Jump to content
WriterJWA

How I view most scenarios and the designers...

Recommended Posts

14 hours ago, domfluff said:

Each squad is split into two fireteams of 4/5 guys. One of these fireteams are your scouting element.

Each forward scouting fireteam maintains visual contact with it's parent squad, and ideally visual contact with the other scout team. Each scout team moves alternately as well.

The hq element remains in c2 with the stationary part of the squad. Technology and terrain will dictate distance here, but staying in shouting distance (6 squares, I think?) is a reasonable assumption.

The HQ element should be active - their job is to maintain C2 to keep the volume of fire up, and to pick up and share spotting contacts - running them over to the engaged squad will help both of these, and taking one or both mgs with them will allow for a base of fire to be created.

 

5 hours ago, domfluff said:

four will spot faster themselves. Four men with an LMG (or three with an RPG-7) also have a chance to to defend themselves through fires, or alternatively put out effective recon by fire.

the main thing that dictates who wins a firefight is suppression - C2 links play a huge part in winning that suppression battle.

there are two defined types of recon. "Passive" recon is the more intuitive, and generally takes a long time and relies on stealth. "Active" recon doesn't rely on stealth, is an awful lot faster, and instead uses firepower to protect and gain information. "Recon by fire" is clearly an Active recon task,  "Fighting for information" is the term, and it can be pretty useful in CM terms.

+2  Interesting stuff.  I may have to re-visit my scouting SOPs.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, peter thomas said:

Sgt Squarehead - which title is your Mosul scenario for? 

CMSF1 (NATO Module required).

51 minutes ago, MOS:96B2P said:

And be prepared to suffer from PTSD before the end of the mission :D.  +1

ISIS are not well renowned for their 'niceness':ph34r:

TBH I'd do things rather differently with the CMSF2 engine, even more so if it had persistent map damage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Ithikial_AU said:

Complete 'Terrain Objective 1' receive Z victory points. However take it before X minutes then you will receive an additional Y victory points. This would allow designers to break up the degrees of victory based on how competent the player is at acheiving the scenario objectives rather than it being a black and white yes/no proposition. It would be very handy in campaigns.

Dramatically frees up designers to be a bit more liberal in time allocation. In reality a whole operation is not going to be called off because B Company was half an hour late clearing that village. The company commander may get his a bit of a talking to however. :)

Example 2 - On Defence

If you can hold Terrain Objective for X minutes you get Y victory points. This allows for the modelling of delaying action scenarios by designers, making the prospect of fighting a defence scenario a bit more appealing especially against the AI.

Yup.  Could not agree more.  Hopefully we'll see this in CM3. 

However, in the meanwhile all that designers can do with CM2 is create a scenario that only experienced players can win, but with reinforcement options that players who need extra forces can call in voluntarily.  For example, the reinforcements can stay hidden in their set-up positions with no VP penalty.  However, the enemy gets points for spotting any of these reinforcements.  So, if the reinforcements move and are spotted/used in combat, the player loses VP's.

11 hours ago, MikeyD said:

The scenario designer may know there's only two snipers between me and the destination but I don't know that. Every terrain fold, every stone wall, every gap between houses must be treated with suspicion. Which eats up valuable time. Even adding another 10 minutes is often a huge help to me.

This is how I play as well.  In RL one has to assume that every bit of cover or building has an enemy waiting in ambush... so need to act similarly in this simulation.  But that requires roleplaying, a lot of patience, and a longer scenario time duration.

The problem is that many players (perhaps weaned on wrist twitch FPS games) just want to rush in and get some action, start shooting asap and do not care about friendly casualties. How to satisfy both markets is a challenge for BF.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, domfluff said:

I was thinking the other day that "Occupy for X minutes" would be a huge thing to add to CM - it would allow for a ton of missions to be created (searching for x, rescuing a downed pilot, etc.) - things which currently have to abstract through touch objectives or "hold till the end of the scenario" objectives.

This would be another excellent addition, as would Reinforcement by Trigger/Objective etc.  B)

2 hours ago, Erwin said:

However, in the meanwhile all that designers can do with CM2 is create a scenario that only experienced players can win, but with reinforcement options that players who need extra forces can call in voluntarily.  For example, the reinforcements can stay hidden in their set-up positions with no VP penalty.  However, the enemy gets points for spotting any of these reinforcements.  So, if the reinforcements move and are spotted/used in combat, the player loses VP's.

I believe this can already be achieved (but only if the player is strictly honest with himself) by placing some or all of the available reinforcements on hidden Occupy Objectives, however gamey players might attempt to re-occupy the objectives with decimated squads/crews etc. etc.  :rolleyes:

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Erwin said:

However, in the meanwhile all that designers can do with CM2 is create a scenario that only experienced players can win, but with reinforcement options that players who need extra forces can call in voluntarily.  For example, the reinforcements can stay hidden in their set-up positions with no VP penalty.  However, the enemy gets points for spotting any of these reinforcements.  So, if the reinforcements move and are spotted/used in combat, the player loses VP's.

