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Macisle

Kharkov Map Sneak Peak

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3 hours ago, AlexUK said:

Oh... my ... word...

This looks incredible - roughly how much time do you reckon you've spent so far?

Thanks! I've no idea how many hours I've put in so far. I started it two years ago and have been working on it off and on since then. Many, many hours, though I've taken some long breaks (just got back from a few months away). You know you've been working on a map for awhile when you've noticed Google Maps update multiple times while you've been at it! The images get better each time. The newest update will help a lot in some of the areas where the final fights of the campaign will take place.

9 hours ago, Artkin said:

I am entirely looking forward to this for CMBS now, and CMRT later (Waiting for BERLIN!!!). I unfortunately forgot how to work the map translator tool.. Also I hope to be able to get the master map. I enjoy excruciatingly slow FPS on unfairly gigantic scales in CMBS. 

Yeah, I'm looking very forward to Berlin myself. Gonna' have to study the map, too! There's probably some gold in there that will help me smooth out some of the rough edges on my map. Mine won't be coming out until after the CMRT module is released. I still have a lot to do and also will be integrating new units and winter versions. I will be including the master map along with the campaign files.

4 hours ago, Combatintman said:

@Macisle - I wouldn't get too hung up on the elevations. In simple terms your map from bottom LH corner to top RH corner is low ground. The bottom RH corner is a bit higher and the top LH corner is the highest ground.

I would just use that rough rule of thumb to get your elevations done. As you know, elevations can really screw up your lovingly placed buildings and that will be the thing that players will scrutinise when they look at the map.

I've yet to see anybody come onto a thread like this and go 'that church should be sat on at 127 metres but your cr@ppy map has it at 102 metres you @sshole'. The more likely criticism will be 'the church looks odd because the steeple is on a different elevation to the main building'. Who apart from people like us after all goes into the scenario editor 😉.

I take pride in my maps but have never really paid too much attention to exactly modelling elevation mainly because I couldn't deal with all of that elevation overlay faffery. I've always aimed to get the right feel for the ground and the extent of my attention to detail would be to trace contours from whatever military map I am using and from there let the terrain auto adjust. In areas where those elevations made stuff look a bit wonky I'd make small change and leave it at that. I've never had any complaints.

That's good advice and I'm totally down with it. I did that elevation chart at the beginning of the project as a newcomer to detailed elevation work. It wasn't really necessary and I probably wouldn't approach it that way again. For the final elevation tweaking, I'm mainly looking to get the modular building pieces flush with each other and get the river, bridges, roads and such all looking as natural as possible in relation to the surrounding terrain. Like you said, I'll keep the correct general low to high zone spread, but not worry about hitting specific numbers.

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Regarding elevation: I am totally on board with how @Macisle has done it here. Personally I just don't get a realistic looking environment on my own. I always use a Google earth based overlay map for elevation to get the hills right. Then when placing buildings I make sure I tweak the elevations to avoid goofy looking stuff. In this regard I agree with @Combatintman - the exact elevation is not worth having the back door blocked because of the way the terrain flows.

I use these instructions to create said elevation maps:

 

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1 hour ago, Macisle said:

I started it two years ago and have been working on it off and on since then.

OMG. 

This is why am very happy to pay BF for well-developed scenarios and especially campaigns.

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6 hours ago, Erwin said:

OMG. 

This is why am very happy to pay BF for well-developed scenarios and especially campaigns.

Yup. BF's prices are very reasonable for what they are delivering. If folks understood how much work is involved, they'd never complain again.

On the other hand, for people reading this who have never used the Editor, it doesn't take that much time to get to the point where you're creating your own enjoyable private content. The big hours come in when you're going to make something public. But, if it's just for you and you use house rules (like, don't go where the enemy isn't), you can take a ready-made map and be going with something fun to play in quite a short time.

But be careful. Once the Editor has you, it may not let you go...😈

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31 minutes ago, Macisle said:

But be careful. Once the Editor has you, it may not let you go...😈

Yep! One of the many beauties of CM, all the games within the game. They are can be just as addictive then playing.

Excellent work, btw.

 

Mord.

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On 8/25/2018 at 7:36 AM, Mord said:

Yep! One of the many beauties of CM, all the games within the game. They are can be just as addictive then playing.

Excellent work, btw.

 

Mord.

Thanks!

