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Macisle

Logistical Exits: Any chance in next Upgrade?

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Hi, all. Apologies if this has been discussed somewhere else, but I want to ask about the possibility of BF tweaking the Exit Zone feature to allow for point-neutral "logistical" exit zones that could be used purely for exiting unneeded units from the battlefield. Currently, exit zones offer an all-or-nothing approach in their relation to casualty points. If casualty points are used, then the side with exit zones must exit all troops with assigned casualty point values via the zones or be penalized with the opponent being rewarded the point value of the non-exited units. The second alternative is to not use any casualty points and thus limit victory conditions to control of terrain objectives -- an unappealing option that invites a gamey lack of concern about casualty levels.

I'm not a coder, but it would seem a reasonably light coding job to take the current functionality and simply add a point-neutral option that would allow players to exit units if desired (probably off the friendly edge) and also not be penalized for any units with assigned casualty points still on the map at game end.

The primary purpose for this functionality would be two-fold. First, it would facilitate extra-long-play scenarios and second, would allow for enhanced use of AI groups in SP scenarios.

The first use is my main priority in posting this. For a project I'm working on, I want to be able to have four-hour battles on large map slices that are essentially multiple scenarios under one roof with a consistent battleground across the 3-4 scenario equivalents covered by the overall scenario. The primary block to achieving this is the choking of the Engine due to too many units being on the map at once due to the accumulation of task-completed and/or spent units that have expended all their ammo and/or are broken.

Logistical Exits would allow for units from earlier "sub-battles" to be exited as new units arrive for later sub-battles in the overall 4-hour scenario. For example, a battalion is used for the first hour and is expected to exit after that, with a new battalion arriving for the second hour and so on for later hours.

There are huge gameplay benefits to this, such as a continuous battlefield that changes via damage and wrecks and the ability to use larger map slices, which allows for more dynamic back and forth combat as reinforcements arrive, but without them choking the Engine.

Applying it to SP scenarios and AI groups, Logistical Exits would allow for scenario designers to recycle AI Groups. For example, a platoon of heavy assault guns could arrive as Group 5, expend their ammo in AI Area Fire on a target zone, and then exit off the friendly map edge to be replaced by say, a platoon of infantry later on when it arrives with a reinforcement wave.

I'm sure designers could come up with all sorts of cool ways to use such a feature.

Anyway, I'd like to know if this is a possible candidate for the next Upgrade package, since my project, a H2H campaign, will likely be released around that time.

Any chance?

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10 hours ago, Macisle said:

I want to be able to have four-hour battles on large map slices that are essentially multiple scenarios under one roof with a consistent battleground across the 3-4 scenario equivalents covered by the overall scenario.

There are huge gameplay benefits to this, such as a continuous battlefield that changes via damage and wrecks and the ability to use larger map slices, which allows for more dynamic back and forth combat as reinforcements arrive, but without them choking the Engine.

would allow for scenario designers to recycle AI Groups. For example, a platoon of heavy assault guns could arrive as Group 5, expend their ammo in AI Area Fire on a target zone, and then exit off the friendly map edge to be replaced by say, a platoon of infantry later on when it arrives with a reinforcement wave.  

This is very interesting.  I have heard of this referred to as a static campaign and it sounds like a cool idea.   I have a four hour static campaign I'm working on in CMBS.   I don't know if there is a chance for a "logistical exit" but it would be one more tool for scenario designers.  +1   

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Posted (edited)

So long as units are not subject to a Destroy objective they can already do exactly what you describe.....You just need to rearrange your VP structure.

PS - This is my standard option for getting rid of trucks that were pretending to deliver infantry in CM:A.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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8 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

So long as units are not subject to a Destroy objective they can already do exactly what you describe.....You just need to rearrange your VP structure.

PS - This is my standard option for getting rid of trucks that were pretending to deliver infantry in CM:A.

That's interesting. As soon as I get a chance, I'll test it out. If it does what I need it to do, then things are comin' up roses.:)

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Posted (edited)

The thing to keep in mind is that if you have both one or more Exit Terrain Objective(s) and one or more unit(s) subject to enemy Destroy Unit Objective(s), the engine always assumes that the unit(s) in question must utilise an exit, or the opposing side will get points as though the unit were destroyed (for 'preventing' its exit from the map).

TBH I'd like a few exit options much as you describe, but my point was that there is presently a workaround if you can revise your VP to cover (which may not always be possible).

