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Ithikial_AU

Experimental Design - CM1 Operations in CM2 (Video)

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Just a small point regarding rest and refit (i guess you already know this...but just in case...)

If you are using the campaign script for R&R i don't think that you will be able to specify any particular unit ( A Company, 3rd plt/ B Company for example ) for any unit specific kind of rest, refit or reinforcement. 

These things are 'force-wide' i belive...If you set replacements to 20 %...This will be for the entire force...not a specific company. Same thing with resupply etc..

To have a particular Company recieve a higher degree of REST i Think you will need to keep them in the scenario and just have them sit it out...Same thing with resupply...It will need to be done during the scenario using on-map supply dumps if the player wish to single out a specific unit for 'extra' supply...

atleast this is how i Think it works..;)

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2 hours ago, RepsolCBR said:

These things are 'force-wide' i belive...If you set replacements to 20 %...This will be for the entire force...not a specific company. Same thing with resupply etc..

This is something I've been trying to clear up in my own head, maybe you can clarify for me.

Is the 20% chance applied to the whole unit all or nothing, or is it applied to separate sub-units within the main force individually?  I'm guessing it's the former.

Presumably you can mitigate the all or nothing nature by breaking up your core into company sized chunks, but this will mess up C2 in larger than company sized operations.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Hello...

It's been a fair while (many months) since i had a chans to play this game or mess around in the editor...I have not been able to fix my gaming computer so i will have to buy a new one...It has taken me some time to save up the money (and it will take atleast two more months i guess)...I'm aiming for a high- (very high) end PC so it will cost me quite some money unfortunatelly...

Main goal with my new machine will be to be able to play DCS in 4K VR...And offcourse Combat Mission (with the largest of maps and high unit number) :P

CM might not be all that demanding on a new machine but 4K DCS will be i'm afraid...

The lack of a gaming computer have ment that  it has been a while since i messed around in the editor...From memory when i did some work on a Campaign a while ago this is how i remember it to be..

16 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

This is something I've been trying to clear up in my own head, maybe you can clarify for me.

Is the 20% chance applied to the whole unit all or nothing, or is it applied to separate sub-units within the main force individually?  I'm guessing it's the former.

 

I'm guessing the former also...But i honestly does not really know how things are handled 'behind the scene'...IIRC the manual does not go into very much detail on this...

 

16 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

 

Presumably you can mitigate the all or nothing nature by breaking up your core into company sized chunks, but this will mess up C2 in larger than company sized operations.

If i'm not mistaking you can only have one CORE FILE/ Campaign...I don't Think that it will make much of a difference of your CORE units are from the same organic formation (the same battalion) of if you use 4 different battalions and use one Company from each...The CORE unit is the CORE unit regardless...You will not be able to single out a specific part of this CORE to recieve more or less of anything...The computer will 'be in charge of this'....That is my understanding atleast...

If i'm wrong about this hopefully some of the more experienced Campaign designers will jump in here and correct me B)

If we can single out specific units in a core for different things i would be very happy to know about this also...

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Hello...
 
I watched your second video on the Tube.
Initially i did not really feel that having to start all over at the beginning of each battle was a very good idea...
In a perfect world the player would be allowed to hold on to terrain taken in previous battles. I can see now that this will indeed be hard to do due to scripting limitations.

hearing you explain how it might work playing this 'OPERATION' makes me more possitive to this project...It might actually work ! :)

Like you mentioned...Having to move your entire fighting force through the 'already taken' terrain during each battle might become a bit tedious. If you are able to find a 'fix' for this
somehow by clever use of the German AI it might not be all that bad though.

The lack of persistent map-damage might be the biggest hurdle to overcome...There is no other word for it...Not having it will be a bit of a immersion killer unfortunatelly.

