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By any measure the expansion of option in the Campaign script can hardly be described as an operational layer. The latter type of simulation must encompass considerations such as supply, logistics, R&R, the management of many different types of units not just combat units and how all these components effectively interact with each other. Combat Ops (albeit with its flaws) is perhaps the best example of a such a simulation of ww2 operational warfare.

it's easy to appreciate how remote CM is from something accurately reflecting combat at the operational level, and why Bf steer well clear of developing it for CM; i mean why consider doing it unless you can ensure you can do it well! Anything less thorough than Combat Ops would only prove to be a massive disappointment!

The current CM campaign mode is nothing more than providing a broader context and tracking of player progress over a series of battles. It is not an operational layer and it's clear it never will develop into this.   

To my mind there are only two realistic possibilities for the future:

1) Campaigns could very easily be activated for 2 player H2H email play. I'm confident this will happen at some point and Steve did acknowledge once upon a time that it would be at least be considered at some point in the future. I think the more people indicate they would like this feature, the more likely it will happen because if Bf don't think there is the demand for it, then they won't invest time to do it. 

2) The tracking data from battle results could be dumped as an .xml file which players could then use to set up or load into another game that plays out operational tasks and actions. I think this was the hope with the community led development of a game  - as stickied on the forums - but has clearly now fallen on stony ground. Because no one could make use of such a feature straight out of the traps, I cannot see this feature coming to pass... like ever.

The proposition to add more than a binary direction to the single player campaigns is not going to significantly add anything to CM in this regard. The proposal merely adds multiple possible narratives to a set narrative  - rather like one of those RPG story books where the reader navigates a path through the narrative by a series of choices. Whilst novel at first, it would soon lose appeal because it wouldn't add anything significantly different or immersive to the current gaming experience. and that's assuming that campaign designers wanted to make use of such a feature in any case, which is questionable.  

H2H campaigns however is a game changer. By exercising a little imagination the community (even Bf scenario designers) will be able to build campaigns that combine single player battles against the AI with H2H battles. Suddenly, the one-sided steam roller attack against the AI has context alongside the knife-edge tactical fight with a human opponent.  This would get away from the balance that's required in scenario battles to keep 2 players interested and introduce an immersive quality that you are fighting in something much bigger and more meaningful. It means every kind of scenario arising from operational level decisions could all have critical game play value; the players engaging with the narratives by connecting more tangibly with their own successes or shortcomings. I suspect the possibilities would be prised open such that H2H scenario designers would be incentivised to go a step further and become H2H campaign designers. Net result more campaigns created than scenarios for the community. A big big win - this is surely the way forward to add value to CM gameplay and it requires little investment effort on the part of Bf. Please make it happen Bf!! 

 

Edited by The Steppenwulf

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I understand the desire for this type of thing.. but to be honest, with these games that are so low level and require so much micro-management it would take a loong time to play out an entire Operation at the CM level.  I never play Campaigns in game because they are not H2H, sadly, as I think that would be fun.  But an Operational layer?  I don't know.. I am very happy with having my digital sandbox to play out any scenario on any map against the best human opposition I can find... I love that aspect of the game.  

Just one man's opinion.

Bil

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1 minute ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I understand the desire for this type of thing.. but to be honest, with these games that are so low level and require so much micro-management it would take a loong time to play out an entire Operation at the CM level.

Yikes indeed. I could see a few of my regular opponents singing up for a multi battle two year game. But not everyone - that's for sure. Where this could work though is with a group of people. There are a couple of operational level games going on at The Few Good Men site. These games have an umpire running the whole thing, a command structure for making the operational decisions and field commanders who actually play the CM games under the orders of the force commander. I quite like this way of going. A field commander can be involved in multiple battles or only a few.

Battle of the Bluge

Highway to Hell

Cracking the Nut

So this can be done NOW even without any feature from CM. I am certain that detailed battle results and TO&E import export features would really help and make the umpire's job much much easier though and would be appreciated.

 

1 minute ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

 I never play Campaigns in game because they are not H2H, sadly, as I think that would be fun. 

Yes, this. I think this would be great too. I can see myself switching to this way of playing for over half my games if that were available. Please, please pretty please make this happen one day @Battlefront.com

 

1 minute ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

But an Operational layer?  I don't know.. I am very happy with having my digital sandbox to play out any scenario on any map against the best human opposition I can find... I love that aspect of the game.

True. I personally don't see BFC actually doing this themselves. It would be good to see some features to help those that are running operational level games but that's about as far as they might go. But hey who know what cool ideas Steve might surprise us with.

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On 7/16/2018 at 7:19 PM, IICptMillerII said:

An operational layer is actually pretty easy to simulate with any of the CM games. The trick is creating the maps used for the tactical battles. It takes a long time, more so if you aren't great with the editor (like me).