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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7 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

The thing to keep in mind is that if you have both one or more Exit Terrain Objective(s) and one or more unit(s) subject to enemy Destroy Unit Objective(s), the engine always assumes that the unit(s) in question must utilise an exit, or the opposing side will get points as though the unit were destroyed (for 'preventing' its exit from the map).

TBH I'd like a few exit options much as you describe, but my point was that there is presently a workaround if you can revise your VP to cover (which may not always be possible).

Oh. Hmm. Maybe we're back where we started.

Not sure. I won't have a chance to test it out until after work (on the forums during a coffee break). -I'll post my results later.

Thanks for info!

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Posted (edited)

Any unit can exit at any time, no loss.....But if ANY unit in a force is subject to a destroy objective, they MUST exit, per my comment above.

In CM:A I've used exit zones for both 'logistical' & 'points' purposes in the same scenario, you just need to arrange your VP appropriately (in this instance you apply a Destroy Unit Objective to the units that must exit, but to no others).

HTH.....Keep messing, you'll find a way!  ;)

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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23 hours ago, Macisle said:

The primary purpose for this functionality would be two-fold. First, it would facilitate extra-long-play scenarios and second, would allow for enhanced use of AI groups in SP scenarios.

The first use is my main priority in posting this. For a project I'm working on, I want to be able to have four-hour battles on large map slices that are essentially multiple scenarios under one roof with a consistent battleground across the 3-4 scenario equivalents covered by the overall scenario. The primary block to achieving this is the choking of the Engine due to too many units being on the map at once due to the accumulation of task-completed and/or spent units that have expended all their ammo and/or are broken.

Logistical Exits would allow for units from earlier "sub-battles" to be exited as new units arrive for later sub-battles in the overall 4-hour scenario. For example, a battalion is used for the first hour and is expected to exit after that, with a new battalion arriving for the second hour and so on for later hours.

 

I'm guessing you haven't seen my thread on pretty much the same type of project. :P More videos incoming soon.

 

12 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

So long as units are not subject to a Destroy objective they can already do exactly what you describe.....You just need to rearrange your VP structure.

PS - This is my standard option for getting rid of trucks that were pretending to deliver infantry in CM:A.

Beat me to it. It should be pretty easy to do this. To be doubly sure assigning a VP allocation of '0' for all player units to ensure no levels of victory are determined by the units exiting the map. You can still use the Casualty Parameters to model in a threshold of casualties the player shouldn't go over.

Suggest testing a few victory point allication patterns with the little Excel workbook I made for just such a thing. :)

http://cmmodsiii.greenasjade.net/?p=4236

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Posted (edited)

Hey, guys. Thanks again for your help.

Unless I'm missing something, I'm not seeing what I need. I think I forgot to say that this is for a H2H situation. What I want to do is this:

  • In a H2H situation, have exit zones for each player on their respective friendly map edge.
  • Use standard casualty points for all units for both sides.
  • Terrain objectives are as normal and there are no actual exit objectives relating to scenario success.
  • Have a four-hour scenario that will cover the equivalent of four standard scenarios. As reinforcements arrive for later phases, the players will exit remaining units from the previous phase off their friendly map edge. Some units might stay (like AFVs that still have ammo), but enough house-clearing will need to happen to keep the Engine from choking due to a combination of high unit density and large map size.

The overall goal is to divide my 1.5 km master map into four slices to create four such four-hour battles with very simple rules to determine overall victory. Something like, the attacker must win the opening battle, one flank battle and the final battle. Again, that's four, four-hour battles adding up to the equivalent of a 16-scenario H2H campaign on four map areas, each of which will offer persistent damage over the four-hour fight on that particular map slice.

Is there any way to do this using the current system?

If not, we're back to my original post and hope for a new feature for the next engine upgrade.

Edit:

I was thinking, the current system may work for what I have proposed above, as long as the units earmarked for the final phase of the 4-hour battle do not have casualty points assigned to them. Under the current system, assuming casualty points are assigned, the opposing player gets points for your units if he kills them or you don't exit them -- which is fine for all phases but the last (in fact, it helps incentivize exiting units from previous phases).

So, a workaround could be to assign casualty points for units earmarked for phases 1-3 and then use some combination of parameters and final-phase terrain objective point levels to achieve an acceptible final phase victory point situation. It adds work and may not be ideal, but at first glance, it would seem to facilitate the concept I have in mind.