I'm not totally sure, but I think that having more troops in total means also having better force morale overall. So those reinforcements would greatly bolster morale, even if they are not used...

Edited by Bulletpoint

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

I think that having more troops in total means also having better force morale overall. So those reinforcements would greatly bolster morale, even if they are not used...

Good point.....I'm pretty (absolutely) sure you are correct. 

However if we are using this concept to assist players new to the CM games, that's probably not the end of the world.  It allows the designer the scope to set up some genuinely nasty side-challenges (to keep the experienced player occupied) while letting the novice have a real chance of overcoming any errors that they may inadvertently make through inexperience.

Overall I approve.  ;)

PS - Going to experiment with the hidden Occupy Objective, fairly confident it's a goer, but it never hurts to check.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the purpose of designing a scenario that forces players to sacrifice troops just to meet an unreasonably tight time schedule? What lesson or message should I learn from this?

I don't mean to be a wet blanket. I love this game and the way it tries to get close as possible to representing on-the-ground realities as best as possible. But I just finished another campaign scenario where I had to basically run across a klick or two of ground in an hour just to meet a super-tight schedule. Nothing bugs me more than to have to have to blow troops just to meet the demands of an unreasonably choked time table. I'd edit the campaign, but I don't know how.... Has someone modified these campaigns to allot for more time?? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, WriterJWA said:

What's the purpose of designing a scenario that forces players to sacrifice troops just to meet an unreasonably tight time schedule? What lesson or message should I learn from this?

That's just poor/lazy design.  That's why increasingly I stick with the designers who have a track record of making very good scenarios and campaigns.  (It's kinds like the Hollywood "star" system.)  :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terrain objectives are ok as long as the scenario designer doesn't place them in a manner that forces the player to adopt a foolish strategy. I often saw lots of terrain objectives that were placed on things like open road junctions or required you to clear out an entire 1000mx1000m forest.... No commander, even the stupid ones, would actually put men on some of the Clear objectives we've had in these games. It's also insane to expect the player  to clear out really big forests with so little time and so few tools to do it. Especially when in many cases commanders wouldn't even bother, they'd just cordon the forest off and move on. The given objectives are often placed in such a way that no one would value them. 

Edited by SimpleSimon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, SeinfeldRules said:

I wonder if negative scores for objectives would work? Could have a hidden touch objective surrounding the extra forces that will trip when a player moves units out.

AFAIK no.  :unsure:

2 hours ago, WriterJWA said:

What's the purpose of designing a scenario that forces players to sacrifice troops just to meet an unreasonably tight time schedule? What lesson or message should I learn from this?

That sometimes operational level units are given less than perfect orders from above.  :rolleyes:

1 hour ago, Erwin said:

That's just poor/lazy design.

How would you know?  :huh:

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For purposes of my argument below I'm defining the following terms as:

Tools - Units given the player to fight the engagement.

Parameters - Map size, time limits, objectives etc, the variables that can be adjusted by the designer to promote a certain type of play.

Purely my opinion but the best scenarios in CM are the ones where the designers give the player a clear objective (and secondaries if applicable), a set of tools to use and then let them loose to solve the problem in any way they see fit. When designers start reducing parameters like time allocation and map sizes/design in certain ways they are promoting a certain type of play. This usually means designers are restricting the player to follow a linear path to completing the objectives. Inappropiate map sizes for the forces provided to both sides and restrictive time limits are the usual things I've noticed that designers turn to increase difficulty or try to push the player to follow a historical pathway. Even with some of the stock scenarios I've played, I've come away thinking did they just reduce 30mins from the time allocation to up the difficulty?

That's not to say time shouldn't be a factor for scenarios and racing the clock is certainly viable in some situations, however design and narratively speaking it has to make sense. If you are assualting an entrenched enemy position and you as the player are told you are commanding the main effort, your superior officer is not going to care if it takes you an extra 30 minutes to take that final position. This is where my victory points allocated by time taken comes into play and frees up designers to be more flexible when setting a scenarios parameters. If you take that final objective but you required those extra 30 minutes you won't get the additional victory points that would of made it a total victory... but please keep fighting the battle until you complete it.

Oh and if you are designing a campaign and force me to rush a large map within an hour and then expect the same force to do it all over again with no replacements... :) 

85c.png

@George MC is still the master of getting the balance between tools and parameters right in my opinion. If you haven't played this one yet, you've been missing out... :D

http://www.thefewgoodmen.com/tsd3/cm-red-thunder/cm-red-thunder-add-ons-scenarios/der-ring-der-5-panzer-division/

My thoughts above also do not mean all battles need to be battalion(+) affairs to give the player variety, however the time allocation and map size should be adjusted based on amount of and the type of forces involved in the battle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Broadly, I think there are two types of CM scenarios (with a lot of overlap).

