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Designer Chat with Mark Herman on Youtube

Posted on July 17th, by Peter in Blog. No Comments

The chat is over, but you can still view it below, or by clicking here.

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Strategy Chat with Mark Herman – Thursday at 3pm EDT

Posted on July 14th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein, Strategy Tips. No Comments

Here is the link: http://youtu.be/okhRinpfJCI

We are back this week with another look at Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein in action. Designer Mark Herman will join Peter Rambo and Jeff Dougherty to talk about Desert Fox strategy. We will play through a few quick turns and talk about the key moves you need to make to succeed. If you’ve been enjoying and want to improve your overall strategy, you will want to check this out for sure.

Here are more details:

Desert Fox Strategy Chat
Who: Jeff Dougherty, Peter Rambo, and Mark Herman
When: Thursday at 3pm
Where: Google Hangout (YouTube streaming)

Mark, Jeff, and Peter will be on hand to answer any strategy questions you have and divulge some of their best practices. Be sure to head over to our forums to ask questions in advance and we will answer them live on the air.

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The Spaces of War II: Desert Fox

Posted on July 10th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein, Strategy Tips. No Comments

This week we have a guest strategy post from Bruce Geryk, an ardent play-tester, blogger, podcaster, and friend of the studio. This article originally appeared on his blog, Wargaming_[space] and is used with permission.

Go!Get Desert Fox now!

It may seem that the 61 spaces on the Desert Fox map are so much featureless desert. That’s probably what the historical combatants thought. But in the absence of dramatic, battlefield-defining landmarks, the more subtle undulations of terrain in the Egyptian desert developed into important features to rival the importance of the rivers, forests, and hills of more conventional battlefields. The unique combination of ridges, tracks, and deirs in the iOS version of this famous battle breaks down in some interesting ways. Not all sand dunes are created equal!

THE BIG RIDGES
Two of the ridges in the game dominate the battlefield. In the historical battle, the Germans … Read More »

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4th of July Sale – Battle of the Bulge and Drive on Moscow On Sale

Posted on July 3rd, by Brad in Blog, News, Shenandoah Studio. No Comments

The response to Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein has been fantastic. We’ve received glowing reviews from Touch Arcade, Pocket Tactics, Pocket Gamer, and more.

To celebrate the launch of Desert Fox and the 4th of July Holiday in the USA, we are having a special Early Bird Sale on Battle of the Bulge and Drive on Moscow. This will be a rolling sale, starting out our lowest price ever, $2.99, and climbing back up to the original price. Act now to lock in the lowest price on these great strategy games.

Go!Get Battle of the Bulge now!
Go!Get Drive on Moscow now!

Here is a breakdown of the sale schedule:

 

July 3rd-4th: 70% off ($2.99 USD)

July 5th: 60% off ($3.99 USD)

July 6th: 50% off ($4.99 USD)

July 7th: 40% off ($5.99 USD)

July 8th: 30% off ($6.99 USD)

July 9th: 20% off ($7.99 USD)

July 10th: 10% … Read More »

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Desert Fox: The first ridge

Posted on July 2nd, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein, News. No Comments

This week we have a guest strategy post from Bruce Geryk, an ardent play-tester, blogger, podcaster, and friend of the studio. This article originally appeared on his blog, Wargaming_[space] and is used with permission.

Go!Get Desert Fox now!

On 1 July 1942, Gen. Erwin Rommel was at the end of a tenuous supply line with a battle-fatigued army which had nonetheless just chased the Allies out of their last defensive position in western Egypt. The next Allied position was hastily constructed at El Alamein, a remote railway station 150 miles from Cairo. Rommel had just won a major victory by capturing the port of Tobruk and had hustled the British 8th Army out of its position at Mersa Matruh, just 100 miles to the west. His army was on the end of a tenuous supply line, but the British forces were in … Read More »

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7 Strategy tips for Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein

Posted on June 27th, by Peter in Blog, El Alamein, Home, Lists, News, Strategy Tips. No Comments

So you just bought Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein, and you don’t want to look like a greenhorn when you take control of your army. It’s OK. I’m here for you.

