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 Post subject: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:42 am 
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Location: USA
The Matrix game based off the tactical engine in Forge of Freedom, if my memory is correct, is now released and on sale at the Matrix site,http://www.matrixgames.com/products/505/details/Brother.Against.Brother for $50.

Great game if you want to try a different way of handling Civil War fighting at the regimental level. It is hex based like HPS but movement varies depending on the brigade orders and proximity to the enemy. If you get frustrated by units not obeying your orders down to the last detail, you will find it frustrating. But if you like some uncertainty and a little shorting of the 70 foot General it's the game for you.

This release is "The Drawing of the Sword" and covers mostly the 1861 battles. This means that except for First Manassas the battles are relatively small affairs. The game supports PBEM through Slitherine's PBEM site.

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General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:49 am 
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For those who want to take a look at how the game plays out against a real opponent take a look at my AAR, I got published :lol: , over on this site: http://grogheads.com/?p=7903

It is based on the wide open scenario they call "Two Player" where the Union starts in their initial night before the battle positions along the Warrenton Turnpike near Centreville. I am the Rebel with some big problems.

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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:34 pm 
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Location: United Kingdom
Your AAR decided me on downloading the game.

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7th Brigade, 2nd Division, II Corps
Army of Northern Virginia

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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:43 pm 
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Location: USA
Has anyone else tried the game? What do you think so far?

I think it is a major step forward from the 90's board game technology in HPS games without going to the extreme of the 3D video type games like Scourge series. They are planning to release more scenarios as updates later.

For those who have the game they are releasing an Open Beta patch to make some fixes to the game including:

Fixes
Fix no smoke on save file load issue
Fix 1366 resolution issues
Fix remaining odd issues related to PBEM and window focus (try resigning a game and issuing a challenge with 1.01, on my Windows 7 system that causes some very bizarre issues with which dialog is in front, etc.)
Change: Turn off weather sound when weather graphic is turned off
Reduced chance of finding a leader casualty from 5% to 3% and added requirement that at least 10 casualties have been caused on both sides during the combat phase.
Change to AI to increase aggression (should help w/ Blackburn's Ford)
Fix music playing bug
Change: misinterpret orders rule is now always in effect for pbem games
Now using star chit for commanders
Now showing echelon colors in hierarchy box
Increased the frame rate
Fix: From <http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3844971>
Change: Select higher echelons in OOB with click; show selected unit/echelons in OOB
Change: Longrange move sd be possible even inside move area
Possible fix: History graph buttons being interfered by unit buttons in short resolutions

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Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:54 pm 
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Posts: 266
Location: USA
I bought the game and have looked at it a bit. I need to read the manual. Then I need to learn the game. I am swamped with work for a month or two but after that I would love to give you the opportunity to beat my Yanks. I like the fact the game has smaller battles, making it easier to learn the engine.




thanks for posting the info.


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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:18 am 
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Here is a short quotes on some of their long term plans from the Matrix forums:

Quote:
Questions about the future

Will WCS and Matrix be selling more scenarios for "Brother against Brother"?
We will regularly be providing more scenarios for each battle, but these will be provided for free. So, yes to new scenarios, no to having to pay for them.

What's next for "Brother against Brother"?
BAB was envisioned as a series of releases which can be condensed or expanded depending on how successful it is. Each release would have 3-5 battles, normally 1-2 major ones and 2-3 minor ones, which means that we could have as many as six or seven titles, produced at a rate of 1-2 per year. But if there isn't as much demand we would limit ourselves to just the really big battles and then move on to other things. Right now, we plan for BAB#2 to be entitled "Lee Takes Command" and be devoted to the Seven Days Battles and 2nd Manassas, and if sales meet expectations the next release after that would be "The Civil War in the West (1862)," devoted to Shiloh, Pea Ridge, Fort Donelson and one or two others.

This engine obviously can be used for other battles of the gunpowder era. Do you have any plans to do this?
We would like to do that, especially for the Napoleonic era -- but time, of course, is a major factor. BAB is produced by a three-man team (programmer/designer, map/OOB/scenario designer, artist), so working on, say, Waterloo or Yorktown would come at the expense of Shiloh and Gettysburg. But it is not out of the question, especially for Napoleonic battles, since we already have most of the era-specific code we would need from our game "Crown of Glory" (e.g., cavalry screens, infantry forming squares). (On a related note, we do have plans to use the naval combat engine from "Crown of Glory: Emperor's Edition" to develop a game devoted to historical Napoleonic naval battles, essentially giving the BAB treatment to that game's randomized battles involving generic forces, instead using the actual orders of battle.)

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Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development

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General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:57 am 
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Very interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 8:37 am 
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Here is a YouTube video from Matrix talking about the game and a very small scenario from it's Williamsburg battle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJI9L2yh9uE&feature=youtu.be

Very simple scenario but will give you an idea how the game works and graphics looks.

