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Peterk

Idea For Stalingrad Campaign

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It's damn cold up in Montreal these days and I don't plan on leaving the house until Monday and I thought it was about time I tried my hand at designing at some scenarios. I had this idea at work today and thought I'd bounce it off the designers here.

Everyone keeps bitching about the lack of a long campaign in CM, so inspired by a bunch of people (Operation Storfang which I am waiting impatiently for, the Biltong rules, Steel Panthers Mega Campaigns) I've been thinking about doing something like this....

I've chopped a map of central Stalingrad up into a grid of 28 squares 1km by 1km which I plan to convert into CM.

I'm going to write a simple campaign engine in Java that will show thumbnails of these 28 sectors. The German player enters at the beginning of the campaign and can allocate his starting forces in sectors outside the city. I'll track control of each sector (from 10% to 100%) as well as readiness, supplies and intel of enemy controlled sectors.

Every day, the player can plan his activities and can assign dig-in, attack, assault, probe orders to the troops in each sector. The campaign engine does the same for the Russians and then in wego fashion generates paramaters for all the battles that result.

I'm going to have 8 variants for each sector map where the deployment zones are accordingly moved forward or backwards depending on how much of the sector is controlled by the player. There will be 100pt flags at 100m intervals placed on each map distributed evenly from left to right. At the end of each battle I ask the player to type in the flag points and the extent of the farthest flag he captured. This lets me determine how succesful he was at controlling the map and decide whether it was thin push on a flank or in the center or an advance on the whole front.

The player will be asked to save the map (overwriting the original) after each battle so battle damage will get carried forwards.

Since I'm by no means an expert at scenario design I thought I'd ask - could such a scheme work? The pitfall that bugs me most concerns getting the troops themselves onto the map. The German's are OK, because the engine will tell the player what to buy and how to configure them - but for the Russians it looks like I'll have to do it so that things like bunkers and entrenchments won't carry forward; and the German player will also know how many points and what type of units the Russian gets which is a bit of a shame. I would have liked that to be a surprise at least for the first battle in a sector.

If there are any bored good samaritan mapmakers sitting around who might liike to help this get going more quickly let me know and I'll send jpegs for the map slices I'll be putting together.

If anyone has any comments, or sees any pitfalls I'd love to hear them.

[ January 16, 2004, 10:54 PM: Message edited by: Peterk ]

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Ok, snafu #1. I'm was building clean maps with no battle damage whatsoever hoping that I'd be able to set the damage level when loading the map into the quick battle but it ignores the setting when importing a map.

I've got to simulate the Luftwaffe bombing before the ground troops went in. Does anyone know an easy way to do this?

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Gee, I whished we had a programmer like you in our team.

I have been working on a Visual Basic version of a campaign system. So far I have developed a 3d enviroment (VRML) where 3d objects represent units like infantry devisions. This way the player can see in advance if he encounters mountainious terrain for example.

The next upcomming program should be the managing of different versions (scenario's) of 1 grid. But that's on the planning; so we're not even started with that part.

Our team is build op with an cartographer (CAD), a writer, some one who takes care of the historical research, scenario testers and myself (the rest of time consuming jobs).

I must say that tuning of scenario's and research take a whole lot of amount of time. Something I didn't expect before we started this operation.

My advice to you is either to get more people who want to help you out, or join an existing group.

Good luck!

Nils

[ January 17, 2004, 08:20 PM: Message edited by: eichenbaum ]

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Originally posted by Peterk:

Ok, snafu #1. I'm was building clean maps with no battle damage whatsoever hoping that I'd be able to set the damage level when loading the map into the quick battle but it ignores the setting when importing a map.

I've got to simulate the Luftwaffe bombing before the ground troops went in. Does anyone know an easy way to do this?

a) Use the map as a scenario. Infantry as targets and lots of planes. Play scen, look at map after AAR, save map.

B) IIRC there is some hotkey that allows placing damage... best bet (game not available ATM) is the number keys... ->RTM :D

Gruß

Joachim

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Thanks Joachim,

I did Stalingrad-damaging on a 1km x 1km map by hand last night and it was a little heartbreaking seeing my beautiful city get turned to rubble.

