type of guns. Gee, almost sounds like the real thing!

One thing I don't like is the logistics system. They really need to re-think that. At some point the developers came up with supply truck sections and static supply caches on the operational map instead of the old way of resupplying between operational phases. You will end up fighting many battles with the same units and they don't replenish ammo between battles unless there is a resupply section or cache nearby, and those are far and few between and they can run out too. I have had battles where some of my vehicles start completely out of ammo and are pretty much useless. There are better ways to handle logistics.

Some people when Achtung Panzer: Kharkov first came out didn't like the fact that you're on a 3km square map but are playing with only about a company's worth of forces because in the old game you could only have 1 platoon per 1km square. That has improved significantly with APOS and you can have some squares with 3 platoons in them. If you think about Soviet offensive doctrine after 1943, they might have an entire rifle division attacking on a 3km frontage, but a force that size in this game would be unplayable in this game. In APOS, you will get used to the room you have given the size force you have and you will enjoy the freedom of maneuver you have usually, and you will tend to forget about how empty the maps seem sometimes. Most of your games will have 3-8 platoons per side of 3-5 individual vehicles/guns or squads per platoon, although sometimes you might only have 1 platoon! If you really want to go with a large force on force, you can create a quick battle where you can theoretically have 24 platoons total, which is roughly a battalion on each side. Your campaign battles will never have that many units though.

It is not without problems though, and the lack of good documentation due to the fact that it is translated from Russian, and the somewhat awkward interface will frustrate most people. My advice is to stick with it and give it a chance though because you will eventually figure it out yourself and you will discover some really cool stuff that you won't find in any other games out there.

Any more questions, feel free to ask.


< Message edited by apd1004 -- 3/23/2012 4:28:34 AM >

(in reply to gunnergoz)
Post #: 3
RE: Screenshots - 3/23/2012 2:16:43 PM   


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ORIGINAL: apd1004

It is not without problems though, and the lack of good documentation due to the fact that it is translated from Russian, and the somewhat awkward interface will frustrate most people.

I have the first game and I never could play it because of the manual and interface. Erik says Matrix did nothing to change this, so I will pass on this .Looks good, but I just can't get past the documentation.

(in reply to apd1004)
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RE: Screenshots - 3/23/2012 3:36:48 PM   
Erik Rutins


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We did not make any changes to Operation Star, other than including the 1GB+ of updates in our release. However, the interface and documentation _are_ improved since the first game, though there is still a fairly steep learning curve. IMHO it's worth the effort to climb that hill as the gameplay is very realistic and rewarding once you get the hang of it. We added it to our catalog because we feel it is a previously overlooked gem that really should be of great interest to wargamers.


- Erik

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 3/23/2012 3:38:49 PM >


Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development

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(in reply to vonRocko)
Post #: 5
RE: Screenshots - 3/23/2012 4:11:04 PM   


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Ok, Thanks Erik

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
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RE: Screenshots - 3/23/2012 5:20:48 PM   


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Yes, to be fair it is important to make clear that the Manual and the game interface have been significantly improved since the first game Achtung Panzer Kharkov.


< Message edited by Txema -- 3/23/2012 5:23:08 PM >

(in reply to vonRocko)
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