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ASL Veteran

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ASL Veteran last won the day on September 3 2018

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    CM Scenario Designer

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  1. If you wanted to I suppose you could alter the briefings and upload the modified scenarios to The Scenario Depot. It's pretty easy to modify the briefings - just go into the scenario editor, locate and load the scenario you want to modify, go to the missions tab, select the side's 'mission' that you want to modify, select the 'Text' file and click the export button and the briefing text file will be taken from out of the game so you can alter it. You could even write something completely new if you wanted to and then just clear out the old one and load your new one.
  2. There were a lot of scenarios that got adjusted between CMSF1 and CMSF2 and every briefing probably wasn't gone over as completely as possible. In most cases I would guess that any briefing discrepancies between what is in a scenario and what is in the briefing comes down to the briefing being unmodified or not completely updated between CMSF1 and 2. I will personally confess to Baker 1-1. I think I detailed a lot of the changes in the designer's notes if I recall correctly, but I don't remember how much I altered the actual side briefings from the original since my objective was to modify the original. The issue with the briefings is that most of the scenario material that we were working with were from designers who no longer produce stuff for Battlefront and in many cases there were either incomplete briefings to begin with or in some cases no briefing at all. Going in and picking up what the original designer's intent was without any context can be difficult to do, more difficult in some cases than modifying some AI plans or Victory conditions. For example, for the briefing maps in many cases we wouldn't have a clue as to where the battle took place in 'Syria' so how can one create an operation map when you don't know where the battle took place? I didn't modify many of the CMSF original scenarios, although I tried to retain as much of the original as possible for the ones I did since ultimately it wasn't my original work. I didn't want to create something that was entirely new or that would erase the original designer's intent completely.
  3. I don't know how far along you are, but the only victory points each side earns are the victory points that you assign to each side. You should also assign each side an equal number of victory points in order to balance out the victory conditions. Sometimes that can be hard to do, but MikeyD's suggestion of the bonus points can work in those instances, but typically that is only going to work in a very unbalanced scenario where the side gaining them will probably have a difficult time achieving anything else. So if the only unit objectives that you have assigned are for 'German' forces destruction then only the Americans will be able to earn any points. You can offset that by giving the Germans a terrain victory location that they need to hold or you can give the German's unit destruction VPs for destroying American forces. There are also Parameter VPs as well as different variety of Terrain VPs to choose from. I have to admit that I've never tried to assign unit destruction points to non units, but I suppose it would be possible to assign VPs to something like a trench for example. The problem is that a trench is indestructible so I'm thinking those points would never be earned. Wire and mines I guess are theoretically possible to destroy I guess, but I'm thinking it would be more logical to leave those VPs out and just give the Germans a terrain objective to 'Hold'. So unit objectives for the Americans totaling 200 points and hold terrain objective for the Germans for 200 points. That gives each side 200 points possible so each side's available points are equal.
  4. Map fire, from what I can tell, was typically used mostly during periods of positional warfare and for the purpose of harassing rear areas when rations or supplies were being delivered or brought up. Perhaps a few missions might be fired at enemy HQ units located with radio intercepts and the like. The maps they would be using would be artillery maps that are created by units in the area and would probably include some ranging fire to confirm coordinates. I'm not sure there are many examples of a unit just showing up in a location and an hour or two later calling for a map fire mission on a crossroads that nobody had ever seen using a map where the coordinates and locations weren't confirmed by aerial recon or some other means. Even in a situation where you have the correct coordinates such things as barrel wear for individual artillery pieces will cause the rounds to land in unpredictable locations and with nobody spotting where the rounds fall the firing unit would never know. There are accounts where British artillery were firing missions thousands of yards short because barrel wear was unaccounted for. If that happens during a map fire you could have the correct coordinates dialed in but your FFE will still be way off target.
  5. Well, that and 'map fire' was notoriously inaccurate during WW2. For one thing, especially on the Eastern Front, the maps that a unit might be using could date from surveys done in the previous century (assuming a unit could obtain a map at all). I have even read accounts where units were using tourist maps with no grid instead of actual survey maps in order to figure out where they were. German units frequently complained that their maps had almost no bearing to what they were actually seeing with their own eyes either because the surveying wasn't done as well as it could have been done or because the area in question had changed over the course of the fifty or one hundred years that the map was originally made. You combine bad maps for the calling unit with bad maps for the artillery unit and your map fire mission could be falling almost anywhere.
  6. A new version of Counter Attack at Son was included in one of the patches with a bridge that's passable for tanks (ugh - not my finest hour). I don't remember which one unfortunately. I just looked at the scenario in the editor and I didn't see any of those Xs in it. Like the others I've never seen anything that looks like that in the editor before. However, I am probably not fully patched since I haven't been in CMBN in quite a while.
  7. It actually looks as though the paratroop strap is mounted to the helmet liner while the normal strap is attached to the steel helmet instead of the liner. I used to have to wear those when I first enlisted and IIRC the normal helmet liner has no strap. Those things were extremely heavy and uncomfortable and I was very happy when we switched over to the Kevlar helmet.
