Ladies and gentlemen, we are excited to present to you our grand pre-release Q&A blog for Holdfast: Nations At War! We have always been keen on transparency. Primarily this is to keep you up to date with our progress but it also allows us to go a step forward and involve our community with the development of the game. Holdfast: NaW will be available to play through Steam Early Access on September the 21st.
Today we’ll be answering some of your most-asked questions on Holdfast: Nations At War. Before we continue, we recommend that you head over to our previous blog post as we have not gone into detail on things already discussed over there.
Anvil Game Studios. Meet the core development team
Holdfast: Nations At War is being built from the ground up by a core development team of 3! Andrew “Refleax” Farrugia, the Producer is to the left, Andreas “Dreas” Grech the one and only Programmer working on the game sits to the right and Julian “Rycon” Farrugia the lead 3D Artist, is standing in the middle.
We’re a small indie team putting long hours into something that we all love to do. We are giving it our all to make Holdfast: Nations At War truly great.
Steam Early Access. Alpha phase
Holdfast: Nations At War is still under active development (and will be for some time).
This Alpha state means that some of its features and content are more polished than others. Improvements are ongoing for the core mechanics of the game such as the melee and naval combat along with player count optimisation. On that base, we also plan on the inclusion of new features such as cavalry, new factions and maps. We know what the community wants and we’re working on it!
Constant game updates. Onwards to release
We very well understand our responsibility towards our Early Access supporters in bringing it out of that phase and into a full release. In order to achieve this in a timely fashion, we will be pushing out regular updates and improvements to the game based on our development roadmap. We will also be releasing changelogs with each and every build to provide you with greater visibility of our progress. We feel that visibility and community involvement within development will be the secret to a successful transition from Early Access to release.
1. Is the melee combat directional and what are your priorities towards this mechanic?
On Our Forum
The melee combat system in Holdfast: Nations At War is based on a directional system. This means that you can strike and block in four directions. Not all of the weapons within the game can use all four directions. We feel that this system is incredibly important to the success of Holdfast: NaW and so we are working hard to develop it into something that plays and feels great.
Since we first announced the game, we have been working closely with members of our competitive community during our closed-testing to improve upon this core mechanic of the game. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to them for allowing us to take up their time to gather their feedback!
Work on melee combat is currently ongoing. We understand that melee combat is important to help with sustaining a healthy and competitive player base. This is why we’ve placed improvements and additional functionality for this mechanic at the very top of our priority list.
We will also continue to consult with our wider community on our way forward when the game is out on Early Access to gather further direct feedback. You can join in the discussion on melee combat here:
2. Can you tell us more about the available firearms and shooting mechanics?
As the game is set during the Napoleonic Wars, the firearms of the time were very different. The reliance on muzzle-loaded smoothbore muskets (and less often rifles) means a longer reload time. The accuracy of these weapons is also limited to a much smaller range. You will often have to rely on your sword or bayonet during combat.
Other than that, they operate similarly to a traditional shooter, right click to aim and left click to fire. Besides muskets and rifles, you will also find other firearms present in the game such as pistols and blunderbusses.
Each and every firearm has different characteristics. We have developed a system that correctly maps projectile trajectories while taking multiple mechanics into account like velocity, accuracy and arching bullet drop. This will come in especially handy for those crews and regiments looking at training their men with the use of firearms! This functionality can be toggled on and off by server administrators.
Here’s a first-hand look at some firearms you’ll be seeing get into the game during Early Access! They’ll be there to complement both existing and new classes.
French Firearms (Work In Progress)
British Firearms (Work In Progress)
3. Will you be releasing the server files to the public?
Yes! You will be able to host your own servers on day one within Early Access. We know how important it is to allow the community to host their own servers so events can start taking place.
We will also be providing you with documentation which goes into detail on how to setup and administer your own server.
4. Do you have any plans for player built defences?
Player built defences will be constructed by the Sapper (Engineer) class which we will be working on during Early Access. You’ll see this present in our development roadmap for the game. We want the Sapper class to do more than just build defences however!
Our current thinking in terms of the engineer is as follows:
Reinforce Doors - Engineers can reinforce doors to increase their resistance to damage.
Repair - The sapper will also be able to repair destroyed artillery pieces, player built defences and other objects on the map.