The other sticking point is pre-planned artillery, which could only be done at the beginning of the first phase. The Soviets will start as the attacker in all but the final battle (final will be a German counterattack in the first phase, flowing into resumption of the Soviet final assault for the remaining phases). A thought on that is to allow the Soviet player only a -2 conscript FO at start and then give him a better one in a later phase reinforcement wave. Spotting rounds would still need to be fired, but that could simulate heavier guns being limited to the start of a battle phase -- at least for the Soviet attacker. The heavy guns would be accurate for true pre-planned fire at the beginning of the 1st phase, and then accurate enough in the later phase(s) when a quality FO is provided with later arty.

Edited by Macisle

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Posted (edited)

I think what you describe would work.....So long as you are fully aware of the relationship between Destroy & Exit I'm sure you can find a VP solution that will prove satisfactory.

Have you considered setting Target Reference Points as reinforcements for the Soviet waves?  Place them on the map and then add them to the same Reinforcement Slot as the new wave.....I've no idea if this will actually work, but if it does it might prove useful.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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7 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

I think what you describe would work.....So long as you are fully aware of the relationship between Destroy & Exit I'm sure you can find a VP solution that will prove satisfactory.

Have you considered setting Target Reference Points as reinforcements for the Soviet waves?  Place them on the map and then add them to the same Reinforcement Slot as the new wave.....I've no idea if this will actually work, but if it does it might prove useful.

Yay -- we may be in business! I'd still really like for BF to add a point-neutral logistial exit option, but at least my concept may be possible if it doesn't happen.

That's a very interesting idea on using TRPs as reinforcements. I'll have to take a look at it. The cons (players knowing where the TRPs are on replay and lower level arty getting the benefit along with the intended heavy, "opening" arty) may outweigh the pros, but I hadn't considered the possibility, so it's good to know about.

Thanks!

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On 3/12/2018 at 5:22 PM, Macisle said:

Hey, guys. Thanks again for your help.

Unless I'm missing something, I'm not seeing what I need. I think I forgot to say that this is for a H2H situation. What I want to do is this:

  • In a H2H situation, have exit zones for each player on their respective friendly map edge.
  • Use standard casualty points for all units for both sides.
  • Terrain objectives are as normal and there are no actual exit objectives relating to scenario success.
  • Have a four-hour scenario that will cover the equivalent of four standard scenarios. As reinforcements arrive for later phases, the players will exit remaining units from the previous phase off their friendly map edge. Some units might stay (like AFVs that still have ammo), but enough house-clearing will need to happen to keep the Engine from choking due to a combination of high unit density and large map size.

The overall goal is to divide my 1.5 km master map into four slices to create four such four-hour battles with very simple rules to determine overall victory. Something like, the attacker must win the opening battle, one flank battle and the final battle. Again, that's four, four-hour battles adding up to the equivalent of a 16-scenario H2H campaign on four map areas, each of which will offer persistent damage over the four-hour fight on that particular map slice.

Is there any way to do this using the current system?

If not, we're back to my original post and hope for a new feature for the next engine upgrade.

Ensure the exit zones are thin and narrow along the friendly map edge and don't overlap them with the deployment zone otherwise players can mistakenly deploy units that will immediately exit.

I wasn't aware of the H2H angle when I posted above. I think your solution will work from a strict VP allocation standpoint, however you can't force a player to exit "X" Unit by "Y" time within a single scenario. If this is just one big scenario with successive waves I think players will just game the system and go for broke trying to overwhelm the enemy with a total of four waves of forces, ignore the exit objective to try and crush the enemy with a overwhelming mountain of forces. If the enemy surrenders it's total victory regardless if any forces exited. :) Once the players hit the big red button for the first time it's completely out of your hands how a players will react. Honest ones will play as intended but it's impossible to control for.

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36 minutes ago, Ithikial_AU said:

Ensure the exit zones are thin and narrow along the friendly map edge and don't overlap them with the deployment zone otherwise players can mistakenly deploy units that will immediately exit.

I wasn't aware of the H2H angle when I posted above. I think your solution will work from a strict VP allocation standpoint, however you can't force a player to exit "X" Unit by "Y" time within a single scenario. If this is just one big scenario with successive waves I think players will just game the system and go for broke trying to overwhelm the enemy with a total of four waves of forces, ignore the exit objective to try and crush the enemy with a overwhelming mountain of forces. If the enemy surrenders it's total victory regardless if any forces exited. :) Once the players hit the big red button for the first time it's completely out of your hands how a players will react. Honest ones will play as intended but it's impossible to control for.

