The Battle Hymn maps are a bit different to previous Shenandoah projects as my role was mostly as Art Director. I reworked the font hierarchy and balance, had a lot of input on the colour, style, shading, content and many of the techniques but the final execution and a lot of inspiration was down to Rob Shields, Shenandoahs new artist, and he did a great job.

Early in pre-production we’d asked our Kickstarter backers and fans of CiC which of three potential styles they wanted for Gettysburg. We presented a semi realistic version (similar to CiC), a hand drawn version and an etched version. The majority said they preferred the realistic version which, given our previous titles was unsurprising, but went completely against my thoughts and gut feelings.

I very much wanted to push the etched style and there were a number of reasons for this. In no particular order ..

  • Most of the more recent ACW games that had come to the mobile market used realistic looking maps,  and in the world of iPad war games it was becoming a bit samey and bland. Even board wargames were starting to use it ( possibly more influenced by the CoH and similar maps ). So by now I wanted something slightly more interesting.
  • Shenandoah was known for CiC and my particular, semi realistic look that was an off shoot of techniques developed for CoH. I didn’t want us to get tied down to that and instead, show variety. Stretch our wings a little.
  • I wanted the game to really have, as much as is possible and practical, a period feel. I loved the military maps that had been drawn shortly after the ACW. Their line work, their typography, use of colour and patterns, their solutions to age old problems.
  • I thought we could combine traditional wargame values of clarity and simplicity ( thinking SPI ) with a period aesthetic while making best use of the level of quality its possible to achieve with today’s tools on today’s devices. ie. cherry picking the bits I like and giving it a slight modern twist. Nothing new there but its a valid enough approach.
  • There was talk of releasing a new battle every 4 weeks or so, what with development time and testing, the maps had to be able to be created within a couple of days without a loss in quality.

So that’s what was pushed for and the direction it was steered in. Bit of a gamble given the initial opposition. We iterated on the various terrain types and did lots of tweaks to fonts and styling and, by the time Shenandoah closed down, had the following… This was getting its final tweaks on the day Shenandoah shut its doors. We were that close to release.

Gettysburg was mostly finished ..

Gettysburg Map

This next one is 100% resolution. click and zoom in for a closer look.

Gettysburg_Close up at 100% Clisk and zoom in

Here’s a view of the map in action

Gettysburg Screen_01

Pea Ridge was likewise nearly finished however the actual gameplay side wasn’t started. We’d moved ahead with the map to make sure the style would work for more than just the Gettysburg map. There were still a lot of obvious problems to iron out.

Pea Ridge Map

This next one is 100% Resolution. click and zoom in for a closer look.

Pea Ridge close up

Shiloh and Bentonville were both a long way off being finished – baring in mind that the last 30% takes 70% of the time.

Shiloh Map Unfinished

Bentonville Map Unfinished

UPDATE: It looks like the paper version is finally getting made by Compass Games and is looking really quite nice.  Nice for Rob to get some credit.