Explosive Barrel - Engineers can construct and carry explosive barrels underneath fortifications to create breaches. Explosives can also be used to destroy bridges.
Gabions - Engineers can construct wickerwork defences filled with earth to provide cover.
Shooting Platform - Engineers can construct platforms to allow players to shoot above cover such as walls.
Chevaux De Frise - Engineers can construct chevaux de frise which damage cavalry if they touch them.
Infantry Spikes - Engineers can construct spikes which damage infantry if touched.
Trenches - Engineers can dig trenches on fort-based maps to provide cover on the advance.
Tunnels - Engineers can dig tunnels on fort-based maps. They can be used to carry explosives under the fort’s walls and create breaches. They can also be used as a direct entrance to a fortification.
Firing Holes - Engineers can construct firing holes inside walls (in certain places) so that players can fire from them.
Chairs - Engineers can construct chairs because chairs are nice.
You’re very welcome to share with us your own ideas for the Sapper class. Holdfast: Nations At War is being developed based on community feedback.
5. What about Cavalry? I haven’t seen it in the announcement trailer. Can you tell us if you plan on including it or not in the game?
On Our Forum
Yes! Cavalry will be making an appearance within Holdfast: Nations At War during Early Access. We've already planned ahead for their inclusion in the game whilst working on other systems and mechanics.
We would have never promised this feature to our community unless we had already done our research and preparation. We’re very much looking forward to the day we see them in the game ourselves.
6. How many classes do you plan on including in the game?
The greater the selection of classes, the more versatile gameplay will be! There are more classes already present within the game which have yet to be revealed. The selection of playable classes currently totals to 17. Be sure to keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter during the coming days.
To start off, here’s a better view of the captain class. Captains have priority over the rest of the crewmen when it comes to sailing a naval vessel. They also come equipped with a pistol, sword, lantern and a spyglass.
7. Will we be seeing new classes get into the game during Early Access?
We have already talked about cavalry and sappers above, and you can see a render of a third class below which you may be able to recognise yourselves! Plans for additional classes to make it into the game other than what we’ve mentioned here are also being discussed.
On top of this, we are also going to be working on expanding the features of all the current classes.
British Uniform (Work In Progress)
French Uniform (Work In Progress)
8. Can you tell us more about game modes?
If you have seen our interview with Historia Games a few months backs, you will already be familiar with this question. Army based game-modes indicate that they are land-only (no ships!) while Naval and Coastal game-modes indicate that they are either purely naval or a combination of both sea and land.
Army Battlefield - Push back the enemy faction's troops until their reinforcements deplete. By depleting their reinforcements, players won't be able to spawn for that faction anymore. If you're still alive on the battlefield and your faction's reinforcements deplete, you will have to commit to your last stand! Players will also spawn in waves in this game mode.
Army Assault - This game mode is an unforgiving single-life battle to the end. The first team to annihilate the other wins the fight.
Army Death Match - Traditional respawning chaos in which a player struggles to kill more of the enemy until the timer ends.
Army Siege - One team holds a fortified position that the opposing side must take. Siege maps have multiple capture points. The defenders spawn in waves in the following game mode and have limited reinforcements.
Naval Battlefield - Two fleets of ships with limited respawns per-vessel fight to the last in a naval engagement.
Naval Assault - Be wary of your opponent’s guns. You only have one life. Sink the other faction’s ships or eliminate their crewmen to win the match.
Coastal Siege - Combined gameplay on land and sea! Two sides clash over a coastal fortification.
You’ll be seeing more land-based fortifications added to the game during Early Access. We have already mentioned some of our plans for the Army Siege game mode whilst talking about the Sapeur class in this blog post. Here’s a preview of something we’re working on right now:
Star Fort (Work In Progress)
9. How many maps are in the game right now? Will you be working on additional game levels during Early Access?
We have a total of 14 maps ready and playable in Holdfast: Nations At War. Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter as we regularly showcase more maps as we get ever closer to our Early Access launch date.
You can also head over to our website from the link below to check out the maps we have revealed so far.
The selection of maps available on land, sea and coast will continuously expand before, during and even after Early Access. There are a total of 7 maps which are currently undergoing development. Here’s a preview of three of the maps that you’ll be seeing get into the game during its Early Access phase.