I tried something similar with about 20 artillery spotters and about a dozen planes and was very disappointed at the level of damage - wasn't truly Stalingradesque. I'll try it again with more planes and more targets.

By the way if anyone is interested at all I have a basic scenario ready which represnts pretty well the type of battle my system will churn out. It's the attack on the train station area during the first day of the German drive into the city. About a battallion on each side. I'll put it up on my website later tonight if anyone wants to give it a try (in a very unpolished state).

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Just finished the playing the first test battle in my little Stalingrad campaign idea and it could sort of work.

MappingMission is an absolute godsend and I'll be using it to do all the maps.

A few questions:

The only way this can possibly work is if the player is willing to go into the scenario editor to modify a map (the setup zones) and the OOB for that map before each battle. The campaign app I might write will tell the player what he has to do, but I really have my doubts that anyone will want to play this way because its too much work.

Are there any tools bouncing around similar to Mapping Mission that can modify the scenario parameters other than the map???

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Alright! Forget all those problems....

Spent a few hours programming and now have a way for my external program to grab a scenario and modify the OOB and setup zones on the fly so quickly the user practically doesn't see a thing.

Stalingrad campaign engine here we come!

Only thing I can't do now that I would like is carry battle damage over from one battle to the next, but that's pretty minor and I think I can live without it.

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Just wondering if any of the grogs could confirm something. In the initial attacks on central Stalingrad in September '42, it appears that the Russians had no tanks defending there at all. Is this correct - I've looked at maps showing the disposition of the forces and have read Enemy At The Gates and Beevor several times and can not recall any mention of an armored presence around the downtown area - but there were around the Mamayev Kurgan and the factory district.

Would love to know if my understanding is correct.

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Just a little teaser to show where this beast is after a week.

It will be an open-ended design allowing plug-in campaigns (you have to know how to program Java though). Scope will be similar to what Battlefront did with operations but on a bigger scale and more strategic level involvement (ie. you decide when and where units get deployed and when to fight). CMBB battles get generated automatically by the engine for each sector where there is contact (so quickly and in a random order that the player won't really know what he's facing until he takes the field of battle). The red-line on the left hand side of the map is the front line for the start of this scenario - it gets updated sector by sector and will show surrounded pockets. Basic unit of measurement is the individual squad and tank. Battles will generally involve a battalion on each side but the maps are small enough (1 square km) to make play in CM quick.

Still desperately looking for map-making help so this will see the light of day quicker - so any Stalingrad afficionados with a little time on their hands, please contact me.

CMBB Campaign Engine

[ January 24, 2004, 09:19 PM: Message edited by: Peterk ]

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Well, I'm not there yet but yes there will definitely be an AI capable of trying several different strategies - for the Russian side at least.

I've written a chess program and a commercially released hockey game with a decent AI in the past so it shouldn't be a big deal. smile.gif

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FWB,

Yeah I do. Just sent you an e-mail. Did you get Mapping Mission going yet? I can send it to you, but just as easy to d/l it on your own.

And I want to give you a sample to use and I've been working more on the software than the maps these days.

p.

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> For the missing slice, have you seen this map?:

Thanks for the link. Yeah that one's been my wallpaper for a few weeks. The scale's a little too big to do CM maps with. I'm working with the Luftwaffe maps of the city. Lots of detail.

p.

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Originally posted by Joachim:

a) Use the map as a scenario. Infantry as targets and lots of planes. Play scen, look at map after AAR, save map.

This might be a stupid question, but how does one save the map after bombing it to pieces? I mean one can save the game, and use its map on QB, but the editor won't open it, AFAIK... :confused:

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This might be a stupid question, but how does one save the map after bombing it to pieces? I mean one can save the game, and use its map on QB, but the editor won't open it, AFAIK..
This only works if you are running missions as quick-battles which I'm not. It's also not really good for a Stalingrad type map. Infantry will bolt into buildings at the first sign of a plane and on the next passes the planes won't see them any more. Artillery missions take far to long to achieve anything Stalingradesque. The only method I've found which is good is to build the map clean and then rubble every 5th building square and then flame every 7th non-rubbled building square. Total pain in the butt (like so many things are turning out to be).

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