Go!Get Desert Fox now!
1. Play the Tutorials

If you’ve played any of our previous games, you might be tempted to skip the tutorials. For the first tutorial, which goes over the basics of movements and combat, experienced players can give into that temptation.

But the other three tutorials introduce concepts specific to Desert Fox, and if you don’t take those concepts to heart, you can lose.

I’ll say that again. You can lose our tutorials.

Our tutorials are little scenarios that give you a goal and very limited guidance. In fact, don’t think of them as tutorials, think of them as puzzles for you to solve, with some hints along the way.

2. … Read More »

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Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein is Now Available!

Posted on June 26th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. No Comments

“With Desert Fox, Shenandoah Studio has raised the bar for iOS strategy gaming again!” – Bruce Shelley, Designer – Age of Empires

Desert Fox: The Battle of Alamein is now available as a Universal App for $9,99.

Go!Get Desert Fox now!

In Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein, a WWII turn-based strategy game, players take control at the turning point of the battle for North Africa. Will you hold the line as the Commonwealth or capture the Suez Canal as the Axis? Find out today on the App Store.

A Grand Campaign

In this historical strategy game, players battle across a grand campaign, making key decisions and controlling the final engagement. They must use minefields, ridges, and depressions to shape the battle lines. Diving deeper than Battle of the Bulge and Drive on Moscow, the campaign mode offers a new level of control and customization … Read More »

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Outwit the Desert Fox with a Sneak Peek of the Game Rules

Posted on June 24th, by Brad in Blog. 1 Comment

Are you excited for Desert Fox: The Battle of Alamein, available on the App Store June 26th, 2014 as an Universal App? As we mentioned earlier this week, Desert Fox is a new experience based on Battle of the Bulge and Drive on Moscow. To help jumpstart your experience with the game, we’re giving you a sneak peek at the rules for the game.

Download a PDF of the rules.

All of this content, as well as in-game rules, useful charts and tables, and a tutorial system is available in Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein. Before the big day be sure to look into the rules and get a leg up on the competition.

Head over to our forums to ask us questions and compare notes with other fans as we approach the launch.

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Prepare for Battle – Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein is Coming June 26th!

Posted on June 23rd, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. 3 comments

Our much anticipated title is almost here!  Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein, a new game based on the hit Battle of the Bulge, will be available on the App Store June 26th, 2014 as an Universal App for $9.99. The team is excited to present the third installment of Crisis In Command, set in North Africa. Learn more on our game page.

On Thursday, be sure to check out:

Campaign Mode
Diving deeper than Battle of the Bulge and Drive on Moscow, the campaign mode offers a new level of control and customization to players. As commander, players must decide when to defend or attack, preserving valuable forces, or risking them in a daring offensive.  Each match results in a unique play experience. This is not just Battle of the Bulge in desert camo.

Accessibility for New Players
To help new players, we have created a new tutorial system with four learning scenarios … Read More »

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Desert Fox: The Journey

Posted on June 18th, by Mark Herman in Blog. No Comments

This week we have a special post from Mark Herman, designer of Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein. He gives us a quick rundown of his development process and unique insight into the game. We hope you enjoy. – Brad

Some of my designs work from the first prototype and others take me on a journey. As this particular design was to be based on John Butterfield’s most excellent Battle of the Bulge design I expected a simple journey, but it was not to be.

One of my earliest discussions was with John about map scale and unit size. He and I felt that the system could scope down to a regimental level vice the predominantly division sized units in Bulge. This was correct with modification, with the initial design and playtest with John looking like mission accomplished. What I was … Read More »

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Watch Desert Fox Live Right Now!