CMSF2 will have the same multiplayer capabilities as all the other CM games do now. That means you will get PBEM WEGO, and you will be able to watch the replay of each turn. You will also be able to direct connect with the enforced pause every minute. CMSF2 is not introducing new features to the CM series, but bringing CMSF up to the current standard all other games (minus CM:A) currently operate at.  

Yes, the same............glad we got the WEGO turn replay back in a while ago, you can't watch it more than once like in the old days :)

For RT play do you still have to beg your opponent for a pause?

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On 7/17/2018 at 9:58 PM, IanL said:

Yikes indeed. I could see a few of my regular opponents singing up for a multi battle two year game. But not everyone - that's for sure. Where this could work though is with a group of people. There are a couple of operational level games going on at The Few Good Men site. These games have an umpire running the whole thing, a command structure for making the operational decisions and field commanders who actually play the CM games under the orders of the force commander. I quite like this way of going. A field commander can be involved in multiple battles or only a few.

So this can be done NOW even without any feature from CM. I am certain that detailed battle results and TO&E import export features would really help and make the umpire's job much much easier though and would be appreciated.
@Battlefront.com

 

Yep, and the ability to import the state of the map after a battle (including wrecked vehicles if possible) would be great. :) I'm thinking like the CMBB days.

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My hope for implementing an operational layer lies in multiplayer. There could be a real time operational map that would move as players win battles. Lets get the Hearts of Iron team onboard! :D

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10 minutes ago, Artkin said:

There could be a real time operational map that would move as players win battles.

You mean like CM1 featured?  :)   Maybe CM3 could be a remake of CM1 with better graphics.   

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Well, the good news is CM1 (CMBB and CMAK) are very inexpensive.  (I wouldn't recommend CMBO as it was a less sophisticated first version.) 

Also, if you heavily mod the CM1 games I found that at level 3 and higher views, they look almost as good as a CM2 game.

There are a HUGE number of CM1 mods, but it would also take a huge amount of effort to find em all.  The easiest way to mod the CM1 games is to get the entire BMP folder with all mods from a CM1 veteran (like me lol).   

Am not looking for work, but if you do get the CM1 games and have drop box, I'd be happy to upload my folders.

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Ahh, CM1 operations are not at all like a true operational layer that people actually want. CM1 operations are like a series of quick battles where the front like moves as battles are win and lost.

I see no point in looking to CM1 for inspiration.

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"...operational map that would move as players win battles."

That's what it looked like Artkin was referring to.  It would be great if CM3 brought back that feature for campaigns - esp since CM3 is now being mentioned.  :)

3 hours ago, IanL said:

CM1 operations are like a series of quick battles where the front like moves as battles are win and lost.

 

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21 hours ago, Artkin said:

I haven't tried CM1 yet but I probably should. Still anticipating SF2 like a little girl over here. 

What is the latest on the estimate on SF 2 anyways? I know BF is tight-lipped on these things......are we looking at 2018 or 19?

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Regarding the operational level question, please remember the roots of CM. if I remember correctly, Steve and Charles began by developing a PC version of Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) until Avalon Hill, or Hasbro, pulled the plug on that project. I remember commenting to a friend who got me into CMBB that I could see the underpinnings of ASL (minus the dice rolls, to hits, to kills, checking the rule book, and etc.) in the engine of CMBB. To date, Battlefront has stayed true to that model of battalion size battles or smaller. The only difference I can see is that some ASL. modules included campaigns that could cover time frames of up to a number of days. Since I can't code, or even develop a proper scenario, i can't even to begin to imagine how labor intensive and time consuming it is to develop such a campaign.

I too am a member of Few Good Men, and was intrigued by their operational campaign structure, however, it just doesn't fit my level of play. There is a really good branching CMBN campaign called "Sie Kommen" that is very intricate. I've just never had the opportunity for a play through. We also have some good branching campaigns in CM. Two of which I can think of offhand are CMBN "Devil's Descent" and the American campaign in CMBS.

IMHO, Battlefront is (I assume) simply following their original business model of squad to battalion sized actions. I personally don't feel I could manage anything larger. I struggled with the size of "My Honor is Loyalty" which was a Brit battalion with armor and infantry, and an SS battalion with the same make-up, and "Dunes of Erde" (both H2H PBEM).

For those of you who look for an operational level campaign, try experimenting with designing a campaign tot is close to what you want. Some scenario and campaign designers have done amazing things that don't require the time and money of having to do it by Battlefront. I for one am perfectly happy with what we have. If I decide I want something with an operational level, I'll buy the game from a producer that specializes in that type of game play.

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