Yeah, knowing how to use the Editor gives you a whole equal second hobby (actually multiple hobbies...map-making, scenario design, modding...) and essentially provides you with an unlimited pool of fresh battles. The more you use it, the faster you get. At this point, I can spend 30 min to an hour in the Editor and give myself 4 to 20 times that in CM gaming goodness. Even 10 minutes might yield a couple of hours of fun, depending on the particulars.

 

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I completely agree. I've made a list, a few times, about how many ways you can enjoy CM, and bang for the buck, I don't think there are too many pieces of software let alone games, that can match it.

You know, some of my most memorable moments in the game were from little throwaway setups I created in the editor just to test a mod. A lot of people don't realize how powerful and fun that editor is. Most games you have to have some kind of programing knowledge just to make a map. Here, it's as easy as plopping down some terrain, throwing some units on each side and playing as the attacker. Probably not the most sophisticated scenario, but it would do for testing tactics or how certain things in the game work. Which is another way to enjoy CM, testing things, which has its own subgenres.

 

Mord.

Edited by Mord

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Fully agree with your comment regarding the map looking right from the soldier's perspective.....Troops leaving a building and running to their deaths outside because they can't use an internal door due to elevation issues is much more damaging to immersion than a few misplaced buildings or spot heights (IMHO). 

I try to lock building clusters at a single elevation where possible, preserving the overall elevation changes if I can, but not at the expense of playability.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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7 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Fully agree with your comment regarding the map looking right from the soldier's perspective.....Troops leaving a building and running to their deaths outside because they can't use an internal door due to elevation issues is much more damaging to immersion than a few misplaced buildings or spot heights (IMHO). 

I try to lock building clusters at a single elevation where possible, preserving the overall elevation changes if I can, but not at the expense of playability.

Funny you should mention that. Over the last couple of days, I've been testing the SE corner of the map, where the first battle will take place. That has some buildings with exactly the problem you mention -- elevation blocking movement through doors. In these cases, soldiers haven't run outside -- just stopped moving. I can plot the orders, but they just move as far as they can and stop. Sometimes, one level will be blocked, but not another (like ground is okay, but 2nd doesn't work). I'll be taking care of all those by locking in the same elevations for all parts of the buildings. In previous work on other sections, that's almost always been the solution (and the buildings look much better that way). Just once or twice, the modular pieces I chose didn't like each other and using other shapes solved the problem, rather than it being an elevation issue.

An odd thing on elevations and multi-part buildings is that sometimes, the elevations don't look bad, but block movement. Other times, they look pretty extreme, but don't. It seems like a steep drop between modular sections can also sometimes provide cover. Last night, a lone enemy MG42 guy shrugged off 2-3 HE rounds from outside his building (no windows on that side) and then proceeded to slaughter 2/3 of a squad advancing on him, expecting him to be suppressed. He later survived the wall being shot out and was finally taken out by a second squad assaulting with supporting supressing fire from a nearby 2nd floor MG through the new hole in the wall. I'm pretty sure he would have been taken out by the earlier HE had the building pieces all been flush.

 

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6 hours ago, Erwin said:

Sounds like it could be a clever way to simulate a house/basement bunker.

True, but I think the unknowns and potential issues like pathfinding make it best avoided. A better technique for simulated basements is to have no windows on the bottom floor of a structure. This "faux basement" provides a refuge from LOS and small arms fire, along with very high protection against arty. A very large percentage of the buildings on the map have at least one area like this, with some structures having them extend across a number of modular pieces. The faux basements have a huge impact on play and really add realism, as buildings can stay contested for much longer, with both sides occupying parts of the building.

One thing I've noticed in testing...

If a structure has a long extension of door-connected similar pieces, like say, 4-story blocks across 3 to 7 modular extensions, routing troops will most often displace inside the structure, rather than going out of the building. In one part of the current test, the AI displaced multiple units inside the structure to exactly the points where I had the hardest time getting fire superiority on its displacing units. I was quite impressed! As I've tested the map, I've noticed this a number of times. With structures that have a lot of vertical levels, but not many horizontal module pieces, routing units are more likely to run out of the building -- even if they have excellent cover right next to them inside the current structure. However, I still think they are most often staying in the buildings if there are safe modular connections. It's just the occasional rout bug that kicks in and gets them killed when they should have used a safer spot in the same building, rather than running outside.

My guess is that's why the patch is taking so long. The rout bug is incredibly hard to reproduce (in this environment, at least). It's definitely an issue, but I still can't identify exactly what triggers it. However, overall, I've been very pleased with the combat on this map. The level of urban density I'm creating seems to often mitigate against problems from the rout behavior, as there are so many places to run out of LOS to.