However if you get the rest of the 'OPERATION' to work well...Many players might be willing to overlook this 'flaw'...If the gameplay is fun and the force-managment is intresting it might be enough...
Taking about force managment...Do you  know ? Will the campaign scripting be more flexible then i seem to remember when it comes to rest, refit ? will you be able to single out specific units in the script for certain things ?
 
You have won me over...This OPERATION might work ! Best of luck...B)
 

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And a rough mock up to show how the campaign progresses. Using the 'clear right flank' option first before progressing to clearing the map. Follow the arrows. :)

3mALqJG.jpg

Edited by Ithikial_AU

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Thanks for taking the time of producing a video @Ithikial_AU, just finished watching it.

That sounds solid to me, but I am not sure the campaign scripting system will allow to implement something  :S

A completely different approach, still requiring the intervention of a human umpire would be to have the branching of the campaign done programmatically, on the basis of the information that this tool that @Japanzer built many years ago (or a variant using different software)

 

that app could then also reuse the other app @Japanzer made, that use the kind of software MMORPG macroers use to setup the scenarios automagically... This requires a bit of lateral thinking :)

I think there were some guys trying to come up with similar tools for CMBS, I think I read a couple threads like that a while ago.

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On 2/7/2018 at 6:46 PM, Combatintman said:

This is certainly doable but is a lot of work. I would at least have a fixed unit pick and mission for the first campaign mission but thereafter you can just create decision missions that allow the player to branch with a chosen force. Let's say that Mission 1 has A and B Coy in it and A Coy gets a bit of a hammering. You can then create a decision Mission where the player chooses to use A and B Coy again or to use C and B Coy for the real Mission 2. Rinse and repeat ...

Like I said though - it would be a sh1t tin of work to both create and test.

Actually I am expecting the full Battalion to be on the map for each engagement. It's up to the player to push what forces of his he wants forward and keep the others safe. The only exception would probably be for the opening engagements when the player needs to get some 'breathing room' before the main push. Remember the Germans are on a Master OOB file as well so any losses they experience will carry over as well.

On 2/8/2018 at 2:45 AM, Pete Wenman said:

This is pretty much where I got to, and the reason I went for individual scenarios.

The campaign option allows for easy use of the core force file, which automatically deals with casualties and re-suppy between missions, but in order to provide any kind of  natural feel to the subsequent missions also requires a high number of possible missions, most of which won't actually be used. Given that campaigns can only be against the AI this is a lot of work for not much return.

Going down the route of using scenarios does require a 3rd party umpire, who will control the map damage, and hopefully be able to match that from previous battles to the current. He will also need to impose the casualty reductions on both sides forces. This can be done either by using the % reduction options in the editor and/or deleting sub units. (3rd platoon is deleted, reflecting the losses and that the remaining troops have been re-organised etc).

I always thought this option for H2H  would not involve too much work once the map is created, with the main work being the addition of the compounding map damage and determining the available troops for both side and setting set up zones. Playing against the AI would require a lot more work to craft AI plans and so I discarded that option.

 

A few years ago over the the FGM Odin and I actually tried something very similar. Four players with me as the umpire. It fell flat right after the first series of engagements. The organisation of multiple OOB files which the players wanted to mix around to suit what was in front of them made it a total nightmare fore the third umpire. Granted we were using CMRT so the Soviet OOB didn't help the 'staying sane' matters. The map work was actually alright but you always run the risk of upsetting a player who may have been targeting specific building on purpose in one engagement to deprive the enemy of it for follow on engagement. It's an awful lot to track even for a Battalion level op. Not thinking H2H here though I could release the individual scenario files which would let a multiplayer fight to occur with a third party umpire... or between two very honest opponents. All you'd have to do is prep the next scenario (time wise) with some map damage and adjust the OOB accordingly before loading it up. It would all be contained in the one file.

On 2/9/2018 at 12:40 AM, RepsolCBR said:

Just a small point regarding rest and refit (i guess you already know this...but just in case...)