Posted on June 17th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

We are back this week with another look at Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein in action. Last week, we were invited by Pocket Tactics to show off the new campaign mode. This time, we’re having an old fashioned brawl between founder Jeff Dougherty and playtester, blogger, podcaster, brain surgeon, and so on Bruce Geryk. Good luck Jeff!

Here are more details:

Desert Fox Live Game
Who: Jeff Dougherty vs. Bruce Geryk
When: Now
Where: Google Hangout (YouTube streaming)
Watch Here:

We are playing the Ruweisat Ridge scenario. In this scenario, Axis forces are trying to gain as much ground as they can in an initial assault. The Commonwealth player is trying to hold back the advance as long as they can and hold key locations. Be sure to join us in this grand battle across the desert.

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Learning to Play Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein

Posted on June 11th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. 3 comments

One of our main goals here at Shenandoah Studio is to use digital platforms to bring wargaming to a wider audience. Traditionally, you would learn a wargame by reading a long rulebook and trying the game for yourself (often referring back to the book during play). Now, with digital platforms, we as creators have new tools to help get you playing faster.

With Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein, we have worked hard to provide even better tools to help you learn the game and play with confidence. We feel these improvements will make the game more accessible for everyone, from the grognard to the casual player.

Custom Tutorial Scenarios

A good tutorial teaches you how to play while providing you with the skills to create great strategies of your own. With Desert Fox, we’ve tried to accomplish this by providing four … Read More »

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Watch Desert Fox on Pocket Tactics!

Posted on June 10th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. 2 comments

We’re playing Desert Fox with Owen Faraday of Pocket Tactics. He will be challenging one of our new AI opponents in a desperate struggle for North Africa Myself and lead developer Craig Moffitt will be on hand to answer questions and offer sage strategic advice. Here are the details:

Watch Desert Fox Live on Pocket Tactics
When: Now!
Who: Owen Faraday, Founder Pocket Tactics, Brad Cummings and Craig Moffitt, Shenandoah Studio
Go Here to Watch!

We hope you will join us and watch live.  Be sure to read more about Desert Fox on our game page. You can also head over to our forums to ask questions, chat with fans, and more.

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Meet Mark Herman, Designer of Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein

Posted on June 5th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. 1 Comment

One of the coolest parts about working here at Shenandoah Studio is the chance to work with renowned wargame designers. For each of our games we look to the experience of professional designers to ensure we have a great game before any lines of code are written. In the past we’ve worked with the likes of John Butterfield and Ted Raicer. This time around, as you know, we are working Mark Herman. As we get closer to launch, I wanted to take this opportunity to give you more background on Mark.
(Some information used with permission of Rodger MacGowan from an interview in C3i Magazine)

Like many of the brass at Shenandoah Studio (namely Nick and Eric), Mark got his start in gaming at Simulations Publications Inc. (SPI). It all started at the first Origins Game Fair in 1975. Mark asked folks … Read More »

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6 Archival Photos of General Bernard Montgomery

Posted on May 29th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

General Bernard Montgomery is one of the most influential generals of the Second World War. His success in El Alamein turned the tide of Allied morale and opened up the way for the invasion of Sicily and beyond. He was known for speaking his mind and being fiercely loyal to those under his command. We’ve collected 6 photos of the general along with thoughts on his leadership and character.

(All photos are Public Domain)

 

1. He went out of his way to relate to his soldiers, even living in a caravan in the garden rather than in his luxurious North African HQ.

 

 

2. He always ensured that his soldiers were well-trained and well-equipped.

 

 

3. Both he and General Rommel treated POWs with respect, inspiring the nickname “War Without Hate.”

 

4. He promoted uniting land, naval, and air units into effective combined arms teams.

 

5. Upon … Read More »

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6 Archival Photos of General Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox

Posted on May 21st, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

General Erwin Rommel is one of the most fascinating figures of the 2nd World War. He was respected by both sides and led the Axis in some of the most crucial battles of the war. This week we present a collection of photos of the general in North Africa as well as a highlights of some of his famous leadership traits.