Thanks. Yeah, will-do on making exits clear and separate from setup zones.

The con you describe, is of course, something to worry about. However, I'm not sure how much of a problem it will be. My idea at this point is to have the 7 reinforcent waves have large variation times, with both sides using all the wave slots. so, the attacker will never be sure what kind of numbers advantage he has at any given moment, despite the battle theoretically being divided into four phases. A massive building up forces by the attacker could find the defender building a super-robust defense in depth, with a large pool of artillery to rain down on the massed attacker. Also, the frame-rate hit and extended loading times may prove a huge incentive to keep numbers down.  That alone may solve the problem.

The map is an unusual, experimental thing. I may be wrong, but I think it's currently the most dense urban terrain in all of CM (the part being used in my video is actually the least dense area, aside from a few smaller park areas in other sections of the map). There are tons of places to hide (lots of custom modular constructions and bits of foliage/low-bocage tucked in) where units can ambush and fall back out of enemy LOS. What I'm hoping to achieve is to have large enough map slices for the defender to really use deep terrain (long distance fire and spotting from the taller buildings in the rear and such) and for both sides to maneuver around and even get small formations cut off and encircled (maybe even the attacker sometimes).

Of course, it remains to be seen how the map actually plays H2H and if my concept works. If it looks like players are able and likely to do undesirable things, then I can go with another idea.

May work, though.

 

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A thought regarding reinforcements...  What seems to happen too often is that the designer makes a set-up zone across the entire map edge while having the at start forces arranged on one small section - say the right hand side.  So a player (like me) rearranges the at start units to cover the whole edge.  When reinforcements arrive they are all grouped in one area - the left hand side.  It's like the designer wants the player to start the attack the way he set up the at start units, and the reinforcements are "supposed" to arrive to attack down the 2nd axis.  Of course by that time a player like me is buggered.

So, if you want a player to attack in a certain way, don't provide huge set up zones that encourage players to do a new set up to cover areas that the reinforcements are supposed to cover.  Or, better still, use the briefing to TELL the player where the reinforcements will arrive.

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Posted (edited)

Part of the issue is that the designer must manually place the reinforcing units on the map, on a small map they can be restricted as to where they can place them.....Ask me how I know!  ;)

4 hours ago, Macisle said:

The map is an unusual, experimental thing. I may be wrong, but I think it's currently the most dense urban terrain in all of CM (the part being used in my video is actually the least dense area, aside from a few smaller park areas in other sections of the map).

Don't forget about @LongLeftFlank's remarkable Ramadi map (this is just part of it, it's bigger now):

img_1029_01.jpg

If you need a volunteer to test scenario design ideas I'd be glad to help out.....I'm no expert, but I do know my way round the editor and I like experimenting with it to see what it will do.  I went to test the 'TRPs as reinforcements' idea, but sadly you can't even set them (or any other Fortifications) as a reinforcement (so there goes my idea for FASCAM too).  :(

PS - I recommend making exit zones at least two tiles deep at the map edge, if they are only one tile deep they can be hard to spot.  It may also be worth considering using several small exits painted as the same objective rather than one large one.  In preview mode the objective name ('EXIT HERE' or whatever) will be repeated over each painted area making the whole more visible.

PPS - Possibly worth noting for reference, two tile deep exit zones have a second advantage when used with AI controlled units.....In my experience the AI will not execute a Dash move order to a map edge tile, no idea why this might be so, simply reporting my experience.
 

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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6 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Part of the issue is that the designer must manually place the reinforcing units on the map, on a small map they can be restricted as to where they can place them.....Ask me how I know!  ;)

Don't forget about @LongLeftFlank's remarkable Ramadi map (this is just part of it, it's bigger now):

img_1029_01.jpg

If you need a volunteer to test scenario design ideas I'd be glad to help out.....I'm no expert, but I do know my way round the editor and I like experimenting with it to see what it will do.  I went to test the 'TRPs as reinforcements' idea, but sadly you can't even set them (or any other Fortifications) as a reinforcement (so there goes my idea for FASCAM too).  :(

PS - I recommend making exit zones at least two tiles deep at the map edge, if they are only one tile deep they can be hard to spot.  It may also be worth considering using several small exits painted as the same objective rather than one large one.  In preview mode the objective name ('EXIT HERE' or whatever) will be repeated over each painted area making the whole more visible.