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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 7:54 pm 
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Very nice, that was even more interesting!

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Brigadier General Christian Hecht
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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 11:04 am 
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Anyone else tried this game? Comments?

Here is a review from Armchair General:
http://www.armchairgeneral.com/brother-against-brother-pc-game-review.htm

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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 5:26 pm 
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I have serious issues with the FOW, also the game's UI and graphics presentation. Potentially a great game, but I'm not as pleased or overwhelmed as I should be. Waiting to see if and how they polish the game further.

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Civil War Battles Lead Programmer, http://johntillersoftware.com/CivilWarBattles.html
Panzer Battles Lead Programmer, http://johntillersoftware.com/PanzerBattles.html
Campaign Series Lead Programmer, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=1515


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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 12:20 am 
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Yes FOW is troubled, also the missing replay feature, not sure what problems there are with UI or graphic, overall not bad for the first attempt, lets see what some patches do to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 4:43 am 
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UI issues and a flawed graphics presentation? I'll explain (WARNING: at very great length!) ...

[*] When one unit fires on another, an unsightly thick red arrow points from the firing unit to the target unit. Whether or not casualties result, the arrow goes away after a time. In many exchanges, there are no casualties, just a lot of red arrows showing up here and there. When there are casualties, red or blue numbers appear above the affected units, then slowly, strangely, float upward for sometimes many seconds.

Why not just show the numbers, no floating, no levitating, and they vanish after a short while?

Due to the, IMO, gratuitous and, um, oddly annoying floating action, this steals away CPU cycles, I would imagine. And contributes to the, on my older gaming rig, frustrating sluggishness of the game controls, for example: In the control box, explanatory tooltips are slow to appear, or often don't show at all. Menu actions are glacial. It's just a chore dealing with the sub-optimal game controls.

There are other things like, IMO, gratuitous, unnecessary unit animations -- animated sprites shooting flaming volleys, for instance -- that also steal away CPU cycles. I'd really like a way to turn this video eye candy off!

Yeah, sure, I can play the game in counter-view mode, and ditch the sprites. But the game's unit counters are unattractive, don't fit well with the otherwise beautiful (if rather dark and gloomy) hand-drawn game maps. I prefer to play with the sprites, which are decently done, if not quite gorgeous.

That's just how I see it. (Or don't see it!) Sure, it's just my personal perception, but the total effect for me: The game's visuals are somewhat of a muddle. Overall, it's difficult to make out the front lines, it's not easy enough for me to follow the course of the action.

[*] The X/Y axes of the map coordinate system are "tilted" to the right. And the X/Y axes are not at the usual 90 degree angle to each other, rather 60 degrees/120 degrees.

If you look at the map in the usual orientation, and expect X coordinates to increase hex to hex, horizontally, left to right, you won't see it. Similarly, if you expect Y coordinates to increase hex to hex, vertically, top to bottom, you won't see that either.

It only begins to make sense if you cock your head 60 degrees rightward, so in that orientation, the X axis runs along the NW to SE diagonal. And the Y axis runs along the NE to SW diagonal.

In the depicted maps, geographical north is vertically straight up; geographical north is at the top center of the map; N is not actually NE. Of course.

From the player's normal perspective -- vertical & horizontal, top-to-bottom, left-to-right -- and given how map coordinates are handled in almost every other game (indeed, any other coordinate geometry or map system that I know of), it is all very confusing!

Try to make sense of the reinforcement entry hexes. What the...? Many players will be utterly confused and just give up trying.

The game's programmer explains that doing it this way makes it easier for him to compute distances, etc. (He is a mathematician by training.) Okay, but it's to his benefit, not ours, the players'. It's annoying, confusing, and adds to the frustration of playing the game. Better, I think, would be: Okay, for internal computations, keep the unusual hex geometry. But for benefit of the player, add a translation layer, converting the idiosyncratic internal map coordinates to the usual map coordinates that the player (indeed, anyone who has ever used a conventional map) expects. BaB is not a space game or an air combat sim! I shouldn't have to warp my view of physical space to understand it.

...

To their credit, the game's devs are introducing some much needed hot keys in tomorrow's patch (just several weeks after release, the game is already at version 1.05 beta), for moving one unit to the next (or previous), showing various useful highlights (out of command, out of supply, etc.). Yay! Less mouse movement, less need to interact with the sluggish control box and game menus. They keep working at fixing things.

Apart from these annoyances, otherwise the game is a breath of fresh air, a fantastically innovative game system, bringing to the forefront much needed considerations of command & control, unpredictability, etc.