(Information from Wikipedia.com. Photos used with permission of the US National Archive unless otherwise noted)

 

1. He believed a commander should be present at the point of combat. He kept his headquarters near the front and would often lead assaults.

 

 

2. He would personally pilot reconnaissance aircraft to assess the situation.

 

3. Both he and General Montgomery treated POWs with respect, inspiring the nickname “War Without Hate.”

 

4. Known for surprise attacks, he would use sandstorms and night as cover.

 

5. He believed a commander … Read More »

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Desert Fox Playtesting Report from Bruce Geryk

Posted on May 14th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

Surgeon, wargamer, podcaster, and, most importantly, friend of the studio, Bruce Geryk, has been involved with playtesting Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein from an early stage. Over on his blog, he has put together an excellent summary of his playtesting experience, offering insights into the process and the challenges surrounding Desert Fox development. He’s given us permission to share a excerpts here, and we encourage you to head to Wargamespace.com to read the full thing.

 

Bruce on his Childhood Perception of Playtesting

When I was young, I’d read about “playtest sessions” at the major boardgame publishers, like SPI and Avalon Hill. I wished I could participate just once in what seemed like a crazy fantasy. I could just imagine what it was like: a luxurious conference room, with plenty of leather recliners, multiple televisions tuned to the latest news and sports, people … Read More »

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Soldiers in the Storm – The Faces of Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein

Posted on May 7th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. No Comments

Battles represent the sacrifice of individual soldiers. With Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein, we want to build a fun game while showing respect to those that participated in these very real conflicts. This week we present 6 archival photos of soldiers from both sides (photos used with permission of US National Archive unless otherwise noted).

1. A Commonwealth soldier aiming an anti-aircraft gun.

 

2. An Axis film crew in the heat of battle.

3. New Zealand soldiers at an outpost.

 

4. An Axis soldier planting a flag.

 

5. General Montgomery in a famous pose.

 

6. General Rommel on his way to North Africa.

Are you excited for Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein? Sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates.

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The Present Situation: Designing Scenarios for Gettysburg: The Tide Turns

Posted on May 1st, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

Designer Eric Lee Smith has been hard at work on creating scenarios for Gettysburg: The Tide Turns.  In wargaming, a base game can have a full campaign but, also, several scenarios that capture key moments from the battle and provide tighter play experiences. Gettysburg was a massive battle that spanned three long days. Within that timeframe there are many heroic moments to highlight.

Internally, we have been testing out three new scenarios that may make it in to the final game that we want to tell you about. They are the Second Day, the Third Day, and Pickett’s Charge. Each of these feature unique setups and new problems to solve.

The Second Day

In this scenario players take command of the crucial second day of the battle. Many historians feel that this was the deciding day: the Confederates had to do well in … Read More »

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Soldiers’ Stories from the Battle of El Alamein

Posted on April 30th, by Brad in Blog, Gettysburg: The Tide Turns. 1 Comment

Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein covers a sweeping campaign from the point of view of a commander. In each of those digital units are individual soldiers who fought with bravery. This week we have collected a few stories from soldiers at the Battle of El Alamein from the excellent  WW2 People’s War from BBC and other sources.

1. In Debt to the Battalion

Thomas Arthur Murray with the 10th Armoured Division of the 8th Army served and was wounded during Operation Lightfoot. He shared his experience up to the battle starting in summer 1942. One highlight is an officer who informed Murray that if he did not survive the battle, one of the officers would have to pay his 5 pound debt to the battalion. Murray explained he would do his best to make it through. War really shifts perspectives.

