• Pinstripe

Once again throughout the months of October and November our community was graced with more competitive hogs of war. Season 2 of HoWL kicked off with some surprises, as some of our veteran players receiving early wake up calls from the fresh blood making their first appearances in the Pro League. Despite the shaky start, both Group A and B started to take the shape many had expected from the get go.

By the end of the Final week we saw a comfortable 1st place finish for adb95 and Castor within their respective groups, with some close fought matches for the remaining qualification spots. In the end we had adb95, Herpderp, Mascettino and Axby94 making it through to the Playoffs in Group A, while Castor, Irn Fox, Angurio and Darrot joined them from Group B. It was only adb95 who went into the Playoffs upbeaten, having ended the seven weeks with 5 wins and a single draw (who could forget that crazy finish vs Axby94 on Bridge the Gap!). Perhaps the pressure of maintaining that record got the better of him, as the start of the first round matches saw him crash out against the dark horse Darrot.

Carried by his early success, Darrot pushed on into the Semi Finals. Unfortunately for him - his next opponent was to show no mercy. After dispatching Irn Fox 2-0 in his first round, Mascettino proceeded to make mince meat of Darrot, as he waltzed into the Grand Final with a 3-0 clean sweep. On the other side of the coin, the other first round matches saw Castor managing to scrape past Axby94 with a tense 2-0 victory, while Angurio's matchup with Herpderp came right down to the wire, eventually ending in a 2-1 victory to the Italian. The 2nd Semi Final then saw Castor show us why he is the best of the best, as he kept his cool and took care of Angurio in a 3-1 win to make it to the Final.

Now, if you haven't watched the Grand Final yet - please, go and watch it! It was honestly one of the most insane matches of Hogs of War I've ever witnessed, as a fan, a player and a commentator. Castor vs Mascettino will forever go down as one of the craziest League Final matchups in Hogs history, and it was simply a joy to watch. From poison counters, to blimp disruption, to jetpack crashes - it has everything. If you don't want any more spoilers then stop reading... now. Are you still reading? Ok, well if you are then you'll know that Castor eventually took the win and maintained his crown for the 2nd year running after a ridiculous 150HP damaging shrapnel shot on Skulduggery to win the Final 3-1. I'm still getting over that shot by the way...

This year has been another tough one for all of us, but we've pulled through with another successful League campaign and shown once again why this game is so great. I would like to give a personal shout out to Angurio for his strength in fighting on during tough times, J.Warren, Pekkiz and Darrot for showing us what the Grunt League has to offer, to the League Admin team made up of adb95, Fab, Axby94, Castor, Herpderp and Crumble for yet another successful year and of course - you, the community, for watching and supporting us this year. Here's to Season 3, here's to Season 2 of the Grunt League, and here's to you. Merry Christmas everyone! (Don't forget to check out the Playoff Streams below!)

  • Pinstripe

You know, one thing I've always wanted in Hogs of War is the ability to jump into a plane and fight up their in the clouds. Way back in 1998/99 the Hogs development team did actually begin playing around with this idea, as the initial design document wanted the player to be able use the likes of Biplanes, Troop Transports and a variety of Battleships to assist them in their own endeavors on the battlefield.

[The Original Hogs Biplane Design]

Sadly though, that idea went out the window quite earlier, as it became clear that the physics engine Hogs was running on just wasn't up to the job. Instead we were left with solely ground based vehicles, two of which are entirely stationary. Tanks, Pillboxes, Artilleries, Trucks, Ducks and Aqua Tanks are all that remains of that once ambitions idea. Call me bitter, but perhaps I'd complain less if Tanks were actually used more than once throughout the singleplayer campaign.. and don't even get me started on Aqua Tanks!

No, when it comes to vehicles - Hogs kind of misses the mark a bit. When you look at the game from an outside perspective, when you see the artwork, cutscenes and trailers- there is a slight anticipation for that combination of land, sea and air vehicles. Yet things get pretty stale when you see that airship animation for the 100th time! And all this got me thinking - what if we took the Hogs of War universe and moved it into the sky? What if I could combine Hogs with the Ace Combat/Heroes of the Pacific dogfighting style game? Creating mods of the original game is one thing, but creating a brand new game from scratch is a completely different ballpark.

Hogs of War: Rise of the Coalition is my attempt at exactly that. I'd previously tinkered around with the Unreal Engine, but over time found that my current PC hardware wasn't entirely up for the task. So I quickly turned my attention to Unity, scouring the internet for a 'Dogfighting game tutorial' in order to get started. And I did eventually find something, but then after a month of struggling to understand the idea of AI waypoints and C++ scripts (that and breaking my scene several times which caused me to have to restart) I became bored with where the project currently sat. As you've probably guessed by now - I'm not a programmer, so if I wanted something complicated done in engine I simply couldn't do it myself.