Land Based Map 1 (Work In Progress)
Siege Map (Work In Progress)
Land Based Map 2 (Work In Progress)
We are also taking what you are saying into account when it comes to the design of our maps. The most obvious example of this is the creation of a place for you and our entire community as a whole to share with us your map ideas! You’re most welcome to join in the discussion by heading here:
10. Will you be working on a map editor?
Yes, we would certainly love to provide our community with tools to design and create maps. Even though right now our priorities are towards the core mechanics of the game, we have already put a lot of thought into the technicalities behind a map editor! Steam workshop integration would also greatly complement this feature.
The map editor will be listed in our development roadmap for the game.
11. What is the development roadmap?
On Our Forum
The development roadmap details a list of new features for all of the theatres of combat within the game as well as improvements to existing systems. We will be releasing the development roadmap at the same time as we release Holdfast: Nations At War on the 21st of September.
Within the roadmap you’ll be seeing our plans for the inclusion of cavalry, the sapper (engineer) class, player built defences, improvements upon the directional melee combat system, our ongoing dedication towards supporting high player counts, the ability to host single elimination tournaments, new maps, naval vessels, artillery pieces, additions to artillery mechanics, factions and firearms, sounds, additional voice acted orders and more!
We’ll also be showing work in progress snippets in our roadmap to continuously assure you on our dedication towards the project as we've been doing throughout this Q&A blog. Here’s a preview of something which I am personally really looking forward to seeing added to the game during Early Access! You will also be able to fire these bad boys from boats.
Rocket Artillery (Work In Progress)
Work on redesigning the spawn menu is also ongoing. The user interface is yet another aspect of the game that we’ll be focusing on during Early Access. You’ll be seeing it listed in our development roadmap. Here’s a look at our progress in this area! We’re also thinking ahead on how to allow players to select different uniforms for the same class from this interface.
Spawn Menu UI - Equip Weapon (Work In Progress)
In order to respond to the wishes of the community, we are open to changes in both content and priority within our roadmap as development continues. For instance, as we have mentioned before a significant step will be the decision over which faction to add to the game next.
12. Will you continue developing the game after Early Access?
Yes, we chose the Napoleonic era for our first title because it provides us with an almost endless possibility for content to expand upon. We have also taken the fight in Holdfast: Nations At War from land to include the sea as well as the coast to further broaden the scope of the game.
Our team is also very keen on the period which helps on the long days and difficult development problems! We know that the community that enjoys the type of gameplay we offer are also very passionate. Involving our community throughout the game’s development will be important for its success.
13. Why did you decide to go into Early Access?
Early Access plays a key role in allowing us to remain independent. We are currently self-funding Holdfast: Nations At War to avoid any sort of outside influence to the development of the game and remain community oriented. We also want to create the game without the need for accepting donations or loans largely as part of our overall motivation and dedication to this project and our community.
Our team takes great pride in being able to self-finance and create our game from scratch. We firmly believe that a work of passion properly pursued will always result in a game of higher quality.
Shaping the game together with our players is going to play a major role in ensuring its success. We have been gathering and working directly based on feedback since the very early stages of the game’s development and we will continue to do so throughout development. Early Access will enable all of our followers with a direct opportunity to provide us with feedback while we continue to improve existing features as well as well as include new content within the game.
14. How much will the game cost?
On Our Forum
Holdfast: Nations At War will be priced at 19.99 EUR when it is released on Early Access this September. We are also taking measures to reduce the price from the original 19.99 EUR mark depending on the country you currently reside in - This is to make sure that the game is affordable for everyone.
Here are a few examples of the pricing of the game in different currencies:
Turkish Lira - TL31.00, GP Pounds - £14.99, Canadian Dollar - CDN $21.99 Etc.
15. Will you be working on Player Count optimisations during Early Access? How many players can you support per server right now?
On Our Forum
Yes, indeed! Supporting high player counts along with other optimisations and improvements to core mechanics (such as the melee combat) will be at the forefront of Holdfast: Nations At War. The larger the player-count is, the more enjoyable the experience will be.
Andreas (Our sole programmer!) has been working tirelessly towards this goal. You don’t see high player counts being supported in games very often because it’s an extremely difficult and time-consuming feat to achieve. CPU, GPU, RAM, bandwidth and a whole range of other optimisations are required to support even the most basic number of players per server.