Read the full … Read More »

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5 Films to Get You Ready for Gettysburg: The Tide Turns

Posted on April 16th, by Brad in Blog, Gettysburg: The Tide Turns. 3 comments

Gettysburg: The Tide Turns captures the heart of the Civil War, immersing you as commander in one of the most important battles of the war. We are building a game that will be both strategic, fun, and thematic. We are still hard at work on development and look forward to getting the game in your hands as soon as we can. In the mean time, why not check out five films we recommend for getting in the American Civil War spirit. Have a film you love that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

1. Gettysburg

This Behemoth of a film captures this decisive battle of the American Civil War. Based on the novel The Killer Angels, it is a staggeringly large film, covering events surrounding the battle as well as the battle itself.
IMDB Link

2. Glory

In Glory, Rober Gould Shaw leads the American Civil War’s … Read More »

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Q&A Session with Desert Fox Designer Mark Herman, Watch Now!

Posted on April 15th, by Brad in Blog, Gettysburg: The Tide Turns. No Comments

Live Q&A Session with Designer Mark Herman
Time & Place: Google Hangout OnAir, Thursday, April 17th at 4:00pm EDT

Head here to watch the broadcast:

 

Why is the map divided the way it is?
What are the space names based on?
Why were Flak guns added to Desert Fox?

You have questions, and we have the man with the answers. Join us Thursday as we sit down with designer Mark Herman to chat about Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein.

With every game in our Crisis in Command series, we attempt to capture the important elements of the historical situation while also creating a fun game. Much of this responsibility falls on the designer. Join us as we talk with Mark Herman about how he made this happen in Desert Fox.

 

About Mark Herman:

Mark Herman is a renowned historical strategy game designer and winner of three … Read More »

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Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein by the Numbers

Posted on April 10th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

The Second Battle of El Alamein, as captured in Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein, was a turning point of World War II. This Allied victory opened the way to liberating North Africa, invading Italy and beyond. To understand the scope of this important battle, we present Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein by the numbers. (All info from Wikipedia.org, photos used with permission of US National Archive unless otherwise noted)

 116,000 Axis soldiers in the battle

 

195,000 Commonwealth soldiers in the battle

 

547 Axis tanks

 

1,029 Commonwealth tanks

 

30,542 Axis casualties

 

13,560 Commonwealth casualties

 

40 miles (64km) from El Alamein to the Qattara Depression

 

200 meters (220 yards) of mines cleared an hour with Polish Mine Detector

 

200 tanks in the 7th Armoured Division (the Desert Rats)

 

3,000,000 mines laid before the start of the battle

 

1,000 sorties made by the Desert Air Force on October 24th, 1942

 

Are … Read More »

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Development Diary: Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein

Posted on April 2nd, by Craig Moffitt in Blog. 1 Comment

Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein is my first experience as lead game developer here at Shenandoah Studio.   I started last fall as a game developer during the home stretch for Drive on Moscow, after a career leading applied research projects in the defense industry. The biggest difference for me as a lead developer was the ability to make an impact in areas of game design and art in addition to software architecture.

Longtime fans of the studio know that we’ve been designing an El Alamein game for quite some time.  The enduring design challenge has been to make a game that is exciting and interesting for both sides out of a historical campaign that ended in an overwhelming Commonwealth victory and included months of static trench warfare more reminiscent of World War I.

My first exposure to the design was … Read More »

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Development Diary: Tim and Travis Bid Farewell

Posted on March 28th, by Brad in Blog, Gettysburg: The Tide Turns. 2 comments

Tim Day and Travis Chandler have been working at Shenandoah Studio for the past six months and, later this week, will head back to Drexel University to continue their studies. In the past we’ve highlighted their work on Drive on Moscow and other projects.

For the past few months they have been focused on Gettysburg: The Tide Turns, contributing to the complex groundwork for the game. I sat down with them for a quick chat before they leave, focusing on their Gettysburg work and a their time at Shenandoah Studio.

Brad: Can you tell me a little bit about your specific role in the Gettysburg development?