So instead of muttering insults to myself, I decided to go back to the drawing board and began drafting up what the entire game would actually be. The background, the lore, the missions, the story, the characters - everything that would and could be shown and told to the player. Just as I'd done with my Hogs Mods, the main ambition with this game would be to create a story that players can still relate to in regards to the setting, the teams and characters, but from an entirely new and fresh perspective. Though I don't want to give everything away, the story is essentially a prequel to the event of Pin's Mod v4.0, but it would be a story that all players could still follow even if they had never played the mod. So in essence it would be a prequel to the event of the original Hogs game, but instead of turn based action on the ground - we'd be shifting to real time action in the sky. We'd also be shifting teams as well, as this game is intended to be played from the perspective of Team Lard (in this case Lardinia) as their islands of Saustralasia are invaded by the Evil Coalition forces, who subsequently are made up of all the other nations.

[Team Logo Designs]

[Player's Biplane]

The game will draw upon the standard elements you'd expect to see in a dogfighting game. Air vs Air, Air vs Sea and Air vs Ground battles will feature throughout, with (hopefully) the player being able to choose and somewhat customise their biplane before takeoff. Hogs of War is set during the First World War, but its aesthetic and details also drew from World War 2 elements, which is basically what I'm doing here.

A few weeks ago my PC's graphics card eventually broke down and died, and so while I waited for the new one to be delivered I decided to utilise my time and gain an insight into how dogfighting games tend to structure their missions. In doing so I was able to plan out my own Demo accordingly, which will essentially showcase the first mission of the game. Despite the huge mountain this project is turning into, I continue to set my sights low in finishing this Demo. Sure I can come up with a good mission idea or something to add to the story here or there, but ultimately I don't want to get bogged down so early on. The last thing I want to do is get burnt out before at least creating something I can be proud of.

As I mentioned in last months community squealer article, I have no idea how far I intend to take this project or how far it can actually go if I decide try and create a full game out of it. All of this is stemming from my passion for video games and a wanting to expand the Hogs of War Universe. In many ways this project is driven by me telling myself - 'yes, you do have the ability to create a video game by yourself!' Why? Because its good to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Hogs brought me into the world of video games and even now, 21 years later, it still continues to help develop my skills and drive my passions. Keep your eyes on the skies lads, for soon it'll be time for takeoff!

  • Pinstripe

Its that time of the year again. The 2nd season of the Hogs of War League will be commencing from the 4th October, and with it we have a whole host of new and old players who are ready to battle it out for the bacon! Last season the league had one giant system, consisting of 10 players in a single group. This time round however we've increased the number of participants to 14 and have split them into two groups of 7. Progression remains the same, with the top four players from each group going through to the Live Playoff Finals, which by rough calculations will take place sometimes in November.

Splitting the players into two separate tables has helped reduce the feeling of fatigue, as last season it was 9 straight weeks of hosting, organising, playing, recording and uploading the matches. With this new format we have reduced that time down to 6 weeks, with an added rest week for all players.

Alongside a new format - we have also made some changes to the map pool for this season. There were four maps in particular that seemed to be stuck in the same 'basic' category, in that they had very little to offer the player in the way of crates, environment hazards and spawn placement. Wasteland, Porkchop Temple, Headquarters and Hilltop all suffered from non-slippery tiles, meaning that all pigs could walk on any part of the map without falling off, and in competitive that can cause several issues when it comes to balancing. I mean first off - it can be pretty boring to watch, and second - the player who ends up going first will usually always have the advantage.

The hope with these map changes is to provide a more dynamic approach for competitive players, rather than starting a match and immediately being able to walk up to your target without having to think about the terrain around you. Maps are incredibly important to both players and viewers of the league, and I feel we take a good deal of pride and effort in choosing the map pools. At the end of the day we just want to provide the best experience for everyone, for everything to feel fair and ultimately - to have fun.

So feel free to join us over on the Hogs of War League channel for the upcoming Season 2 fixtures, of which you can check out over on the League's toornament page which lists everything you'll need to know. Castor is of course the raining champion from Season 1, so the big question this time around is whether he can maintain his unbeaten run going into Week 1!

Alternatively you can also check out the League section of this site to get involved in upcoming competitive events, and if you feel like playing like the Pros do - you can download the updated Hogs League ISO as well. Good luck to all participants, I'll be seeing you on the battlefield!


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