If you are using the campaign script for R&R i don't think that you will be able to specify any particular unit ( A Company, 3rd plt/ B Company for example ) for any unit specific kind of rest, refit or reinforcement. 

These things are 'force-wide' i belive...If you set replacements to 20 %...This will be for the entire force...not a specific company. Same thing with resupply etc..

To have a particular Company recieve a higher degree of REST i Think you will need to keep them in the scenario and just have them sit it out...Same thing with resupply...It will need to be done during the scenario using on-map supply dumps if the player wish to single out a specific unit for 'extra' supply...

atleast this is how i Think it works..;)

Well aware of that limitation which is why the on map supply dumps could be an option. I don't mind using the campaign script replenishment settings and do plan to but it won't be very high for anyone between each battle. Over time and multiple engagement you want to feel the problems a front commander would be feeling as his forces engage in protracted combat.

On 2/9/2018 at 3:02 AM, Sgt.Squarehead said:

This is something I've been trying to clear up in my own head, maybe you can clarify for me.

Is the 20% chance applied to the whole unit all or nothing, or is it applied to separate sub-units within the main force individually?  I'm guessing it's the former.

Presumably you can mitigate the all or nothing nature by breaking up your core into company sized chunks, but this will mess up C2 in larger than company sized operations.

I think they changed it with 4.0 to be to a flat percentage across the core units where before I think it was a percentage chance that unit would be replenished. The former makes this a lot more workable. Breaking up the organic unit and having them on the field at different engagements makes this whole excercise ten time larger in terms of prepping individual scenario files so at the moment isn't preferable. An OOB is an OOB, it's something I think designers need to work with rather than avoid or try to work around.

On 2/10/2018 at 1:16 AM, RepsolCBR said:
Hello...
 
I watched your second video on the Tube.
Initially i did not really feel that having to start all over at the beginning of each battle was a very good idea...
In a perfect world the player would be allowed to hold on to terrain taken in previous battles. I can see now that this will indeed be hard to do due to scripting limitations.

hearing you explain how it might work playing this 'OPERATION' makes me more possitive to this project...It might actually work ! :)

Like you mentioned...Having to move your entire fighting force through the 'already taken' terrain during each battle might become a bit tedious. If you are able to find a 'fix' for this
somehow by clever use of the German AI it might not be all that bad though.

The lack of persistent map-damage might be the biggest hurdle to overcome...There is no other word for it...Not having it will be a bit of a immersion killer unfortunatelly.

However if you get the rest of the 'OPERATION' to work well...Many players might be willing to overlook this 'flaw'...If the gameplay is fun and the force-managment is intresting it might be enough...
Taking about force managment...Do you  know ? Will the campaign scripting be more flexible then i seem to remember when it comes to rest, refit ? will you be able to single out specific units in the script for certain things ?
 
You have won me over...This OPERATION might work ! Best of luck...B)
 

The only 'fix' for avoiding the tedium for the allied player is to have a mid point set of objectives where once these are taken the campaign script pushes the Allied deployment zone forward and the Germans pull back. As outlined above, campaign scripts affect all core units not only specific ones the designer wants. If I want to have full control as a designer I'd need to add the unit in for each engagement on top of the core unit file and set it's head count and ammo manually. There is no way this unit is tracked between engagement however.

16 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

Thanks for taking the time of producing a video @Ithikial_AU, just finished watching it.

That sounds solid to me, but I am not sure the campaign scripting system will allow to implement something  :S

A completely different approach, still requiring the intervention of a human umpire would be to have the branching of the campaign done programmatically, on the basis of the information that this tool that @Japanzer built many years ago (or a variant using different software)

 

that app could then also reuse the other app @Japanzer made, that use the kind of software MMORPG macroers use to setup the scenarios automagically... This requires a bit of lateral thinking :)

I think there were some guys trying to come up with similar tools for CMBS, I think I read a couple threads like that a while ago.