PPS - Possibly worth noting for reference, two tile deep exit zones have a second advantage when used with AI controlled units.....In my experience the AI will not execute a Dash move order to a map edge tile, no idea why this might be so, simply reporting my experience.
 

 

Wow, that's beautiful! Superb work. I guess I was wrong! :D Make that WWII CM (uh...maybe), he-he. I don't have CMSF (and am not up on CMSF2 status), and so was unaware of that map. It looks like he is using the "faux cellar" technique that I am, which is to have areas in modular building complexes without windows to allow units to hide out of enemy LOS and get max protection from arty. Those work a treat and I love 'em.

Comparing his and my map, his is more dense in terms of building "squares" per area, but mine has larger complexes (multi-part modular) and more tall buildings. I've also got a ton of tall walls, but am trying to put in as much low bocage as possible to allow ambush and infantry concealment in movement. So, without having access to his map, I would say that movement may be less restricted on mine, while number of locations and cover may be about the same or possibly more. Dunno on that, though and it depends on the part of the map. Like I said, mine has larger complexes so units can engage, disengage and still be in the same building, while his seems to keep the number of modular pieces down. So, I'm not sure on the overall combat effect. Love his work there, though! Awesome. Makes me wish I could study it...

I'm also making sure that buildings have adequate doors. So, even if a unit does not have a DC, there is a way in. They may not always be safe, but players may find access and speed of navigation easier in my large complexes than they do on some stock maps where the individual buildings seem to have arbitrary door locations and/or a lack of a door where one feels like it should be.

Another thing I'm doing is making max use of roads. Mixing the types and making sure a road goes pretty much everwhere, along with using max foliage/low-bocage to provide cover seems the ticket for both navigation and a natural look. I've been very pleased with how troops and AFVs can get around. The only downside is that the AI will tend to follow the road, making it easy pickings sometimes. But in H2H play, folks can probably minimize that with good waypoint use.

Thanks very much for testing the TRP idea and the helpful feedback and tips you're giving. It is much appreciated. My map has a long way to go, but now I'm working on it in such as way as to finish up a usable slice area, so as to start some testing while I work on other areas. The first slice to make it to usable status will include the SW cut that is being used in my video series. The other side of the river is now completely done, but I need to go back and improve what is the setup area in the video. That was still first-pass when I played those turns. The actual combat area in the video is pretty close to done. Mainly, I need to smooth out the elevations a bit in some places, like the loading docks in Part 3.

Anyhoo, when ready, I'll drop you a line about testing. It'll be awhile yet, though. I've got to take a break right now and deal with some RL stuff.

A big thanks for your help. I'm looking VERY forward to having you blow up my map!:)

Oh, here's a pic of one of my factory areas. This is not the the most dense or tallest part of the map, but is representative of some sections. Believe it or not, but the maze-like layout actually more or less follows the real-life layout in modern Kharkov (minus the trees). The maze thing is mainly a result of angle restrictions in the Editor.  The factory complexes are also not the largest or funkiest ones, but I don't want to let out all of my secrets yet.

26504123738_e26fb3ac99_b.jpg

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I very much look forward to blowing your map up.  :D

LLF's Ramadi is quite a thing.....My whole Mosul map is about 1/3 of what's visible in that shot (the area I sliced out is fully contained in that image).

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My thoughts FWIW ...

Outstanding map first of the bat, I have been following your progress with this and what you have done so far is really good work.

With regard to all facts previously stated about the current operation of exit zones, I agree with everything said. This means we are now in the game of the nuances to pull this off and the main problem has already been pointed out ... you have no control over the player once they hit that red button. As a result the solution is always going to be about player incentives to play as intended.

First off, I don't think that poor frame rates will deter players from the compelling urge to win. I had shocking frame rates when I tested the final mission of @benpark's excellent Aachen campaign ... but my reasoning was ... after all I had got this far so I wanted to see if I could win. So it is largely going to boil down to a combination of your VP structure and campaign structure.

Now I'm pretty sure that the schematic below is nothing like your concept for your campaign, but I always find that pictures help get a point across ...