You have scenarios that are trying to create a narrative, and you have scenarios that are more "sandbox" in nature.

The latter tend to be of the form: "You have a by-the-book US Rifle company, and you have to take that position how you see fit, go", and tend to be sandbox games.

The former tend to look like Tactical Decision Games "You have a US rifle company, and you have to take that position, BUT x and y condition", or even "You have a rifle company, you take those positions, oh lawd there's a panzer platoon coming"


I do think there's room for both, but since CM doesn't have the strongest tools for creating narrative (scripting, etc.), the sandbox scenarios are frequently stronger.

This means that the limitations on those need to be a little more lax. For a Tactical Decision Game, you can ask questions like "how would you defend this village from an armoured attack, with only handheld anti-tank weaponry?", and this can be an engaging puzzle, but the Sandbox style should be more like "How would you defend this village from an armoured attack with a rifle platoon?".

Limited timings can be an important tool for both of these. There are endless scenarios where the balance isn't quite right - scenario design and testing is hard - but to ignore time is pretty much the same thing as ignoring any other limitations ("I don't have enough AT guns", "I don't have enough troops", etc.). For the TDG-style scenario, this can be part of the point - you might have to work out how to achieve an objective under severe time pressure, and that's as authentic a situation as anything. For a sandbox-style, I would suggest that the timings should be a little more lax, since you're allowing room for creativity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

 

That sometimes operational level units are given less than perfect orders from above.  :rolleyes:

A childish excuse for what is just laziness on the part of the scenario designer. I am curious what scenarios you have been designing Squarehead if any? I just wan't to know who's scenarios I should be cracking open in the editor first before I waste any of my time trying to play through them. Should I include yours? 

Quote

How would you know?  :huh:

It doesn't take a PhD to spot sloppy work. It doesn't even take a high school diploma to spot the salt of a bad craftsman who's realizes he's been caught by cheated customers. Don't you agree? 

Edited by SimpleSimon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have followed this with some interest.  Designers are by nature passionate.  They want you to feel as well as think.  Time compression can be used to great affect when used

in company with distance, difficult terrain, or weather.  Add to these stressors Units limited in size or capability and the designer is moving the player towards the nightmare of

command.

There are some great Combat Mission designers who have honed their craft since the early days of CM.  They evolved has the games' editor and AI offered more tools and choices.

But these artisans often feel handcuffed by the one absolutely uncontrollable factor-- The Player.  How a player "feels" about a specific scenario-- its' balance, time, triggers, units, and objectives vary so widely as to be, in the end, somewhat useless. I grant that the novice designer can learn from creative advice. And Great designers can, too. But as a general rule the designer must follow his or hers'  vision...Not the players.  

One final thought (and what triggered me to write) There are NO lazy designers.

 

Edited by MarkEzra
layout

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must admit this often makes me angry. There are so many great campaigns and missions out there with their fun completely taken away by enforcing those cheap time limits, especially in the WW2 titles but also the modern titles suffer from this: If I recall correctly the Black Sea BP1 campaigns were just outright absurd in this matter. "Hm I have no idea how to present the player with challenges, let him do this assault in 5 minutes, works every time"

- do proper recon before the main body develops an assault? - nope, recon are just another word for light assault infantry.

- establish proper base of fire element covering assault elements? forget it

- pick up the wounded and dead? - no time for that nonsense, there are no score points given for that, and points are everything in a real war right?

- reserve your artillery elements for important moments? - nah best is to unleash them before even the missions starts as calling them in may take half of your mission timer away and we got no time to wait for artillery strikes or support to arrive unless you´re ready to run your troops into your own artillery, I suggest just throw bodies at that enemy MG.

- carefully work your way forward and exchange units that suffered casualties and stress with reserve elements? Sure why not but won´t take long and you´ll notice that there are only ten minutes left and half of the map is still not under your control, just end up spamming those quick and fast commands and have fun getting your pixeltruppen killed like in a C&C game because time is money and manpower is not important right?

Disabling time limits or extending them manually is requested since the stone ages but you hear the same two arguments:

a) in the real world time is also very important and "insert babble about the hard truth of war operations here".  I served and read enough about every modern conflict out there that I can promise you that no modern army in the world demanded such gains in so short time from you like it is daily business in many of the CM scenarios. No not even Peiper and company was demanded to storm 5 heavily defended villages in 45 minutes.

b) the AI actions are tied to the timer and because of that allegedly the timer can´t be disabled or extended. 1st) in most scenarios there is not much going on with the AI in the last minutes, in fact you notice that in most there are no AI commands or waypoint given out by the script anymore, they just hold their positions being completely passive except their built in 4.0 behaviour, they could do that for hours. This is especially true for the scenarios where you have to attack which is basically 95% of what you have to do in CM.