Green troops do seem, unsurprisingly, more prone to the behavior, though. I was originally intending to give the Soviets more manpower, but with a lot of green troops. However, I think I'll dial that back to a bit less troops, but more Regular units as base. Both sides will get plenty to work with, though!

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Did you know you can use AI controlled engineers to rearrange the internal structure? 

Try creating a small AI group with only engineers, have them use an Assault order through a linear obstacle/wall etc (paint a single tile adjacent to the wall, then use an Assault command from there to an adjacent tile on the other side of the obstacle), there's a good chance they'll use a demo charge to blow open a rout.....Much experimentation and some customisation of structures is required for best results, but the potential is there.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Did you know you can use AI controlled engineers to rearrange the internal structure? 

Try creating a small AI group with only engineers, have them use an Assault order through a linear obstacle/wall etc (paint a single tile adjacent to the wall, then use an Assault command from there to an adjacent tile on the other side of the obstacle), there's a good chance they'll use a demo charge to blow open a rout.....Much experimentation and some customisation of structures is required for best results, but the potential is there.

Thanks. Yeah, I know that one. If it's an AI-only scenario, giving the AI groups a demo team or two each (reduce if H2H also), along with such orders (as you know, they sometimes use them without orders) can really keep the player guessing and throw him some curve balls!

Of course, if you have something very specific in mind for a scenario, you can get very detailed with the AI.

Speaking of AI, again, I really encourage folks to give the Editor a whirl. Once you get comfortable with it and learn some techniques, you really have a goldmine of unlimited play value. I put in the AI plan for my current SE slice map test as fast as my fingers would go. And yet, without consciously anticipating it in the plan, I've now got an enemy AT gun thwarting my only chance at flanking a Panther holding up my attack. Along with that, a second Panther just bolted in outta' nowhere, skipped past my flanking fire and proceeded to take out 9 soldiers holding a jump off point in buildings at the center front line, waiting for heavy arty to finish working on the objective buildings across the street. That finished off the morale of that platoon...and thus that company as well. -Finishing up the first hour and getting ready for fresh troops to take over -- at least on that section of the front (not playing the whole thing, just sections of the slice).

Of course, this is just map testing for the H2H campaign. But this is user friendly, helps me spot map issues, and gauge force levels vs. scenario time and gaining a feel for the "phases" in the 4-hour battle concept. So far, I think the concept is going to work.

Of course, should I end up doing a solo-campaign, it give me ideas for that, too. But I'm not committing to that...yet.😀

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9 hours ago, Macisle said:

Of course, this is just map testing for the H2H campaign. But this is user friendly, helps me spot map issues, and gauge force levels vs. scenario time and gaining a feel for the "phases" in the 4-hour battle concept. 

😀

Plus it sounds fun.

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3 hours ago, IanL said:

Plus it sounds fun.

Well, truth be known...🙂.

And I managed to flank and spank the raging Panther:

42516191790_2f946197a8_b.jpg

With one hit, that mother took out nine men and TWO machine guns. Grrrr! 😡

42516191520_67676bdbf7_b.jpg

Now, I gotta' see if I can save my insurance AT grenade team, uh.. whose arses are now hanging out in the wind close to my heavy arty, and when the smoke clears, perhaps in the LOS of the second Panther 😬.

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On 8/24/2018 at 1:32 AM, Macisle said:

43509070814_cba3863748_b.jpg

 

One of my most enjoyable gaming experiences was a Steel Panther-scenario, situated in Charkow March 1943. For the future I hope for a CM game/module to relive that experience. This is one of the best maps I've ever seen.

Edited by Aragorn2002

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15 hours ago, Aragorn2002 said:

One of my most enjoyable gaming experiences was a Steel Panther-scenario, situated in Charkow March 1943. For the future I hope for a CM game/module to relive that experience. This is one of the best maps I've ever seen.

Thanks! It's not a historical map, but I think the nature of it will make for some interesting, memorable play. I look very forward to hearing about players' experiences on it!

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17 hours ago, Macisle said:

I think the nature of it will make for some interesting, memorable play.

That qualifies as one of the bigger understatements I've read this year

I'm almost as excited for this map as I am for the forthcoming Module, I've built (am building) city maps a few hundred meters on a side, so I know how long it takes to do right.....Consequently work like this and Ramadi gets my full attention and appreciation.