  8. This isn't a bug. It has always been this way. When you are playing a scenario against the AI in any mode, AI controlled passengers will not show up as separate icons even in scenario author test mode. You can't select a passenger when it is controlled by the AI, you can only select the vehicle they are riding in. Now if you are playing as that side and the passengers aren't selectable well then you have a problem, but since AI passengers only dismount when the AI orders tell them to dismount then there is no need for the passengers to be selectable. Obviously in other modes showing the passengers would be a major fog of war issue. That isn't an issue in Scenario Author Test mode obviously, but I'm going to guess that it would have taken special 'override' coding of some sort in order to make the passengers show up in that mode and since you can't manually dismount them when they are AI controlled then really, what's the point?
  9. Victory conditions can be tied to a scenario in such a way that the forces don't need to be balanced in order for the overmatched side to achieve victory. I am not familiar with the scenario in question, but if, for example, the German side achieved Total Victory through holding one building then if the Germans manage to have a single team left alive in the building and the Americans haven't gained entry then the Germans win regardless as to what type of punishment the German forces took through the course of the game.
  10. I don't know if I would go so far as to say 'much of the scenario designs in much of the CMx2 series.' These issues crop up but I don't know that they are prevalent or necessarily common. I also think that in some cases what you are attributing to 'scripting' may be something else entirely. One of the first things that a scenario designer has to do is figure out the dimensions of their map as well as what to include and what to exclude. Therefore the designer must, by necessity, have some idea as to how the scenario is likely to develop, how much room the player needs, and what pieces of terrain or map locations are likely to be relevant or important. Without that knowledge in advance the scenario designer doesn't know what his map dimensions will be or even where the map needs to be centered. This decision is a very important one because in many cases the actual lay of the terrain does not necessarily become apparent until the scenario designer has recreated their map in 3D in the game. I can't tell you how many times I've taken aerial photos, paper maps, or Google Earth locations, put them into the game in 3D and only then realized why the historical course of the battle likely took the path that it did. Making a map is also not a trivial thing. This is especially true for larger maps. A designer may have spent a week or more on a map only to find that perhaps they didn't center it as well as maybe they could have or perhaps they might have misjudged the distance between terrain features and either made the map too small or excluded an important feature. The game itself makes it difficult to add map to an existing map because it only extends a certain distance in each direction and if you only extended the map one direction and that's the direction you need the extra space you might be stuck without the ability to extend the map any further that direction. You also need to account for the size of your overlay because the map dimensions in game should map the Google Earth dimensions for your overlay. Once your map is extended you then need to create a new overlay and of course your overlay dimensions must match your new map dimensions perfectly or it won't work. In other words, your map dimension and what to include are one of the first things that a designer needs to figure out and if he makes a mistake he may be faced with the choice of either redoing the entire thing or working with what they've got. Having said all that, I think there are some designers who use time and space in a deliberate effort to make a scenario more difficult than it necessarily could be. Perhaps some even do attempt to push the player into a script, most likely because it makes designing an AI plan easier if you know exactly what the player is going to do. So I think that the time and scripting issue is probably more prevalent in the campaigns than they are in the free standing scenarios and perhaps more prevalent in the earlier versions of the game. I would guess that a designer may also be influenced by the types of games they like to play. If a designer enjoys playing games like, say first person shooters with well scripted 'levels' and uses that as their inspiration for scenario design then that's what you are going to get more often than not from that designer.
  11. There actually is another time factor that some may consider. For players who prefer to play head to head games most players seem to prefer playing scenarios with shorter time lengths to scenarios with longer time lengths. I assume that's because of how long it takes to complete a game head to head and so the longer the scenario length is the fewer people will tend to play it head to head. Other players who play against the AI may also prefer shorter length scenarios because they simply don't have the time available to play something for two hours or more. So the designer may think that four hours is the perfect amount of time for the scenario that they are designing, but when players see that four hour time limit they immediately think 'nope, too long' and skip it because the length of time given is a factor in whether or not players choose to play something. Number of units is another factor of course, and many of the longer scenarios are also some of the larger ones in terms of forces involved, but that isn't always the case. In most cases the map size should probably dictate the game length and if a WW2 infantry soldier can't walk to every objective area with a few minutes for fighting tossed in then the scenario length is too short. Modern scenarios can have shorter time lengths than the WW2 ones since everyone is typically vehicle mounted and vehicles shrink map sizes for access purposes. Now some players who choose the shorter time length scenario may wish that they had more time when they are in the middle of playing said scenario, but at the same time those same players may have been using that shorter time as a basis for choosing that scenario in the first place. That's why I have only exceeded two hours one time for any scenario I've ever created. Longer times will scare players off from even looking at something in many cases simply because of the perceived investment of time the player thinks he has to make in order to play the scenario even though a longer length scenario doesn't necessarily need to 'go the distance' in order for a winner to be decided.
