Date: Sat, 26 Aug 1995 15:26:01 +0200 From: Jay Han
Subject: Warlords II Deluxe info (again) [Part 1/2] Hi Bob. I've finally installed W2D and played around a bit. Here's a review I posted on comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic.
For the happy owners of a CD-ROM drive, it looks like the installation should be easy. There are 4 "levels" of installation, called Minimal, Minor, Major, and Total. The Total installation involves copying the whole CD-ROM onto HD, minus the animations. It takes about 44Mb. Major installation gets you only 6 scenarios and associated army/city/shield sets, but you can play entirely off the HD, without the CD-ROM. And you can always use the Librarian to install other scenarios. Major install requires about 23Mb. Minimal install takes 8Mb and must be terribly slow. To speed things up, Minor install requires another 5Mb to put time-critical files on the HD.
I recommend doing a Major install and using the Librarian to install some of the scenarios left. Only half of the scenarios will be interesting to you, if even that.
The Librarian replaces the ADDSCEN and DELSCEN utilities. It can be used to install, remove, and pack scenarios.
The intro is a series of FLI animations of fly-bys of rendered landscapes. I can do without it. But then, I'd happily have a lame intro for a better game engine!
There is a modem/network option. I haven't tried it. There is also an EMail mode that makes it easier to run email games. The program automatically generates a single save file, and I believe there are a few restrictions that prevent cheating, if that's a concern. The manual describes how to set up an email game.
Random game options have been improved. You can choose now between three map scales with as few as 18 cities up to as many as 100. The randomly generated maps still look pretty good. I even tried this with the "castle" terrain set and it generated a reasonable map! Creating a random game actually generates a new scenario named "Random" (you can change the name, so as to have several extant random games). That means you can easily replay, share and even edit random games.
It took some time getting used to not seeing the fireball marked "WAR!" when a combat takes place. Or maybe it's disappeared because I selected the "Fast Move" option, meaning that AI moves will be shown as fast as the computer can handle it.
BTW, the menu item SSG->About your computer shows the computer speed as Warp/Impulse numbers. I believe they represent CPU and video speeds.
All in all, the general look has improved, although the interface remains virtually the same.
Another change is that you can't Plant Standard and direct production there anymore.
The combat rules are explained in the manual in detail, including the effect of the Intense Combat option.
The default army set has been completely relooked. They now have a great, uniform 3-D feel. About half a dozen other army sets and city sets are successful in having a "feel" about them. My favorite Spectra set is there with little modification.
There are Modern and Invade city sets with matching Revolt and Space army sets for the futuristic; Jungle and Aztec for the exotic; Element, Norse and Fantasy for the esoteric; Newrus, Watloo and Europa for the historical; and Dracula for the vampiric.
Most of all, I'll tap the random scenario generator. It can be used to generate a small and quick scenario (as few as 18 cities, about 1/2-hour play time with 3 AIs) or a huge over-nighter (as many as 100 cities). Or, if you are into this, a nice PBEM game with 40 cities and 4 players.
Everything can be randomized. The smoothing algorithm is impressive, and there are tons of ways to touch up the fine details of the tactical map. You can even import a PCX strategic map, so now you can scan in a real-world map, fiddle the colormap, and presto! a template for a new scenario.
There is no editor for the shield sets, but all it takes is three PCX files, and the format is fairly straightforward.
The Terrain Editor and the Geomorph is available for the very dedicated world-creators!
At one point, I saw a bug that I haven't been able to reproduce. I loaded the Scenario Editor and loeaded the Erythea scenario, and it locked up so badly I had to kill it (from OS/2).
During the first turn of a game, as I was looking around the map while my hero was selected, the strategic map showed cities as white dots instead of shields. Also, the program showed some non-neutral cities as neutral and vice-versa. Going on to the next turn removed the problem. This bug never appeared again.
There are no ADDSCEN or DELSCEN utilities. Instead, use the Librarian (INSTALL.EXE). But since I have ZIPped the scenario files myself, I have to install and remove scenarios myself, then run the Scenario Builder to reconstruct the list of installed items before they show up in the game's New Scenario list.
I have yet to clearly assess the new AI's strength before I can give a firm opinion.
-=< Jay "Thierry" Han >=- Jay.Han@imag.fr Bull-IMAG/Systemes. 2, av. Vignate. ZI Mayencin II, 38610 Gieres. Tel: +33 126.96.36.199. Fax: 188.8.131.52. Perso: 61, rue Thiers. 38000 Grenoble. 184.108.40.206.