Travis: 

When I first started working on Gettysburg, I was working on developing some basic tests to make sure the groundwork for the game was properly in place. Things like the functionality of moving units, and checking the amount … Read More »

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Desert Fox: Campaign Mode and Night Map Preview

Posted on March 27th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. 12 comments

As you may have seen on Pocket Tactics and Wargamer.com, we have released new details on Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein, diving into campaign mode and night maneuvers.

Combat After Hours

In Desert Fox, night maneuvers are key to victory, often turning the balance in your favor. Happening at after the day ends, they allow players to move infantry and recon units forward and even conduct battle. These moves allow you to set up advances for the following day.

Check out a video of the evolution of the Desert Fox map:

 

Desert Fox Campaign Mode

While maintaining many aspects of the Crisis in Command engine, Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein features an all new campaign mode. It covers a wide breadth of time, letting players decide when to defend or attack and, ultimately, control the final engagement.

Refit or Offensive?

Each week in … Read More »

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Panzers in the Sand: 9 Photos of Tanks from WW2 North Africa

Posted on March 18th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. 1 Comment

Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein captures a moment from the sweeping  North African campaign. It was a time of great growth in strategy especially in armored warfare. The photos below capture some of the vehicles used in these sweeping battles.

(All photos used with permission of the US National Archive, unless otherwise noted)

 

1. Commonwealth tank driver

2. A captured Matilda tank

 

3. Grant Tanks in the barren desert

 

4. Australian captured Italian M11/39s

 

5. An explosion near a Matilda tank

 

6. Silhouetted Panzer III

 

7. A captured Panzer IV

 

8. Sherman tanks on the attack

 

9. A Stuart “Honey” tank in the dust

Are you excited for Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein? Sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates.

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One Book On…Desert Fox

Posted on March 13th, by Jeff Dougherty in Blog, One Book On.... 5 comments

In the world of military history, there are often enough books on a single topic to keep one busy for years. Many historians and fans spend their entire lives devoted to a single subject. We don’t all have that kind of time (or attention span), thus we present the One Book On… series. 

In each entry, Jeff Dougherty recommends one book on a subject that can act as a good first step and window in to a broader study. The series by design only offers one lens into a subject, but it’s a good start. We hope you enjoy One Book On.

Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein
by Niall J. A. Barr

 

Finding my book to read for Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein was more difficult than I anticipated. The problem was that most books on the subject … Read More »

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Fuzz Testing Gettysburg: The Tide Turns

Posted on March 10th, by Brad in Blog, Gettysburg: The Tide Turns. 2 comments

As we mentioned in our last update, we are using MVC as our software development pattern for Gettysburg: The Tide Turns. Currently, we are focused on the Model and are trying to get all the game rules set and in place. Last time we explained how a command line interface has allowed us to interact with the Model and do testing. Today I want to introduce you to a new method we are using to test the Model: Fuzz testing.

Fuzz testing is the process of using randomized, automated input to test a software program. It is used to quickly root out exceptions or flaws in a system. Security systems use this method to ensure that they are entirely protected. We can use it in Gettysburg: The Tide Turns to look for edge cases in gameplay. The game rules along with … Read More »

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Desert Warfare! 7 Photos Depicting Unique Elements of Desert Conflict

Posted on March 4th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. No Comments

Desert Fox: The Battle of the El Alamein is coming this Spring from Shenandoah Studio. It depicts the battles surrounding El Alamein and captures the unique elements of desert warfare. Below are 7 archival photos that highlight some of these elements.

1. Barbed wire marking minefield gaps.

 

2. A mine detection device in action.

3. Maori Battalion haka prior to battle.

 

 

4. A Commonwealth demolitions expert.

5. An Axis soldier shielding himself from a dust storm.

6. A night barrage in the desert.

 

7. British tanks rolling across the open sand.

 

Are you excited for Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein? Sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates.