  12. You can't get to America from Europe without a boat in 1941 so declaring war upon the US when you don't have a navy and you live in Europe is bound to fail. That's especially true if you can't even muster the naval capacity to take out that pesky island nation just across the English Channel. Granted, American lend lease help was probably rather annoying and whose to say whether the US wouldn't have ended up fighting Germany anyway, but if there was a way to avoid adding millions of American soldiers to enemy's side of the scales it would probably be prudent. I'm going to make the assumption that Hitler thought the Japanese would attack the Soviets from the east, but they never declared war on the Soviet Union so there you go.
  13. I typically leave scenarios that I'm working on in the Game Files folder rather than the scenario folder. The editor will pick up scenarios in the Game Files folder and if you only leave the one you are working on there then you don't need to sort through all the others by diving down into the Scenario Files folder. Once the scenario is complete just move it to the Scenario folder. If you want to work on a scenario again move it back out of the scenario folder to the Game Files folder again. That doesn't technically solve the sorting problem but it should be a work around that you can use if you want to.
  14. Perhaps the number of scenarios skews away from the depiction of the war as a whole, but certainly no specific individual scenario can be described as an inaccurate description of any particular tactical situation that is created based upon the available documentation. Much of the source material available tends to discuss Tigers, Panthers, SS, etcetera in more detail than the other stuff. Perhaps that wasn't always the case, but many books that were written in the fifties and sixties aren't necessarily available anymore. I think every US division had a divisional history that was published shortly after the war, but most of those books aren't available and those that are typically aren't detailed enough to be useable as a primary source for scenario creation. If you look over what's available on Amazon in terms of unit histories, the ones that are available in English anyway, are going to be Panzer Divisions, SS Divisions, and some American divisions. Even divisional histories of Commonwealth units are relatively difficult to come by, at least on Amazon in America. Battle histories in general will be done about fighting that was 'important' or 'interesting' from either an operational or strategic perspective and, yes, many if not most of those actions involved German Panzer Divisions or SS Divisions since those were the types of units that were generally present where the action was the hottest or the most important. There are a few very good divisional histories of standard divisions where some 'common' battle types can be pulled from, but those types of books are probably on the more uncommon side of things. So a scenario designer who is making something 'historical' is restricted in the reference material that is available. The designer also wants to create something that's interesting. What makes a scenario interesting probably falls into two categories. A scenario can be interesting if it uses interesting units or equipment or a scenario can be interesting by depicting a certain tactical situation. Who wants to play ten scenarios that all depict the same tactical situation with the same standard units? Maybe for players who prefer quick battles I suppose there might be some interest in that, although the player is choosing his own force under those circumstances so the force is personalized to the player who is selecting it. A scenario needs to strive for more in order to grab the average player's attention and make for an interesting gaming experience.
  15. The problem with any discussion of OBs or TO&E's for any scenario, especially for the WW2 era, is that there is seldom any clarity as to what exactly was present at any particular location at any particular time. On the Eastern Front in particular, even identifying the correct participants down to the battalion level is typically an impossible task because the documentation simply doesn't exist. Even in France or Italy where Western Allied and German records are typically much better there are still a lot of unknowns. The Germans had a lot of ad hoc units where it can be virtually impossible to know what equipment was present or not present and even standardized TO&Es are not so standard once you have first hand accounts or unit specific equipment descriptions available. I seem to recall that the Hermann Goering Division had one support unit in Italy that was supposed to be an engineer battalion, but only one company was actual engineers. The other two companies were self propelled artillery and a recon company or something - I don't remember the specifics off hand. Suffice to say that if you were using a standard TO&E for that unit for a scenario you would be inaccurate in your depiction of the forces involved. Aside from unit strengths in quiet sectors just before a major attack, virtually no unit on the Eastern Front was ever at full strength with most German and Soviet units being somewhere around 50 percent strength on the high end. Strength returns for most German battalions were typically much lower than 50 percent, but if a designer chops 50 percent strength off their battalion they are more likely than not to be in the ball park of what might have been present if the exact figure is not known. I seem to recall Jason complaining about King Tigers, Panthers, and other German tanks being too common in scenarios and I think it can serve as a good example of the problem with that kind of argument. If I have a book about the 505th Tiger battalion and from that book I manage to find enough material to create four scenarios all with Tigers in them, well then those scenarios are historically accurate. At least as accurate as I can make them given the reference material that I have available to me. Saying that out of twenty scenarios there are four scenarios with Tigers in them and that's inaccurate is a faulty argument on its face. If I recreated four scenarios with Tigers in them and I used reference material from four actual battles that took place that had Tigers in them, the fact that there are four scenarios with Tigers in them doesn't make those scenarios inaccurate. That's just a ridiculous position to take. There are so many battles in WW2 that took place and accurate information down to the battalion level that includes specific equipment strength figures is so hard to come by, it is without a doubt more difficult to prove that something is inaccurate since any battle that any designer chooses to create could theoretically have taken place on the battlefield at some point in time during WW2. With regards to the Red Thunder campaign I think a fair question to ask would be whether anyone can prove that the situation depicted in the first scenario never took place. There are literally thousands of miles of frontlines to peruse and for someone to sit there and say with any level of confidence that the situation in the scenario is absolutely a false depiction of events is going way out on a limb no matter what 'facts' they are basing their objections upon.
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