Monday, 9 December 2013
Panther Games is an Australian company that has been developing innovative military simulations for the commercial wargames market since 1985 and providing quality professional services to the Australian Defence Department since 1991.
Initially it developed three board games - Trial of Strength, Shanghai Trader and Warlords - but its focus has been on developing software since the late 1980s. Its first computer wargame Fire Brigade won many awards including the Charles S Roberts award for Best 20th Century Computer Game in 1988 and the Apple Developer Award for Best Entertainment Package in 1989.
In 1996 it commenced development of a new wargame engine that was to sporn the Airborne Assault (AA) series. The first title in the series, Red Devils Over Arnhem (RDOA) was released in June 2002. Set in Holland 1944, it covered the desperate attempt by the British airborne to secure the gateway to Germany and end the second world war by Xmas. With it's pausable continuous time game play, intuitive user interface and the strongest wargame artificial intelligence (AI) ever released, RDOA kicked off a revolution in operational warfare simulation.
In November 2003 the second title in the AA series, Highway to the Reich® (HTTR), was published. This title covered battles from the entire "Operation Market Garden". The AA engine was extensively enhanced. HTTR was well received by customers and won many awards, including the Wargamer's Best Wargame (Bronze), Game of the Year (Silver) and Best Developer (Gold) awards.
In June 2006, the third AA title was released, Conquest of the Aegean (COTA). This covered the dramatic fight for Greece and Crete in 1941, as well as hypothetical battles for Malta. COTA included a swag of enhanced user interface and AI features, including a realistic resupply model, mixed mode movement and order of battle display, thus delivering on the company's policy of continual engine development. COTA swept the awards within the industry in 2006/7, including the Wargamer's Best Wargame (Gold), Game of the Year (Silver) and Best Developer (Silver) awards, CyberStratege's' Laurier D'Or (Game of the Year) and War-Historical's Game of the Year (Gold).
In June 2010, the fourth title using the significantly improved game engine Command Ops series was released, Battles from the Bulge (BFTB). This exciting title covers the climactic battles in the Belgium Ardennes region from Dec 1944 to Jan 1945, often referred to as Hitler's last gamble.
The Command Ops engine continues to be improved with enhancements to the user interface that provide more command options to the user and significant improvements to its award winning AI. In 2012 the company released the HTTR data pack for BFTB incorporating many of the scenarios from the original HTTR title, now enabling these to be played with all the features and enhancements in the Command Ops engine. In 2013 the Greek data pack was released covering the Greek scenarios from COTA.
In late 2014 Panther Games changed publishers to Lock 'n Load Publishing and in early 2015 released Command Ops 2. With the new publisher came a new business model that sees the Core Engine being released for free while charging for data modules. Five modules have been released and bundle pack known as the Commander Pack 1.
In the works and scheduled for release in 2015 are the Westwall module and the Knock on All Doors module.
Parallel to its software development for the commercial wargames market, Panther Games also provides professional services to the military primarily in the simulation space. See Military Services for more details.