5aaa85e54005e_KharkovSchematic.jpg.a507487c7be3e0bc1fad1f50b8eb6959.jpg

To keep this simple, let's say that your campaign is a German Regimental attack by 173 Infanterie Regiment and to further simplify things I've ignored any supporting assets. As you can see I've broken the map into four reasonably logical chunks which has:

I Abt/173 attacking in Battle 1 in a 3 hour 30 minute battle with 15 minutes of variable time. The proposed force flow and associated VPs would be as follows:

  • 1 Kompanie worth 100 VPs with an associated exit zone on map at scenario start. This Kompanie would have limited or scarce ammunition.
  • 2 Kompanie worth 100 VPs with an associated exit zone arriving at 1 hr 15 as Reinforcement 1. This Kompanie would have limited or scarce ammunition.
  • 3 Kompanie with no VP value and no exit zone arriving at 2 hrs 30 as Reinforcement 2. This Kompanie would have a full loadout.
  • 4 Kompanie with no VP value and no exit zone on map at scenario start. This Kompanie would have a full loadout.

II Abt/173 attacking in Battle 2  in a 3 hour 30 minute battle with 15 minutes of variable time. The proposed force flow and associated VPs would be as follows:

  • 5 Kompanie worth 100 VPs with an associated exit zone on map at scenario start. This Kompanie would have limited or scarce ammunition.
  • 6 Kompanie worth 100 VPs with an associated exit zone arriving at 1 hr 15 as Reinforcement 1. This Kompanie would have limited or scarce ammunition.
  • 7 Kompanie with no VP value and no exit zone arriving at 2 hrs 30 as Reinforcement 2. This Kompanie would have a full loadout.
  • 8 Kompanie with no VP value and no exit zone on map at scenario start. This Kompanie would have a full loadout.

III Abt/173 attacking in Battle 3  in a 3 hour 30 minute battle with 15 minutes of variable time. The proposed force flow and associated VPs would be as follows:

  • 9 Kompanie worth 100 VPs with an associated exit zone on map at scenario start. This Kompanie would have limited or scarce ammunition.
  • 10 Kompanie worth 100 VPs with an associated exit zone arriving at 1 hr 15 as Reinforcement 1. This Kompanie would have limited or scarce ammunition.
  • 11 Kompanie with no VP value and no exit zone arriving at 2 hrs 30 as Reinforcement 2. This Kompanie would have a full loadout.
  • 12 Kompanie with no VP value and no exit zone on map at scenario start. This Kompanie would have a full loadout.

Battle 4 would be another 3 hour 30 minute battle with 15 minutes of variable time. In this one, elements of all three battalions take part

  • I Abt/173
    • 1 Kompanie
    • 2 Kompanie
    • 4 Kompanie
  • II Abt/173
    • 5 Kompanie
    • 6 Kompanie
    • 8 Kompanie
  • III Abt/173
    • 9 Kompanie
    • 10 Kompanie
    • 12 Kompanie

As a planning assumption for all of the battles, let's say that each company has 100 men giving a battalion strength of 400. A further associated assumption is that each company will take 50 casualties. Given those assumptions:

For battles 1,2 and 3, the Russian player will get 100 VPs if the German companies sustain 50 casualties per company but exit the remaining 50; however the Russian player will get 200 VPs if the German companies sustain 50 casualties per company but do not exit the remaining 50.

We can then compound this by using a parameter setting which also allows means that the German player knows not to be profligate with the companies that do not have VPs and exit zones associated with them. Again using our 50 casualty assumption, we can set this as a 'Friendly Casualty' parameter for the German player with a threshold of 51% for a VP value of say 400 VPs or set it as an 'Enemy Casualty' parameter for the Russian player with the same figures.

To make it simple, I'll use the 'Enemy Casualty' parameter. So by doing this, if the German player:

  • Suffers 50 casualties in each of his first two companies and does not exit them.
  • Suffers 51 casualties in his third rifle company
  • Suffers 51 casualties in his heavy weapons company
  • The Russian player gets 600 VPs

If the German player:

  • Suffers 50 casualties in each of his first two companies and exits them.
  • Suffers 51 casualties in his third rifle company
  • Suffers 51 casualties in his heavy weapons company
  • The Russian player gets 500 VPs

As you can see the compound doesn't really change much in terms of the incentives to exit the VP with associated exit companies but by having the mechanism, you are at least giving the player something to think about for those units that don't have the exit zones. Also of course the VP figures are simplified for the sake of argument so I would play around with those and I would certainly look at weighting the VP levels for the exit zone companies so that the player gets really hammered for not exiting units. By doing this, you then give yourself more scope to look at your other VPs (eg terrain objectives etc) and how you set your victory conditions (more of this later).