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What’s in a Name? Desert Fox and App Marketing

Posted on February 20th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. 5 comments

You’ve heard a lot from me here on this blog, but rarely do I speak directly to what I do here at Shenandoah Studio. As our sole marketing person, my responsibilities cover all interactions with customers. My goal is to build a strong community while continuing to find new ways to usher new users into that community.

 

As you may remember, we originally pitched a game called El Alamein back in our 2012 Kickstarter for Battle of the Bulge. The battles fought in and around El Alamein shaped the course of World War II. It represented the first Allied victory and the start of a chain reaction that would turn the tide of the war. We were (and are) excited to bring this important event to life on iOS.

At the time, El Alamein seemed like a great name, it told it … Read More »

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Channeling the 70s – Gettysburg: The Tide Turns in Command Line

Posted on February 18th, by Brad in Blog, Gettysburg: The Tide Turns. 2 comments

Today, most of us interact with computers through graphical interfaces. We use an input device such as a mouse or controller to manipulate objects on a screen. Increasingly we are using touch based devices. 40 years ago, this was not the case. Most interaction with computers was done through text commands. With Gettysburg: The Tide Turns as part of our development process, we have made the game playable through a command line text interface. Why would we take time on this throwback approach? Let me explain.

With Gettysburg: The Tide Turns we are using a software development pattern called Model-View-Controller (MVC). In this approach the model is the base of all game code, rules, functions etc. The view and controller are what the user interacts with. So in the case of Gettysburg: The Tide Turns the controller and view will eventually … Read More »

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Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein, Coming Spring 2014

Posted on February 13th, by Brad in Blog, El Alamein. 5 comments

Back in our original Battle of the Bulge Kickstarter, we announced El Alamein, a sequel capturing the two battles of El Alamein and surrounding conflicts. After overcoming some design challenges we are proud to announce that Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein (formerly El Alamein) will be coming this spring!

 

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.— Winston Churchill

Historical Context

Many mark the Battle of El Alamein as a turning point in World War II. Of it, Winston Churchill said, “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat.” Up to this point Allied efforts on the Western Front had been characterized by defeats and retreats. The victory at El Alamein opened the road to the invasion of Italy … Read More »

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Artificial Intelligence: Beyond AlphaBeta

Posted on February 5th, by Miguel Nieves in Blog, Moscow. 3 comments

I love using Utility AI Theory for its simplicity, flexibility, and speed, but it hit a point of diminishing returns in challenging players in a game as large, long, and complex as Drive on Moscow.  Alternative decision-making methods such as Planners, Neural Networks,  Pattern Matching, Pre-processing, and all manner of Tree-searching seemed to offer as many problems as solutions.  It took an evolutionary approach, and resulted in something shocking close to…

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Ghost in the Machine: Drive on Moscow 2.0′s AI Improvements

Posted on January 31st, by Miguel Nieves in Blog, Moscow. 5 comments

Once again, I am pleasantly surprised to find so many of you playing against our AI Generals. Though it may not seem it, the AI architecture has undergone a massive metamorphosis since Bulge. We now offer even more variety in not only the personality, but skill of the AI Generals. The challenge this time is providing a consistent challenge during progression through a long game. In Moscow 2.0 there are 2 new generals who think and play fundamentally differently than their Utility based brothers.

 

Best Move vs. Countermove
The new Generals, Halder and Rokossovsky (affectionately Hal & Rokky), combine Utility, Tree searching, and Machine Learning to explore tens of thousands potential outcomes before making a final decision. By exploring the impact of counter moves, the new Generals can delay making its “best” move in order to prevent it’s opponent’s. It also forces the … Read More »

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Welcome to Drive on Moscow 2.0

Posted on January 30th, by Brad in Blog, Moscow. 5 comments

Drive on Moscow has been a smash success receiving rave reviews from fans and critics alike. We have been hard at work to continue improve the game with new features and refinements. Drive on Moscow 2.0 is the culmination of these efforts, bringing support for iPhone and iPod touch as well as other great features.