Yes I do remember that tool when it come out. Some in the community mixed it up for my little record keeping excel file I do. :P It would be a great tool for a third umpire for a H2H option to help adjust battles before the next engagement begins.

15 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

These videos are certainly whetting the appetite. 

That's good to hear! Always try something different. ;)

Thanks for all the comments so far everyone. Keep them coming.

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On 2/9/2018 at 12:36 PM, RepsolCBR said:

And offcourse Combat Mission (with the largest of maps and high unit number) :P

CM might not be all that demanding on a new machine

You may be surprised..

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On 2/11/2018 at 8:41 AM, Ithikial_AU said:

The organisation of multiple OOB files which the players wanted to mix around to suit what was in front of them made it a total nightmare fore the third umpire.

Couldn't you just tell players they had to work with what they had? cherry-picking is the end of all fun ..

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I'd really like to play a campaign of this nature. A couple of comments. My focus is on a historically convincing experience:

  • Why not go for a series of Platoon-sized (ish) 'Byte Battles' with a PDF map to put them all in context? The CMRT Byte Battle tutorial scenario is a perfect size IMHO.
  • Let the campaign follow a historical narrative. So your most recent platoon-level fight was a disaster, but overall the Division has advanced. Onto the next battle with another platoon.
  • As the campaign progresses, both sides will start subsequent engagements with platoons that have suffered a degree of attrition - again, historically based.
  • You don't win or lose a campaign in this model; you experience it. You know from the outset which side won or lost and now you'll get a better sense of why.
  • I find the standard CM victory conditions to be a bit strange. Rather than declaring victory based on taking this hill or having that loss ratio, is it possible to configure things so that all battle outcomes result in a draw and the player is left to look at the situation and come to his own conclusions about success? I've played scenarios in which I destroy 16 enemy tanks to my one and still lose because there's still an enemy HQ unit sitting in a hut. What's missing from CM is the 'mopping up' phase of combat. Victory is generally not won outright in real life and may not even be apparent to the troops engaged.

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On ‎17‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 4:01 AM, Redmarkus said:

I'd really like to play a campaign of this nature. A couple of comments. My focus is on a historically convincing experience:

  • Why not go for a series of Platoon-sized (ish) 'Byte Battles' with a PDF map to put them all in context? The CMRT Byte Battle tutorial scenario is a perfect size IMHO.
  • Let the campaign follow a historical narrative. So your most recent platoon-level fight was a disaster, but overall the Division has advanced. Onto the next battle with another platoon.
  • As the campaign progresses, both sides will start subsequent engagements with platoons that have suffered a degree of attrition - again, historically based.
  • You don't win or lose a campaign in this model; you experience it. You know from the outset which side won or lost and now you'll get a better sense of why.
  • I find the standard CM victory conditions to be a bit strange. Rather than declaring victory based on taking this hill or having that loss ratio, is it possible to configure things so that all battle outcomes result in a draw and the player is left to look at the situation and come to his own conclusions about success? I've played scenarios in which I destroy 16 enemy tanks to my one and still lose because there's still an enemy HQ unit sitting in a hut. What's missing from CM is the 'mopping up' phase of combat. Victory is generally not won outright in real life and may not even be apparent to the troops engaged.

It is indeed possible to set the VP structure to arrive at a draw (or whatever result you desire) every single time. You also bring up the issue of player perception which is much harder to manage. Ultimately we are all competitive when we play these games and we want to win every time which seems to be where you're coming from in your last bullet point. The point you make there is at odds with your statement about experiencing a campaign in the penultimate bullet. I'm not saying that this is wrong by the way, I just think that as a designer, it is difficult to be comfortable with releasing a scenario/campaign where victory is impossible when you can pretty much guarantee that somebody will criticise your work because they don't get a 'win' result at the end game screen.

As an example, all of my scenarios come with comprehensive orders and designer notes yet on at least one occasion, but probably more, some comedian has come up and said - 'I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing in this mission' and when engaged in discussion about it, have revealed that they didn't read the orders/designer notes.

