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Combatintman

Op LOAM - Helmand Afghanistan

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I know I have a few things on but this is something else I've got on the burner - three maps done with either one or two to go ... depends how the rest of my stuff stacks up. This will be a mini campaign (strictly linear) about supply ops in Afghanistan.

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Hmm ... annoyingly I have noticed that Google Earth imagery of Afghanistan has changed - lots of areas are now blurred to the point of making accurate map making impossible. This has narrowed my options for the maps I have yet to create a bit, but I reckon I can squeeze at least one more map out of this.

Fortunately I suppose is that one of the maps I have completed using good quality imagery was completed before the imagery changed because it now sits in one of the heavily blurred areas.

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It is bloody annoying if you want to do Helmand - practically all of the Sangin Valley green zone is blurred from Gereshk northwards, same from Sangin to Kajaki and same from Sangin to Musa Qala. Recreating events in Helmand is therefore somewhat difficult!!!

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Hmm, maybe NATO has got wind of the Taliban using Google maps for tactical planning and had a friendly intelligence service from a country that doesn't care what Google thinks hack them? Wouldn't surprise me.

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Ran a further test of Mission 1 with updated parameters and victory points and got it all to work as wanted which is progress.

So now for some eye candy:

This is the actual overhead view:

GereshkMap1GoogleEarthCoverage_zps27fae586.jpg

This is the CMSF overhead view:

OpLOAMM1CMSFOverhead_zpse33598e8.jpg

This is an oblique taken from the Blue edge of the map (West end of map looking East):

OpLOAMM1CMSFOblique_zpsfc99fb72.jpg

Unfortunately my computer does not do the CMSF screen grabs justice but I think you'll get the idea.

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Making good progress with this - Mission 1 is tested and good to go, maps for Missions 2, 3 and 4 are done and the map for Mission 5 is about 3 or 4 hours from completion. With any luck I'll have this done and released over the Xmas - New Year holiday timeframe.

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:cool: Impressive. Am looking forward to this and your other project.

Can I ask how you get these so right with no overlay tool? You must have spent hours getting the scale right.

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Blimey, thanks for the comments.

To answer your question, basically all I do is go into Google Earth and create a polygon with my desired map area. From there all I do is use the measuring tool along from the edges. Obviously some compromises are inevitable due to the map editor tools particularly when laying out roads. Generally with roads I try to get the entry and exit points correctly measured and try to make sure that any crossroads and junctions are in the right places. The rest of the road I just fill in to join up the mensurated points. Sometimes this is not possible due to the angles of certain roads - you can see this in the NE portion of the CIMIC House map - I straightened the angles out to make building placement a lot easier.

For some areas I change the orientation of the Google Earth view - again this is mostly for reasons of alignment of linear features. As an example, if most of your linear features run say at a NE-SW angle I will tilt the Google Earth view so that the linear features run either N-S or E-W in CMSF. Otherwise you are always battling against running linear features at angles and associated buildings and the like and it is a real pain in the backside. For this campaign and the CIMIC House mission I have not had to resort to this but some of my missions have benefitted from this approach. If I have done this at any point, I usually make reference to it in the Designer's notes.

It is time consuming for certain types of maps - I shudder to think how long the CIMIC House map took but others are quite easy. I have been able to do 500m x 500m maps in about 4 hours. I now have the luxury of two computers which helps the process a lot as I can have Google Earth permanently open on one while I have CMSF running on the other.

The mission 1 map above is one I did a long time ago so I can't recall how long that took but the mission 5 map that I'm working on at present that you'll get to see in due course will probably round out at about 12 hours work. Given BF's announcement about 30km maps for the Eastern Front module, I shudder to think how much work that will involve but I'm sure the overlay function helps it a lot.

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Some more eye candy - this is the Mission 2 map which is half way through testing. Map size is 3008m x 1008m. Starting off with the CMSF overhead - please note that some of the east end of the map is cropped from the image because it was too wide to capture ...