 

Drive on Moscow is Now Universal

We knew from the start that we wanted to bring Drive on Moscow to all iOS platforms. Taking what we learned with Battle of the Bulge, we have been able to bring Drive on Moscow to iPhone and iPod Touch much quicker. The UI is designed specifically for the smaller platform so you can have the same great game experience whether at home or on the go. The grand fields of Russia now fit in your hand.

New AI Opponents Join the Fray

AI … Read More »

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Mapping History – Designing the Gettysburg: The Tide Turns Map

Posted on January 24th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

Before all the digital wizardry described last time can take place, there is a complex process of designing a map on paper. Hours of historical research go into making the perfect game map. I had the chance to chat with designer Eric Lee Smith about his process. First off, a great game map has two similar yet competing goals: 1. Historical accuracy: Using period maps, you want your map to reflect the actual historical situation. 2. Gameplay accuracy: You want the game to feel accurate during play. Famous landmarks and control points need to feel significant.

Designing for Historical Accuracy

The goal in creating a game based on a historical battle is to capture the terrain that is militarily significant. Eric explains, “In the case of Gettysburg they are things like streams, hills, the woods, the trails, the slopes, things like that. There … Read More »

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Prepare for a Counterattack: Making Drive on Moscow for iPhone

Posted on January 22nd, by Brad in Blog, Moscow. 1 Comment

We have been hard at work on Drive on Moscow version 2.0, a large update that will make the app Universal, along with many other great additions. Intern Tim Day has stopped by to share his experience developing Drive on Moscow for iPhone. We hope you enjoy. – Brad

When I was tasked with creating the iPhone version of Drive on Moscow I knew I was in for a treat. I had the opportunity to inherit a well developed system that was already pretty far along. The iPhone design that encapsulates all that’s great about the iPad interface and, in many cases, enhances it, was laid out before me in an orderly fashion. All I needed to do was create it for Drive on Moscow. On top of that, the work that was done with Battle of the Bulge on iPhone was easily … Read More »

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Mapping Gettysburg: The Tide Turns

Posted on January 9th, by Brad in Blog, Gettysburg: The Tide Turns. 3 comments

A wargame’s heart and soul is its map. It is the leading character, the first and last thing a player sees. In the past, we’ve gone into the artistic process behind our maps. Outside of making the maps look great, there is a lengthy process of coding the rules enforcement for the map into a game.

For Drive on Moscow there were 96 spaces and 906 data points that needed to be coded in by hand. This took many hours. With Gettysburg: The Tide Turns this is an even bigger challenge as we are dealing with 884 hexes and nearly 10,000 data points. How could we save the nearly 100 man-hours it would take to get the map ready?

 

Meet Mapper, a custom program created by Shenandoah Studio’s own Robert Gray. You’ve seen the above Gettysburg playtesting map in our previous posts.  … Read More »

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Battle of the Bulge by the Numbers

Posted on January 1st, by Peter in Blog. No Comments

The Battle of the Bulge (also called the Ardennes Offensive) was the largest American battle of World War 2 and featured a large-scale Axis push across a massive front. The Allied forces rallied together to slow and finally halt the advance. This conflict is the backdrop to the award-winning iOS strategy game of the same name. Below our statistics that give a sense of the scale of the battle. 

Battle of the Bulge, our iOS strategy game, which captures this historic battle is currently on sale for 50% off. 

 

 

 83,000 Allied Soldiers Initially

200,000 Axis Soldiers Initially

90 min, 1,600 Guns, 80 Mile Front Artillery Barrage to Start the Battle

80,987 Allied Casualties

84,834 Axis Casualties

2,000 African-American Soldiers Volunteered to Join the Battle

 

22,800 Allies vs 54,000 Axis, the Forces in the Siege of Bastogne

 

1 Word
The Reply of McAuliffe to the Request to Surrender Bastogne

10 Miles, How Close the … Read More »

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