PS - I'd kill to have Uncons AND your map in CM:BS!  ;)

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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5 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

That qualifies as one of the bigger understatements I've read this year

I'm almost as excited for this map as I am for the forthcoming Module, I've built (am building) city maps a few hundred meters on a side, so I know how long it takes to do right.....Consequently work like this and Ramadi gets my full attention and appreciation.

PS - I'd kill to have Uncons AND your map in CM:BS!  ;)

Wow -- thanks!

Here's hoping the map delivers. It pretty much is wall-to-wall ambush country. I would really like to see how well RPG guys do against US/1st World armor in this environment because there are so many spots from which a unit can fire off a round and then displace to safety.  Of course, that also means that it isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. The workload on the player is by necessity maximized for him to make effective use of the more realistic terrain. He will often have to spend time at the soldier's view to judge each room of a building to determine how to tackle things from the standpoint of coordinated multi-team tactical maneuvers. Very meticulous use of waypoints and timings will be a must in those situations. Naturally, this will slow play down a lot. The slow, meticulous play, combined with the 4-hour multi-phase battle concept may end up being too much for some players. Also, I'm not at all attempting to soften potential fire lanes and hard points. So, the attacker may well find himself stymied more than he is used to -- in a very realistic way that rings true to stories of war. But then, he will have a lot of time...and...BIG ARTY🙂.

The defender will also get his share of beefy arty. Between the two, the battlefield will change a lot of the course of a battle. Testing so far shows that if players use the terrain well and hide, the arty will not be overpowering. Well, until the buildings are all gone!😛 (The large buildings can take A LOT of artillery to bring down -- maybe too much ).

For porting into CMBS, the vast majority of the buildings being modular potentially means the workload may not be so bad. However, if the door/window layouts don't port over, then it will be a MASSIVE amount of work to redo them. That is a lot of what makes the map what it is (and why it's taking so long). Combat would be largely nerfed if default windows and doors were used.

I'm looking very forward to Berlin, too! It looks like the stock map for the module will be bringing a lot of what I set out to do in this project to the table. Since players will be experiencing that before they get my map, Kharkiveskya may not be as impressive as it would have been if they played it first. But, you can never have enough maps and they will be different enough to each offer a large amount of unique, enjoyable play, I think.

Oh, almost forgot, my full master clocks in at 1,440 x 1,440 meters. So, it's not the biggest map out there (Berlin might be quite a bit bigger?), but the level of detail makes it feel larger than that. The current slice I'm testing is 864 x 832. With that size, I am able to get acceptable frames with Model Quality reduced to Improved and everything else maxed. So, the slices will likely be around that big, give or take. That may seem very small for 4 hours, but...well...maybe not. It sometimes took days to cross the street at Stalingrad. So, a few hours for a few blocks may be about right. Looking very forward to the playtesting!

Yeah, the Ramadi map looks amazing and top notch! That is going to offer a lot of the same kind of combat environment I'm going for, but of course in a modern context. Super work there!

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1.4km x 1.4km of dense urban terrain is no small undertaking, especially when you are giving all the buildings 'the full treatment';)

Re: Porting the map to CM:BS.....Many (Most?) of the individual buildings and flavour objects are identical AFAIK, I'm optimistic that a conversion would work pretty much unchanged.

PS - There's another very good urban map for CM:SF that I forgot.....Bishr: 

http://www.thefewgoodmen.com/tsd3/cm-shock-force-2/cm-shock-force-add-ons-maps/bishr-map/

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Hey, guys. It's been awhile. I thought I'd drop a screenie and let everyone know that the project is alive and well -- if moving along rather slowly due to RL time demands. I had to take a long break or two again, but have knocked out a number of blocks on the map since my last post, along with a sizable chunk of elevation refining. Here is a screenie showing a bit over half the master map:

46386945034_ee0233498d_b.jpg

This is East to West, with the Southern half of the map being largely visible. The SE corner is done, but wouldn't fit in the picture. There is a little more that is finished, but it wouldn't fit without showing skeletal areas, so I kept things to what is complete (well, other than final tweaks, flavor objects and elevation refinement).

Alrighty, that's it for now. Macisle out!

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Amazing.  This looks like a similar herculean effort as LLF's Ramadi map.

Have you considered using the angled road mod to avoid the jagged sawtooth road look?

 

 

Edited by Erwin

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