The ammunition levels will require some testing, but this is part of the mechanism to convince the player to exit the first two rifle companies along with giving them the VP incentive to do so associated with the exit zones. The simple premise here is that you give them enough ammunition to fight for the 1 hour and 15 minute block of time you want them to remain in the battle. While I know that units can cross level ammunition, if you get the settings right in your testing, the player will work out that there is no point in keeping an out of ammunition company on the map - particularly when you combine that with the exit zone VP incentive.

The next thing is your campaign structure which you can use to further convince the player to remove units from the map in the initial scenarios. In my example above, Battle 4 comprises the rifle companies that you want to exit in Battles 1,2 and 3 plus the respective heavy weapons companies. If you communicate this up front, you are using the natural urge of campaign players to preserve those units that they are going to need later on (namely the VP and exit zone associated rifle companies).

A further means of convincing the player that it would be a good idea to exit units will be through the campaign script and individual scenario victory conditions. To throw out just one example, you could write your script as follows:

  • Total Victory = 100% chance of troops being rested and resupplied with ammunition.
  • Major Victory = 100% chance of troops being resupplied with ammunition.
  • Minor Victory = 100% chance of troops being rested.

The rationale or backstory to this is that if they are pulled out of the line early, they have time to rest and bomb up, if they aren't then they have no time to do this.

Again you would need to communicate this concept to the player at the outset.

You'll note that I haven't said much about Battle 4 in terms of detail and this is deliberate, because I think you can add variety here too in a simple and plausible way. Although I have specified elements that could be in Battle 4, you could of course write your script so that only elements that scored a victory in their first battle can take part in the final battle. As an example, let's say that II Abt/173 suffered a 'Minor Defeat' in Battle 2 while I Abt/173 won Battle 1 and III Abt/173 won Battle 3. This would mean that Battle 4 would be fought by the following units:

  • I Abt/173
    • 1 Kompanie
    • 2 Kompanie
    • 4 Kompanie
  • III Abt/173
    • 9 Kompanie
    • 10 Kompanie
    • 12 Kompanie

Finally, you'll note that I've gone for a maximum battle length of 3 hours 30 minutes with 15 minutes of variable time. The only reason I've done this is to ensure that you don't get any unwanted early surrenders in any of the battles. This allows you to have a 'never arrives' reserve to stop an AI surrender. Now I know that you are planning this as H2H where the surrender mechanism is not relevant but if you build in this flexibility at the outset, it allows you to easily turn this into a German vs the AI campaign.

Anyway - just some thoughts ...

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Combatintman,

A big thanks for your excellent, extended feedback and suggestions. I know that took a lot of time and it is much appreciated. Thanks also for the compliments!

I'll need some time to digest what you have presented. I'm tied up with work until about mid-week.

Since you have posted this and the map is a little further along, it might be a good time for me to start posting about my ideas for the campaign. So, maybe I'll take what you have presented here and copy it over to the map thread when I'm ready to post.

I'm planning on the Soviets being the attacker. The reason for this is primarily because the Germans tend to be the center of attention and I want to throw the soviets a bone. A close second reason is that I think play balance will be easier with the Germans having high-quality troops (SS panzergrens) on defense against lesser-quality Soviets on the attack. That way, the Soviet small arms advantage in urban combat is balanced out and the attacker also gets the benefit of the high ammo loadouts of the T-34/76 for area fire.

Thanks again on your great post. Look for me posting about it late next week or over next weekend.

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Posted (edited)

Some additional thoughts that could be done on top of Combatintman's initial idea, (from my own head scratching for my project, so perhaps more for a "Player vs AI" option rather than H2H):

- Give the player say 3 attempts to clear each map. In their final attempt he is given a lot of heavy artillery/supprt to help push things along since you won't need to wrry about map damage carrying over in this case.

- You could really design this campaign up to make it heavily time influenced. If the player takes longer in early battles by the time of the Map 4 assault the players who have ebeen able to keep to the 'operation schedule' would fight this in say mid-afternoon, while those that have fallen behind taking longer to clear Maps 1, 2 and 3 are forced to go into an urban fight in fading light.

-  You good do a whole regiment with multiple battatlions with one battaltion on each map. Whatever is left is pushed into Map 4 for the final fight. COmputer should be able to cope since the unit count won't be anywhere near 100% by this stage. Alternatively you could have a 'decision making' scenario before the player commits to Map 4 stating do they want to use their North or South based forces to push into Map 4. You could do this between each engagement on Map 4 actually so the player can pick what forces he thinks are best suited to take on the final assault at that time.