I'm following @Ithikial_AU's project with great interest because it is clear that he is trying to push the boundaries of the engine and trying to bring a new experience to players. However, I also think that whatever solution he comes up with will not be to everybody's taste. I'm still thinking about how I would crack this particular nut according to my own perceptions which are entirely based on the map damage issue. For me (I stress - my personal prejudice) - map damage would be an immersion killer for me and therefore my thought process is all about a mechanic for avoiding previously destroyed buildings being intact or vice versa. The only way I see it working is to create phase lines and air gap the maps around those phase lines. This of course has its limitations because it makes it difficult, but not impossible, to introduce counter-attacks for example.

Of course that is my opinion based on my bias - others can probably live with map damage thing so long as they get to manage ammunition or casualties or that they get a win at the end of every scenario. The point here is that we come back to the choices that a skilled designer has to make to try and satisfy the broad church of individual preferences out there. I'll admit, I sit fully in the unambitious camp for scenario design, my stuff is generally historical/semi-historical which gives me a handrail for the design concept and I want to make the objectives pretty clear and simple. While I'll try and add as much complexity to the AI side of the editor as possible, I still think my stuff is meat and potatoes in execution. However, I do generally get positive feedback and I think that a lot of it revolves around the fact that I don't add any 'trickery' around VPs. Pulling off positive feedback in a campaign where you're juggling VPs, the core unit file, mission branching and map damage with a target audience of widely differing motives/prejudices about the 'right' result will be phenomenally tricky and I admire @Ithikial_AU for trying it.

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22 hours ago, Combatintman said:

Pulling off positive feedback in a campaign where you're juggling VPs, the core unit file, mission branching and map damage with a target audience of widely differing motives/prejudices about the 'right' result will be phenomenally tricky and I admire @Ithikial_AU for trying it.

Thanks @Combatintman.

I agree that the lack of persistent map damage between engagements is one of the biggest problems still to be overcome. However being largely in a rural area with not many buildings it's a bit safer than some other options on the list. A few ideas to get around it so far (not set on any):

- Limit the player to small caliber mortars for on and off map support. Appropriate for the type of engagement the player is fighting and minimises terrain damage but also drops the 'fun' factor down a bit.

- The Germans become the "Artillery Battalion" in support. Tank control of high caliber off map support away from the player. Give the Germans similar caliber off map support and have them shell predisposed positions with AI plans. Map can be adjusted between these engagements since I as the designer knows what's going to be targeted. However again, drops that fun element for the player. (And don't look too closely at the direction of incoming rounds).

- The heavy support occurs between missions and the outcome of which is simply stated in the briefing. Map is adjusted by me as appropriate. Again no fun for the player.

Another positive with all three options is I can control the impact of the heavy weapons and the player can't rely on simply blasting the Germans to kingdom come to achieve a victory. The player will need to engage heavily with on map forces.

 

The additional problem, potentially on par with terrain damage, is the limit of two outcomes per engagement. The Win or Loss restriction. Having a third option would allow me to build in a "Total Loss" rule where if the player were to drop below 50% of their starting forces it's a campaign loss as their battalion is pulled from the line without completing their objective. This would force the player to constantly be mindful of their overall casualties while pushing across the map over time. Unfortunately I can't build that and allow the campaign to progress as intended. I already need both of the possible outcomes!

