JonS Posted June 12, 2013 Share Posted June 12, 2013 (edited) Hi folks, Creating a scenario in the Combat Mission editor has been described as the-game-within-the-game. I know a number of people who’ve spent more time playing with the editor than they have playing the game. Creating a good scenario - and hopefully getting positive feedback on it from players – can be an incredibly rewarding process, and I think it’s a shame more people don’t give it a go and use the scenario editor they’ve bought and paid for. Over the next couple of weeks I intend to create a scenario ‘in public’. I’ll be walking through the process I use to create a scenario that’s going to be included in the forthcoming CMBN module “Market Garden”. Along the way we’ll be looking at various aspects of the editor, some of them in a fair amount of detail. There’ll also be some riffing on how I going about designing a scenario, what I think is important, and my philosophy of scenario design. Where possible, I’ll answer any questions you might have about the editor, and you’re encouraged to add your own editor tips, tricks, and suggestions. It is my hope that this thread will answer a lot of questions about using the editor, and encourage more players to dip their toes in the pool and start making more scenarios! At various points I’ll refer to ‘story telling.’ I think that most things we do in life revolve around telling stories. To me, creating a scenario involves telling a myriad of independent and inter-related stories, to set context and explain why things are the way they are. Some of the stories are told to players explicitly with written words, but not always. I’ll expand on this theme as we go along. In my estimation, and regardless of the specific content of a scenario, I think that a good scenario should present the player with a number of meaningful problems that have to be resolved. Each problem should be solvable in a number of different ways, but should also require the player to actually think through the problem, come up with a plan to overcome it, and then execute that plan with a modicum of competence. To put that in concrete terms; setting a company of Tigers against a platoon of Stuarts on a large flat, open, map doesn’t really present either side with a problem to be solved – the German player simply doesn’t have one, and while the Allied player certainly does have a problem, there’s no plausible solution. I’m writing this series of posts while I’m designing the scenario, so it’s likely that some early decisions will be changed later on. In my experience, designing a scenario seems to mostly consist of solving a seemingly endless series of design problems, from finding useful sources to wrangling the editor to do what you want. I try to keep in mind that I need to stay flexible. What seems like a good idea initially sometimes ends up being unworkable, or just not that much fun. Either way, I’ll change the design. Feedback comes in to the mix here too – what I like might not appeal to others, or my storytelling isn’t good enough, and my style of scenario design has altered as time has passed. Scenario design is an intensely personal and creative activity, and these posts are not in any way intended to be prescriptive, pr a set of rules that must be adhered to. Instead it's an outline of how I go about this, and some guidelines that you might choose to follow. To misquote German doctrine; scenario design is an art, a free and creative activity, and so each designer needs to find their own way of skinning these cats. What follows might also seem like it's a rigid linear sequence, but I really don’t work like that. Instead I flit about depending on what I’m thinking about and how I’m feeling. While working on a CMBN scenario, for example, I spent a couple of weeks working on nothing except the map. One night I got fed up with it all, and instead played around with the forces for a while before eventually going back to finish the map. If you are new to scenario design you should definitely read George McEwan’s Scenario Design Manual. George clearly explains how to use the various parts of the editor to create a scenario. I don’t intend to go over ground that he’s already trodden so well. Instead I’ll be taking a more philosophical approach to scenario design, and hopefully explaining how I get the different mechanical elements of the scenario editor working together to tell a story. Anyway, enough of that. I hope you enjoy the thread. Jon Quote 1.1: Starting a fresh scenario in the CMBN Scenario Editor. I love that new-scenario smell! There have been a steady stream of updates and improvements to the editor as Combat Mission has matured, and I expect more in future games and upgrades. This series of posts uses the editor in CMBN: Market Garden v2.10, which means you might be getting a sneak peak at some of the new things in that module! Because of that, and depending on the game or module being used, some elements discussed here may not be present or may function in a different way in other games/modules. Table of Contents 1 Outline Scenario Concept 2 Research 3 Refined Scenario Concept 4 The Map 1 – Preparing Overlays 5 The Map 2 – Elevations and Roads 6 The Map 3 – Buildings, Walls, and Trees 7 The Map 4 - Detailing 8 The Map 5 – Finishing Up 9 British Forces 10 German Forces 11 Objectives 12 Walls and Bridges 13 Scenario Settings 14 Designer's Notes 15 Briefings and Imagery 16 Programming the AI 17 Testing 18 Polishing 19 Scenario design is easy. It just takes time. 20 Forms and checklists Edited June 21, 2016 by JonS 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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