GSKMainCMSFOverhead_zps997d5357.jpg

This is the Google Earth real overhead showing the full map area ...

GSKMainActual_zps5efa24e5.jpg

This is an oblique screenshot from the Blue end of the map (west to east):

GSKCMSFWOblique_zpsef9a7238.jpg

This is an oblique screenshot from the Red end of the map (east to west):

GSKCMSFEOblique_zps653b151f.jpg

Enjoy ...

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Another bone ... this is the Operational Map for the Campaign.

LoamOpMap_zps8878a9d6.png

The five missions will take place as follows:

IED Compounds

Gereshk

Yakhchal

Mirmandaw

Dar-e-Mandah

Did some more work on the last map (Dar-e-Mandah) today - not far off being done now. Testing of mission 2 continues - having some problems with it but I think I've made the changes I need to make to get it to work. The shell of mission 3 is there as well but I will need to do some work on this to get it to play how I want it.

Anyway - enjoy.

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Mission 2 briefings and maps are all done now, the Mission 5 map is done and one test of Mission 4 has been successfully completed. All in all I am pretty pleased with progress and am hoping I can kick this out of the door in about a week or so. My big hurdle is Mission 3, I need to rework this and having hacked through this quite a few times I need to muster the motivation to revisit it - hopefully my wife will make this easy for me by electing to watch Harry Potter or some similar nonsense on the telly.

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Not to nit pick, you've done a great job as is. However there should be greater elevation for the area entering the Wadi. I was deployed to Sangin Afghanistan back in 2010 to Fob Robinson and Fob Nolay. The Wadi in the area is like a trench the runs through the valley, there were only a few entry points.

unLqbLo.jpg

http://imgur.com/unLqbLo

Sorry for the bad angle. This is one of the best deployment photos I had in order to show you kind of what I'm talking about. The angle is looking down at an entry point into the Wadi with the back wall of the Wadi shown in the back, the top is cut off by the camera.

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Thanks for the picture - where was it taken? I haven't shown you the maps further up yet (Mirmandaw and the Wadi). My Wadi map has a two or three step elevation change which will be enough for the purposes of the mission as it is at the extreme north end of the map.

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Hmm ... annoyingly I have noticed that Google Earth imagery of Afghanistan has changed - lots of areas are now blurred to the point of making accurate map making impossible. This has narrowed my options for the maps I have yet to create a bit, but I reckon I can squeeze at least one more map out of this.

A website called nukemap3d* that is based on google earth has the feature to use historical satelite images instead of the latest ones - maybe google earth has that feature too? If you zoom in closely, a clock symbol will appear in the lower left corner of your browser window, allowing you access to a control panel that lets you change the satelite images google earth uses.

*http://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap3d/

Fore some reason the standard google earth plugin is currently not working with my version of firefox, otherwise i would check if the standard google earth plugin lets you do that too.

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Mission 3, after a lot of redesigning, finally plays more or less as I want it to. I have to confess that I was losing the will to live with it at one point. This one has taken a hell of a lot of testing (at least 10 plays) but after revamping the enemy (which I thought would do the trick alone) and then tinkering with the Blue arrival times (still needed work) then finally the Blue Orbat I achieved a near perfect play through. Will push on with the briefings and maps now before revisiting Mission 4. Luckily I have already had a thrash through Mission 4 and I probably just need one more test to get that right.

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Mission 3 graphics to whet your appetite:

Actual Google Earth overhead:

YakchalActual_zps2a324e0f.jpg

CMSF overhead:

YackchalCMSFOverhead_zps8d014ec7.jpg

Oblique from the enemy side of the map (E-W):

YakchalE-W_zpsf4d733e0.jpg

Oblique from the friendly side of the map (W-E):

YakchalW-E_zps2aadbcd1.jpg

Probably not quite the finished article as I intend to add some telegraph poles but otherwise this is how it will look.

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