 

Sadly at this point the terrain damage problem is probably a bigger one for where a concept like this could lead. Bigger and urban maps. On the train into work I fleshed out an idea for the upcoming CMSF2 release but it's just not going to work. The fictional end to the conflict depicted in CMSF2. A gradual push into the streets of Damascus to draw out, kill the enemy and end the war with a multinational task force. Unfortunately it's just not feasible without the modern 'toy box' of heavy weaponry and that means leveling a few buildings, which you want to remain leveled between battles. As someone who's already been through a construction project as a client, no building company is that good. ;)

 

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I'm using some of these techniques on my CMRT urban map. Not tall bocage and sunken roads of course, but a mix of low bocage, brush, bushes, trees, and the taller grass/weed types wherever I can tuck them in (like in-between buildings) makes things look more natural (hey, it's the USSR, after all -- overgrown is in).  The overall effect of the extra cover and reduced spotting seems to make the urban combat more realistic, too. As we know, game infantry is slower to react and can't use cover as well as its real-life counterpart. These techniques seem to help in an urban environment as well as the countryside.

It's been a process of discovery. My newer map sections are much better and more detailed than the old ones. I'll be going back and redoing/enhancing old sections that were done before I twigged the techniques. They also help reduce the visual impact of unnatural building breaks caused by the angle limitations of the Editor.

As you know, it's very time consuming doing the trial and error to get the right balance of foliage types for a given spot, but the payoff can really be worth it.

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28 minutes ago, Macisle said:

I'm using some of these techniques on my CMRT urban map. Not tall bocage and sunken roads of course, but a mix of low bocage, brush, bushes, trees, and the taller grass/weed types wherever I can tuck them in (like in-between buildings) makes things look more natural (hey, it's the USSR, after all -- overgrown is in). The overall effect of the extra cover and reduced spotting seems to make the urban combat more realistic, too. As we know, In-Game Infantry is slower to react and can't use cover as well as its Real-Life Counterpart.

This +10

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I am curious if you guys ever played the Dynamic Campaign Generator for Men of War. It was a .net app that would generate a we-go-like strategic board stitched up of various maps that you have installed.

00311191.jpg

It would let you build a platoon level force much like Quick Battle force manager, then it would generate a scenario based on the map that was engaged by conflicting nations. Once you finished the scenario, it would read your save file and adjust the in-app forces based on results (including experience, ammunition, fuel). Strategic board would usually also include other units, both friendly and enemy that would move around and cause havoc. Resources were always tight, and if you let the enemy out-maneuver you on the strategic scale, you would have isolated troops that would not be able to resupply/reinforce. 

 

Provided a fun rogue-like experience, that was, honestly, the only thing to play in that game. Some missions were cake-walks and other un-winnable nightmares, in which even retreat was difficult. I may be wrong, but I think it did carry over wrecks -- I am not sure about map scarring.

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some good map designing tips in these videos and i agree...A well designed map with attention to detail is much apprisiated ! :)

A brilliant map can not save a poorly designed scenario but  a very good map most certanly increase the intrest in- and enjoyment of a well made scenario imo...

If the designer has the needed time and energy to devote to a highly detailed map...It most certanly is worth it...Just look at GeorgeMcs maps for example...WOW !!! B)

 

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So who wants to test out the map?

http://www.thefewgoodmen.com/tpg2/cm-battle-for-normandy/le-carillon-strongpoint-map-test-h2h-only/

Merry late Easter?

I've uploaded a blank copy of the map as well as a rough meeting engagement and allied assault option for any budding H2H players who want to settle some old scores in the hedgerows north of St Lo.

Pick you own forces or even your own objectives. I'm really after feedback about how the battle 'flows' so to speak. Where the natural lines of engagement are, the choke-points, strongpoints etc. This will be pretty critical and allow me to design a tougher experience for the campaign. Also finding out little oddities/errors with the map never hurts at this point.

Note that some of the custom flavour objects won't show up since they aren't included with the file yet.

Many thanks in advance. On to placing units and making the next video diary on unit selection (so spoiler warning from now on). :)

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Posted (edited)

That was an excellent, descriptive video of what it takes to make a map that is engaging to play on. Placing little narrative devices around the map makes the difference between a sterile game board and something that feels like a place that is engaging both to play on, and to simply explore.

I've placed all kinds of weird things around map that I have narratives about. The cross in the woods behind the baker's house, the ruins in the forest...

Edited by benpark

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