I get it that some hardcore WEGO CM vets playing this for 20 years may accomplish everything with 10-30 minutes remaining on the ticker in scenarios while I´m suffering to take  half of the objectives in time... So what? Good job! They can be proud now and hit the cease fire like a hero and be happy. Why scenario designers always assume "okay lets remove that spare time and everything is fine" forcing everyone to eat this artifical difficulty.

Take this post with a grain of salt but I don´t know how often it get so annoyed to realize that I started one of the CM scenarios and campaigns, applying real life tactics and procedures you´ve learned or read about, just to find me in the usual endgame rushing click- and die-fest more resembling one of these Korean starcraft matches than real world ground operations. This is extremely fun-limiting especially when you´re one of these roleplayers that focus more on recreating/reliving what-if moments, who just don´t do everything for the sake of getting some gamey virtual highscore. I wouldn´t even care if I get a Marginal Victory or a Draw but often you don´t know if your campaign is botched and lost just because you didn´t Zerg Rush the objectives or wasted your time with "silly" things like recon or real life tactics.

I really hope one day this custom and game mechanic changes allowing for individual preferences or that a hacker comes by and finds a way to cheat-modify the time limit 😂

Edited by Mattis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, MarkEzra said:

But as a general rule the designer must follow his or hers'  vision...Not the players.  

One final thought (and what triggered me to write) There are NO lazy designers.

 

This

Critical feedback is appreciated. It does help a designer improve their craft if done in a productive way, but hearing someone call designers lazy who refuses to open the editor is not particularly productive. 

If you like scenarios done a particular way and you find designers don’t share your vision then maybe you need to try your hand and see if your vision is actually possible.  Designers of official game release scenarios are under specific guidance from BF in terms of making scenarios able to be played in multiple modes and sides. Player community provided scenarios are under no such constraints. 

 

Edited by sburke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, sburke said:

@Mattisyou do know for scenarios you can open the editor anytime you like and change the time length to whatever you so chose right? Doing so will not reveal any intel or details and takes all of a minute. 

No I didn´t know that but this sounds awesome. Can this be done with campaign files also? By unpacking them modifying all missions and the repacking them?

Edited by Mattis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MarkEzra said:

 

But these artisans often feel handcuffed by the one absolutely uncontrollable factor-- The Player.  How a player "feels" about a specific scenario-- its' balance, time, triggers, units, and objectives vary so widely as to be, in the end, somewhat useless. I grant that the novice designer can learn from creative advice. And Great designers can, too. But as a general rule the designer must follow his or hers'  vision...Not the players.  

If a designer feels handcuffed by the player then in my opinion, he's going about his designing the wrong way. His job to enable the player, to allow him to solve the puzzle he has placed before him and to equip him with the tools to do this. A designers "vision" sounds conspicuously like a script to me. A scripted scenario with a single expected outcome or approach is in my humble opinion, a bad scenario. If the designer is making a point about harsh war can be they are perfectly welcome to warn the player about that in the Notes or out of the back end of the scenario by scoring the player's actions fairly and not maliciously. I am at the end of my limit though for excuses. I am not a soldier, I am paying customer and I expect quality in the product I paid for. I get that the scenario designers see no compensation for their work that sucks, the editing tools are hard to use and time consuming. Nobody makes them do this however and you cannot convince me that balance is a lot of work when I've so frequently done it myself in minutes. 

Quote

One final thought (and what triggered me to write) There are NO lazy designers.

 

Certainly not. The work that goes into scenario designing is heavy. That's why it's so painful when a designer is either unable or unwilling to go through the last smidgen of effort necessary to ensure the scenario works, and not just excuse themselves with useless smug one liners "oh lol war is hell" or groundless claims about "research". These things infuriate me because they are not at all a proper or valid response to customer feedback. Instead, I just note who gets salty and make a point never to play their scenarios without reviewing them in the editor first. I should not have to do this, but i've been driven to it. 

Edited by SimpleSimon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:
14 hours ago, Erwin said:

That's just poor/lazy design.

How would you know?  :huh:

I worked for DoD designing military sims.  Part of my job was playtesting our games "to destruction".  Since then, have been happy to help out CM2 designers who are serious about producing outstanding work.  

Edited by Erwin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Ithikial_AU said:

...the best scenarios in CM are the ones where the designers give the player a clear objective (and secondaries if applicable), a set of tools to use and then let them loose to solve the problem in any way they see fit...

Well said.  That's the main reason I have been so enthusiastic about MOS's Tactical Ops Center scenario. TOC is an outstanding example of Ithikial's design philosophy and I highly recommend TOC if anyone hasn't yet played it. 

Edited by Erwin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...