[*] Except for the disturbingly odd "FOW". Basically, apart from grayed out areas of the map, the game has no real Fog of War. You know just about everything of the enemy -- his strength, the unit morale, gun ranges, the enemy commanders' battle plans, when and where reinforcements will enter, every AI unit move as it happens (even if not exactly from where to where), etc. Way too much intelligence! The rationale given: It's because our spymasters are so good. Unconvincing. It's also been more or less suggested: If you don't want to know those things, just turn a blind eye to them. Um, okay. Why bother with graying out areas of the map then? Couldn't I just turn a blind eye to enemy forces too? (Much like John Pope did at 2nd Bull Run?)

...

I've been maybe too harsh in this long-winded rant. The game has a lot going for it. I have a like-hate relationship with it. The game occasionally freezes or crashes. I mutter to myself, and walk away in disgust. Yet ... despite my frustrations, I keep returning to it. Looking past its flaws, I am nonetheless fascinated by it. Maybe the devs will polish the remaining rough edges and make this into a real gem of a game. Here's hoping my current like-hate relationship with Brother Against Brother grows into true love!

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Civil War Battles Lead Programmer, http://johntillersoftware.com/CivilWarBattles.html
Panzer Battles Lead Programmer, http://johntillersoftware.com/PanzerBattles.html
Campaign Series Lead Programmer, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=1515


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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 8:22 am 
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I am wondering if some of your graphic problems are related to age of your computer. I don't see most of what you describe but I may be misinterpreting what you are saying. They do use arrow lines to show shooting and floating numbers to indicate casualties but so do a number of games. HPS games also use the line drawing to indicate fire.

I do agree the lack of a play back on the other sides turn is a flaw. You only get to see the message log and casualty summary for it. This has been a problem for other games that get to complex for all the actions to be recorded and transmitted with the turn data. I hope they can eventually add it in.

They have more FOW than you realize. Most of those detail numbers you see displayed are the initial values not the current but it is still more information than you should have. My main complaint was their giving away the name of the unit when it came in LOS. I think that is something you shouldn't learn until you are adjacent. But most enemy units aren't shown until they are well within attack range. You rarely can see an enemy unit more than six or seven hexes away. For comparison HPS LOS is equivalent to over 90 of their hexes.

Right now their game scenarios are on to small of battles to have any true FOW. The situations are just to well defined. Except for a few scenarios in the First Manassas game enemy movements are rather predictable. But even in Manassas scenarios the Union player has the ability to pull some nasty surprises on Rebels who assume the usual moves.

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Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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 Post subject: Re: Brother Against Brother
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 11:08 am 
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Location: metro Chicago, IL, USA
Scourge of War, a game with far greater graphics demands than Brother Against Brother -- on my "older gaming rig" (Windows 7 Home Premium, dual-core AMD Athlon 64 3800+, 4 GB RAM; ATI R5450 Radeon graphics card, 1 GB DDR3), I can run SoW fine, no problem. AGEOD's ACW II, no problem. Even PI's EUIV and CKII run acceptably fast. But BaB runs rather slowly. Go figure.

So I figure: If there are unnecessary graphics bells & whistles -- such as the casualty numbers levitating up off the map -- do away with them! Just doing it like the HPS games, no CPU-sucking animation, would be fine. It can only help performance.

My quibbles with the casualty arrows are more about aesthetics than performance. Crisp and narrow (and brighter?) are more to my liking.

I dunno, when I look at BaB, overall I am reminded of "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" :twisted: -- darky and moody, even to the creepy looking Union & Confederate soldiers in the occasional game pop-ups that would not look out of place in that film. What else can I say? Overall it's just a weird artistic gestalt. But hey, I can deal with it.

Yes, I know about the FOW "more than [I] realize" -- in a way, maybe too well. Given everything else one knows in abundant detail about the enemy, yet in the Beech Grove, North Attacks scenario, somehow a couple brigades of Union infantry are able to do an end run around the Confederate position -- less than a half mile away -- and attack their encampment from the rear, with little notice by, or reaction from, the Southern AI, as described in an AAR here: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3855744. On the one hand, maneuvering in the grayed-out, out-of-LOS areas of the map confers near perfect FOW; while on the other hand(s!), you know almost everything else about the enemy. You know to precise detail about enemy reinforcements on the other side of the map (who, what, where, when), but you don't know what's passing by your flank just a half mile away. It all just seems so incongruent, especially how the game otherwise gets so many other things right. (Yes, it is aggravating that in the HPS ACW games the LOS is so expansive.)

Brother Against Brother is not a bad game. Any number of reviews and positive fora comments will tell you that. But there's a darker side to the story.

I'll download and apply every new patch (happening at least weekly now) and continue to play it from time to time. Hope springs eternal.

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Civil War Battles Lead Programmer, http://johntillersoftware.com/CivilWarBattles.html
Panzer Battles Lead Programmer, http://johntillersoftware.com/PanzerBattles.html
Campaign Series Lead Programmer, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=1515


Last edited by Berto on Fri May 22, 2015 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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