Since we announced the game back in July, Andreas has managed to ramp up the player count to over 120 players on land per server! Needless to say, we won’t be stopping right here. We will be continuously working on this both before and during Early Access. We want to see epic Napoleonic battles rage on just as much as you do.
To this effect, the stress tests we’ve been hosting throughout this month have provided us with a lot of technical information for the way forward on player count optimisations. We already know what needs to be done in this area to increase the number of players per server.
We will keep you informed as this number grows during and after Early Access. More testers are being invited on a case by case basis to drive up the numbers in our events.
16. Will you be including additional factions into the game?
We will be including new factions in Holdfast: Nations At War - The community will be involved in our decision as to which faction is brought first into the game during Early Access.
17. Will you be translating the game into other languages?
We'll be translating the game to multiple languages after the game is released on Early Access. We hope to involve the community in deciding the priority for localisation.
18. What are the system requirements?
We’re doing our best to support dated computer hardware (within reason!). Another method for allowing a wider range of systems to run the game is to give you a wide variety of settings and presets with which you can reduce graphical quality in favour of performance. You can have a look at this yourself in the screenshots down below.
We will be utilizing the last few weeks before our Early Access release to investigate the minimum hardware requirements to run the game. This information will be made visible to everyone under the system requirements on our Steam store page along with our recommended system requirements for best gameplay.
19. How will the community be involved in the development of the game?
On Our Forum
A simple and effective format will be the invitation to our player-base to voice their opinion about gameplay features, priorities and preferences through polls. We will also frequent discord and our forums for more direct communication.
Our competitive community is currently being involved in tests for the game to provide us with direct feedback of which we then work on. We will continue doing this during Early Access as well.
You have our word that Holdfast: Nations At War is and will always be community driven!
20. Will there be a single-life game mode available during the Early Access launch?
Yes, join a server hosting the Army Assault game mode and you’re good to go.
21. How many ships do you have in the game?
On Our Forum
We have four sea vessels in the game so far excluding the rowboat. The 2-Gun Schooner and the 12-Gun Brig-Sloop have been revealed already and we plan to extend this roster during Early Access. Look forward to what we’ll be showing in our development roadmap!
We’ll also be taking this opportunity to reveal yet another naval vessel ready and playable for the first day we release on Early Access. You can have a look at the 8-Gun Schooner based on the HMS Berbice down below.
22. Do you consider the naval combat as a core part of the game? Do you have any plans for bigger ships?
On Our Forum
Yes, it is a core part of the game! The fight at sea played a huge role during the Napoleonic era. Naval combat goes beyond riding floating platforms blasting each other, players will have to cooperate to operate these vessels while taking things like wind direction and ship destruction into account.
We do plan on adding larger ships to complement our current selection and the frigate class of ship seems to be a good place to start from. Work on this front has also been ongoing!
We’ve been thinking about leaving this as a small surprise for our development roadmap but we couldn’t wait to show it off. Armed with enough guns on her broadsides to bring a quick end to other naval vessels, here’s a first-hand look at the French frigate ‘La Proserpine’.
Frigate 'La Proserpine' (Work In Progress)
23. How do you plan on supporting the competitive scene of the game?
On Our Forum
By the implementation of direct features and the hosting of official competitive events. The latter will start a few weeks after we release on Early Access. This will provide a precedent for regiments and crews to compete against each other. We’re also in contact with some casters and YouTubers who have already offered to give us a helping hand along the way.
Here’s a shot from the “Sunday Napoleonic Battle” event we’ve been hosting during our closed testing for the game. We’re looking forward to continuing doing this!
24. Will there be weather in the game?
On Our Forum
Yes, we have recently revealed the dynamic weather system on our social media. You can see the weather transition from clear skies, to rain, storm, snow and fog in the game. All of this is also configurable by server administrators through a selection of presets during the match.
Here are a few shots of the weather system on both land and sea.
Early Access will be used for its intended purpose! To allow the community to get involved with the game as it develops.
If you made it through all of that you deserve a medal. This brings us to the end of this Q&A but you can look forward to further releases as we make our way towards our Early Access release on the 21st of September. You’re more than welcome to get in touch with us on our forums or discord.
Feel free to join in the discussion on our forums here and as always, may good health be yours.
Once again thank you for all of your support from all of us on the Holdfast: NaW team,
- Peter, Andrew, Julian, Andreas, Cameron & Tassilo
Anvil Game Studios