Ideas, ideas, ideas... :D

Edited by Ithikial_AU

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ithikial_AU said:

Some additional thoughts that could be done on top of Combatintman's initial idea, (from my own head scratching for my project, so perhaps more for a "Player vs AI" option rather than H2H):

- Give the player say 3 attempts to clear each map. In their final attempt he is given a lot of heavy artillery/supprt to help push things along since you won't need to wrry about map damage carrying over in this case.

- You could really design this campaign up to make it heavily time influenced. If the player takes longer in early battles by the time of the Map 4 assault the players who have ebeen able to keep to the 'operation schedule' would fight this in say mid-afternoon, while those that have fallen behind taking longer to clear Maps 1, 2 and 3 are forced to go into an urban fight in fading light.

-  You good do a whole regiment with multiple battatlions with one battaltion on each map. Whatever is left is pushed into Map 4 for the final fight. COmputer should be able to cope since the unit count won't be anywhere near 100% by this stage. Alternatively you could have a 'decision making' scenario before the player commits to Map 4 stating do they want to use their North or South based forces to push into Map 4. You could do this between each engagement on Map 4 actually so the player can pick what forces he thinks are best suited to take on the final assault at that time.

Ideas, ideas, ideas... :D

Thanks for the brainstorming, Ithikial.

At this point, I want to keep things as simple as possible so players don't have to do much or any thinking about what to play next or remember beyond one or two easy rules. I think that offers the best chance of them making it through the H2H campaign. I'm really hoping other designers will like the map enough to make SP campaigns and both SP and H2H scenarios from it. I think it has huge potential for those. Quite a lot of small scenarios could be made from it. I just can't commit to any of that -- if I want to stay married, that is :P.

Since the beginning of the project, giving the defender a regiment, to be divided up for the various battles has been the idea, though it's not set in stone. Of course, the attacker will get more. But I won't know until I get more into fleshing things out and/or bump up against problems.

Currently, I'll probably have two versions of the first battle. So, if the attacker loses, he gets one more shot on a damaged version of the same slice, with more solid battle lines at start than on the first attempt, where recon forces are initially bumping into each other and the battle gradually solidifies into the attacker attempting to push through a line that the defender has formed as reinforcements arrive.

Then there will be two battles for the flanks, which could be played at the same time, one of which must be won by the attacker. Finally, there is the final battle, which gives the defender a shot at counterattacking initially, but then duking it out with heavier Soviet reinforcements for the grand finale in the NW corner.

So, the attacker can lose two battles total and must win at least three overall -- the first (2 tries), one flank, and the final.

However, I may need to massage the number of battles to meet the reality of how the master actually slices. I haven't sat down and done that yet. The core idea looks good at this point, though, I think.

FYI, here are some earlier ideas I had when I thought I was going to do a lot of smaller slices:

  • Attack Points: The attacker gets a limited number of attack points and must spend one point per battle. If he wins, he has secured that slice and may choose an adjacent slice for his next battle. If he loses, he can try again by paying another attack point. So, he either makes it to the final battle and wins it, or he runs out of attack points and loses the campaign.
    Variations: The defender gets a small number of counterattack points and can use them to take back lost adjacent territory, perhaps only after a loss by the attacker. An extra variation could be that a given number of losses by the attacker generates counterattack points for the defender. Or, the counterattack points could be produced by the number of battles played. Lots of options here.
  • Advance and Clear Flanks: The attacker chooses an adjacent map slice to attack. If successful, he must then attack any uncleared "flank" slices adjacent to the newly acquired slice. Thus, he cannot advance two slices in a line if there are uncleared adjacent slices. If he loses a battle, then that slice is blocked and he must find another route to attempt to eventually make his way to the final victory location. If he loses too many battles, then he will lack a path to the final goal and thus has lost the campaign.

I like both these ideas (especially the attack points -- which could also be combined with the advance and clear flank rules), but they add some overhead for players. Not that much, though. A big drawback is lack of persistent damage. However, as the designer, the dealbreaker is the number of scenarios I'd have to make. I'm just not up for it.

Once the master is released, maybe someone else will give one of these a shot.

Edited by Macisle

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11 hours ago, Macisle said:

Once the master is released, maybe someone else will give one of these a shot.

If someone could convert it to CM:BS I'd certainly be up for a shot at that.....I like modern urban fights.

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