From: G.Barnett@unsw.EDU.AU
Subject: Deluxe out in Australia
To: rfheeter@phoenix (Robert F. Heeter)
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 1995 15:46:39 +1000 (EST)


Here is the text of a post I just made to csipg.strategic, and I 
thought you might be interested in it.  - Glen

[Text reformatted in HTML for ease of reading!]

Warlords II Deluxe - Out in Australia


First off, I've got to say I have seen some of this before, as I did get to do some testing on Deluxe, but there's plenty here I haven't seen. If I was seeing it all for the first time, I'd be pretty darn impressed. I have just installed the released version, and I'll try to be as objective as I can about it.

From scratch:

Well, the box is larger, but the artwork on the front isn't quite as good as Nick's best work. Still it is kind of eyecatching. In fact, a sample of the box has been in Napoleon's in Sydney for ages, so I'm sure lots of Sydneysiders have seen the box already. I don't like the font the word "Deluxe" is written in. It doesn't fit at all. There are not enough screen shots on the back.

In the box, there's a CD, with the cover picture on it, a manual (128 pages, and about 8x9 inches - a fair bit bigger than the old Warlords 2 and Scenario Builder manuals put together), a booklet of instructions - "Installing from CD", and a patch disk. The art seems to suit the CD better than the box.

Installation was uneventful (I already had 4Mb of EMS set up). The full install from CD takes a long time - I'd guess 15 minutes or maybe just under. You only need the Install and Sound buttons - the button that says "Librarian" is for unpacking and packing scenarios and army/city/shield/terrain sets and so on. The ability to test your sound card during installation is a big help, and working out problems is easier because it tells you how much memory and so on it thinks you have. There are several different kinds of install (mostly to do with how much you want to read off the CD as opposed to off your hard disk).

The patch disk is quick to install, just a minute or two. The file on the patch disk is an updated version of the one on the CD. One important thing is that the has a (short, - 7K) manual on using the terrain editor. I don't have it figured out yet, but it looks impressive. It looks like a paint program that produces PCX files is a major help for Warlords II Deluxe; I've been playing with a shareware one that looks pretty good, so I'll probably get it to use with Deluxe.

Programs in the top directory:

There are instructions for installing and running under OS/2 and Win '95.

Actually running it -

The 3-D opening animation is fun, and the original music is not bad, I especially liked the lava (or was that blood?) in the Lord Bane bit, but I probably would only watch it a few times.

Some of the scenarios look just incredible! In the castle, dungeon and cavern terrain, torches flicker, pools of water ripple and eyes flash, and some of the little features laying around add to the look of it. There's also a terrain set with desert and jungle - but the Dark Continent scenario that uses it had a few spelling mistakes, but I guess that won't bother most people, I'm just pedantic.

A lot of the armies have a more solid look, as you might hope with 256 colours to play with. The 256 colour stuff is great, though the foreshortened (like you are looking down on them from high up) look of some armies can make them appear to be a bit squat and dumpy. Most of the pictures are very good indeed. The overall look is a lot more professional and solid. A number of the better net scenarios have been taken over to Deluxe, with new graphics and stuff, along with all the scenarios from Warlords II and the Scenario Builder, and quite a number of totally new scenarios. There are author's comments on a number of the scenarios, notably the net ones, in the manual.

The random map stuff allows different sizes of random map, and it doesn't have to be called "Random". Random scenarios are also now proper scenarios, so there is no need to play around the way you had to in the original scenario builder.

There seems to new war related epithets. It also looks like I can now make it come up with my favourite: "Without killing, war is just a nasty argument with lots of pushing and shoving" - Arnold Judas Rimmer.

Some of the scenario pictures are pretty stunning.

The strategic map is no longer "flat" - it looks more like a little version of the big map than it used to.

Just about everything looks editable - ruins, temples, terrain, and so on. All the picture files are PCX, rather than PCK.

There is no longer the 100 scenario/30 army set limit of Warlords2 - I ran into both of those pretty quickly before. It's now 512 scenarios and 1024 army, city, shield and terrain sets. It will take a long while to fill them all up.

Scenario Builder

The scenario builder is good. Some of the features I would curse about not having are now there. It works in similar fashion to before, but copying pictures between sets is easier (and of course you aren't limited to a handful of colours anymore).

The terrain editor looks good, but I'll still have to spend some time playing around, and reading the instructions.

I imagine that the networking will be a big boon to many people, but I've only played a little bit of a two player game, so I can't say too much about it other than it seemed to work just fine.

The Manual

Overall, it looks pretty good. The manual is based on the original manuals, but changed to suit the new program. All the pictures are new (I think), and the Warlords II on screen font is used for the headings (the all-in-capitals headings don't look good, though). There are a number of new sections, and it explains combat in more detail, which is handy. Some of the pictures don't match the text: on p 85, it says "Fig 8 shows England created in the Edit All dialog". It looks like the area between Greece and Italy to me!


I haven't noticed any, but probably there'll be an odd one somewhere. Like all of SSG's stuff that I've seen, it is quite stable. Certain other software companies could learn a lesson here.

Who will want to buy it:

I'd say the main reasons you'd want it would be: