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      Special Upgrade 4 Tech Tips   12/27/2016

      Hi all! Now that Upgrade 4 is out and about in large quantities we have now discovered a few SNAFUs that happen out in the scary, real world that is home computing.  Fortunately the rate of problems is extremely small and so far most are easily worked around.  We've identified a few issues that have similar causes which we have clear instructions for work arounds here they are: 1.  CMRT Windows customers need to re-license their original key.  This is a result of improvements to the licensing system which CMBN, CMBS, and CMFB are already using.  To do this launch CMRT with the Upgrade and the first time enter your Engine 4 key.  Exit and then use the "Activate New Products" shortcut in your CMRT folder, then enter your Engine 3 license key.  That should do the trick. 2.  CMRT and CMBN MacOS customers have a similar situation as #2, however the "Activate New Products" is inside the Documents folder in their respective CM folders.  For CMBN you have to go through the process described above for each of your license keys.  There is no special order to follow. 3.  For CMBS and CMFB customers, you need to use the Activate New Products shortcut and enter your Upgrade 4 key.  If you launch the game and see a screen that says "LICENSE FAILURE: Base Game 4.0 is required." that is an indication you haven't yet gone through that procedure.  Provided you had a properly functioning copy before installing the Upgrade, that should be all you need to do.  If in the future you have to install from scratch on a new system you'll need to do the same procedure for both your original license key and your Upgrade 4.0 key. 4.  There's always a weird one and here it is.  A few Windows users are not getting "Activate New Products" shortcuts created during installation.  Apparently anti-virus software is preventing the installer from doing its job.  This might not be a problem right now, but it will prove to be an issue at some point in the future.  The solution is to create your own shortcut using the following steps: Disable your anti-virus software before you do anything. Go to your Desktop, right click on the Desktop itself, select NEW->SHORTCUT, use BROWSE to locate the CM EXE that you are trying to fix. The location is then written out. After it type in a single space and then paste this:

      -showui

      Click NEXT and give your new Shortcut a name (doesn't matter what). Confirm that and you're done. Double click on the new Shortcut and you should be prompted to license whatever it is you need to license. At this time we have not identified any issues that have not been worked around.  Let's hope it stays that way Steve
    • Battlefront.com

      Forum Reorganization   10/12/2017

      We've reorganized our Combat Mission Forums to reflect the fact that most of you are now running Engine 4 and that means you're all using the same basic code.  Because of that, there's no good reason to have the discussion about Combat Mission spread out over 5 separate sets of Forums.  There is now one General Discussion area with Tech Support and Scenario/Mod Tips sub forums.  The Family specific Tech Support Forums have been moved to a new CM2 Archives area and frozen in place. You might also notice we dropped the "x" from distinguishing between the first generation of CM games and the second.  The "x" was reluctantly adopted back in 2005 or so because at the time we had the original three CM games on European store shelves entitled CM1, CM2, and CM3 (CMBO, CMBB, and CMAK).  We didn't want to cause confusion so we added the "x".  Time has moved on and we have to, so the "x" is now gone from our public vocabulary as it has been from our private vocabulary for quite a while already.  Side note, Charles *NEVER* used the "x" so now we're all speaking the same language as him.  Which is important since he is the one programming them
JonS

The Sheriff of Oosterbeek – A Scenario Design DAR/AAR

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Hi folks,

Creating a scenario in the Combat Mission editor has been described as the-game-within-the-game. I know a number of people who’ve spent more time playing with the editor than they have playing the game. Creating a good scenario - and hopefully getting positive feedback on it from players – can be an incredibly rewarding process, and I think it’s a shame more people don’t give it a go and use the scenario editor they’ve bought and paid for.

Over the next couple of weeks I intend to create a scenario ‘in public’. I’ll be walking through the process I use to create a scenario that’s going to be included in the forthcoming CMBN module “Market Garden”. Along the way we’ll be looking at various aspects of the editor, some of them in a fair amount of detail. There’ll also be some riffing on how I going about designing a scenario, what I think is important, and my philosophy of scenario design. Where possible, I’ll answer any questions you might have about the editor, and you’re encouraged to add your own editor tips, tricks, and suggestions. It is my hope that this thread will answer a lot of questions about using the editor, and encourage more players to dip their toes in the pool and start making more scenarios!

At various points I’ll refer to ‘story telling.’ I think that most things we do in life revolve around telling stories. To me, creating a scenario involves telling a myriad of independent and inter-related stories, to set context and explain why things are the way they are. Some of the stories are told to players explicitly with written words, but not always. I’ll expand on this theme as we go along.

In my estimation, and regardless of the specific content of a scenario, I think that a good scenario should present the player with a number of meaningful problems that have to be resolved. Each problem should be solvable in a number of different ways, but should also require the player to actually think through the problem, come up with a plan to overcome it, and then execute that plan with a modicum of competence. To put that in concrete terms; setting a company of Tigers against a platoon of Stuarts on a large flat, open, map doesn’t really present either side with a problem to be solved – the German player simply doesn’t have one, and while the Allied player certainly does have a problem, there’s no plausible solution.

I’m writing this series of posts while I’m designing the scenario, so it’s likely that some early decisions will be changed later on. In my experience, designing a scenario seems to mostly consist of solving a seemingly endless series of design problems, from finding useful sources to wrangling the editor to do what you want. I try to keep in mind that I need to stay flexible. What seems like a good idea initially sometimes ends up being unworkable, or just not that much fun. Either way, I’ll change the design. Feedback comes in to the mix here too – what I like might not appeal to others, or my storytelling isn’t good enough, and my style of scenario design has altered as time has passed.

Scenario design is an intensely personal and creative activity, and these posts are not in any way intended to be prescriptive, pr a set of rules that must be adhered to. Instead it's an outline of how I go about this, and some guidelines that you might choose to follow. To misquote German doctrine; scenario design is an art, a free and creative activity, and so each designer needs to find their own way of skinning these cats.

What follows might also seem like it's a rigid linear sequence, but I really don’t work like that. Instead I flit about depending on what I’m thinking about and how I’m feeling. While working on a CMBN scenario, for example, I spent a couple of weeks working on nothing except the map. One night I got fed up with it all, and instead played around with the forces for a while before eventually going back to finish the map.

If you are new to scenario design you should definitely read George McEwan’s Scenario Design Manual. George clearly explains how to use the various parts of the editor to create a scenario. I don’t intend to go over ground that he’s already trodden so well. Instead I’ll be taking a more philosophical approach to scenario design, and hopefully explaining how I get the different mechanical elements of the scenario editor working together to tell a story.

 

Anyway, enough of that. I hope you enjoy the thread.

Jon

 

1-1CMEditor_zpsd519ef82.jpg

Quote
1.1: Starting a fresh scenario in the CMBN Scenario Editor. I love that new-scenario smell!

There have been a steady stream of updates and improvements to the editor as Combat Mission has matured, and I expect more in future games and upgrades. This series of posts uses the editor in CMBN: Market Garden v2.10, which means you might be getting a sneak peak at some of the new things in that module! Because of that, and depending on the game or module being used, some elements discussed here may not be present or may function in a different way in other games/modules.

 

Table of Contents

1 Outline Scenario Concept

2 Research

3 Refined Scenario Concept

4 The Map 1 – Preparing Overlays

5 The Map 2 – Elevations and Roads

6 The Map 3 – Buildings, Walls, and Trees

7 The Map 4 - Detailing

8 The Map 5 – Finishing Up

9 British Forces

10 German Forces

11 Objectives

12 Walls and Bridges

13 Scenario Settings

14 Designer's Notes

15 Briefings and Imagery

16 Programming the AI

17 Testing

18 Polishing

19 Scenario design is easy. It just takes time.

20 Forms and checklists

 

Edited by JonS

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JonS,

This sounds like it's going to be a most interesting read. I stuck my head in the Scenario Editor just long enough to realize I was way out of my depth. Since I've noticed your name on some of the CMBN scenarios, I look forward to seeing how you go through the design process, using a specialized interface all but utterly unknown to me.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Thanks for doing this Jon. I will be watching with great attentiveness.

OK to roll the questions? So, you seem to already have a scenario title. Does that mean you already have this fuzzy idea forming out of the fog? Or a locked down specific inspiration from a short section in a book on the battle or is this fictional within the non-fictional MG timeframe like GL Kiwi Soldiers is fictional but within a factual overall timeframe?

Do you get to drink any scotch yet at this point? Just taking notes....

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So, you seem to already have a scenario title. Does that mean you already have this fuzzy idea forming out of the fog? Or a locked down specific inspiration from a short section in a book on the battle or is this fictional within the non-fictional MG timeframe like GL Kiwi Soldiers is fictional but within a factual overall timeframe?

Yes ;)

Do you get to drink any scotch yet at this point? Just taking notes....

Actually, I've just finished a bottle of Caol Ila. I need to go get some more ... or maybe something more topical. Calvados wouldn't fit the bill, what is the Dutch national tipple drink? (After a certain memorable but unpleasant experience involving a train I can't stand Gin, so don't bother with that :mad: )

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Yes ;)

Actually, I've just finished a bottle of Caol Ila. I need to go get some more ... or maybe something more topical. Calvados wouldn't fit the bill, what is the Dutch national tipple drink? (After a certain memorable but unpleasant experience involving a train I can't stand Gin, so don't bother with that :mad: )

Their National Liquor (and How They Drink It)

London dry gin, the style of gin we all grew up with, is basically flavored vodka: neutral spirits bubbled through juniper berries and a few other botanicals, cut to proof, and bottled. Genever, the spirit of the Netherlands (plus parts of Belgium, Germany, and France), is, on the other hand, more of a flavored whiskey, albeit a light one: a blend of neutral spirits, juniper and botanical infusions, and what's known as "malt wine," which is a rich, funky distillate of malted barley, rye, and other grains.

Up until around 1890, the Dutch style was what we drank here, too. Nowadays it's pretty hard to find, although it's starting to show signs of life. The newish Bols Genever, if you can find it, is a bit pricey but definitely old-school. Even more so is the San Francisco-made Genevieve, an American homage to genever that's so intense as to be a little frightening.

Equally as important is how you drink genever. The best way is by performing a kop-stoot. Characteristically, this "head butt" (see illustration above for why it's called that) couldn't be simpler: a small tulip glass of chilled genever with a short beer back. A beer and a shot. Can't get more American than that. Or more Dutch.

How to Perform the Kopstoot

1. Put tulip glass on the table.

2. Pour a small glass (6 to 8 oz) of beer and put it near the tulip glass.

3. Pour chilled genever carefully into tulip glass until it's so full that the top bulges.

4. Bending from the waist, take the first, generous sip of the genever.

5. Straighten up and have a sip of the beer.

Skip it and go straight to the Cannabis.

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Gin is good stuff, give it another try.

Hey, this could forge an entire sideshow effort.

How about a new cocktail or drink contest?

Something called the "John Frost" or the "Pegasus" or whatever.

Or a drink with 3 different boozes called the ______.

Oh, wow!. I am terrible. See? Anything to get away from actually finishing a scenario.

Sheesh....

Alright, back to the lesson.

How do you usually decide how big the map should be?

I suffer from trying too large and then get winded and quit. I admit it.

Many in the graveyard of unfinished scenarios are my brainchildren...

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"This series of posts uses the editor in CMBN: Market Garden v2.10, which means you might be getting a sneak peak at some of the new things in that module!"

Please press forward JonS. Should be interesting.

Thanks,

*definitely read George McEwan’s Scenario Design Manual. George clearly explains how to use the various parts of the editor to create a scenario.*

I have read Sir George's Scenario Design Manual. He does an excellent explanation and designs. I guess practice makes perfect?

I am with sbruke "Skip it and go straight to the Cannabis.":D

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Which explains your Forum name:D

Buzz = Drone as well ;)

This series will be really fantastic. Enjoy the ride. Just so you guys know, Jon is also doing one of the campaigns for the Market Garden module.

I suspected such. Present & Ready for class.

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Great idea for a thread! I've never used the editor for anything but personal testing purposes, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it's really done.

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I think that a good scenario should present the player with a number of meaningful problems that have to be resolved. Each problem should be solvable in a number of different ways, but should also require the player to actually think through the problem, come up with a plan to overcome it, and then execute that plan with a modicum of competence.

Precisely. This is why I have been gaming for so long.

Never used the editor but hoping to learn.

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Yeah! This is exactly what I have been waiting for! :)

Have many ideas for scenarios but never had the patience to get accustomed to the editor.

Enlisted.

By the way, I recommend Heineken and Weed, too. :)

Cheers

Olf

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That is a great idea, JonS. I am definately going to follow this thread.

EDIT: I dont like the side effects of alcohol but i would never say no to a good joint, though smiley44.gif.

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Great stuff Jon, hopefully you can inspire a few more of us to create scenarios. I have long wanted to create them based on many great encounters i continually read about in ww2 books/unit histories but real life lack of spare time never allows.

I am really surprised at the lack of scenarios written for CMBN/FI and assumed it must be level of complexity, compared to the hundreds made for Cmx1 sims?

one other small complaint, can we keep the posts on topic rather than waffling about gin etc? These threads get big enough to wade through as it is.

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one other small complaint, can we keep the posts on topic rather than waffling about gin etc? These threads get big enough to wade through as it is.

Here here :)

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Hi folks,

Creating a scenario in the Combat Mission editor has been described as the-game-within-the-game.

An excellent idea. I am looking forward to reading about setting up and testing AI plans. I am currently struggling with that at the moment. Well actually I have put it aside for a while but will get back to it.

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