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The Sheriff of Oosterbeek – A Scenario Design DAR/AAR


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So Jon, if you can answer or whatever, have you ever met any of the Battlefront guys in person? How about webwing? He's german right? Did he fly everybody in to some big group grope shin-dig in Germany to discuss the OMG module? Cocktails and German girls? nudge nudge wink wink say no more!

I like how Moon is updating the first post to have hyperlinks to each section of your dissertation. Thanks Moon.

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I recently had an experience which some scen designers might find instructive, and which I thought I'd share.   I've recently been re-reading John English's Canadian Army in the Normandy Campaign. Tow

While I'm reading your document and examining the map in the Editor, I've noticed I did a battle scenario called < The Sheriff of Oosterbeek - small >where there are no British SUZs and the map

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

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Every year we have a battlefield tour/reunion. Last year was Cassino, this year it was Arnhem/Eindhoven and points in between.

The. Best.

Edit: Just kidding ;) I've met a few of the folk from around here ... maybe half a dozen?

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I've got an idea for a spin-off thread! "Scenario Doctor" (TM!) hosted by JonS...

Your first patient:

FreddieUnderpass_zps63c4f640.png

This was from back a month ago for the Wolfheze/Go Freddie Gough project that I had semi-dustbinned but now hope to resurrect. I used 33 locked for road and 38 locked for railway (delta of 5), you used 16 and 22 (delta of 6). Is it my angle or does mine compared to your non-ditchlock still seem more "slopey". I guess I just didn't like how it looked and got flustered.

By the way, I am not a railroad grog, I at first had tried double tracks and double bridges but still wasn't sure if it had double tracks in real life. So, I think I went back to single track. Maybe I have seen too many old west films with single tracks out in the middle of nowhere. Is 1940's old Europe all double track in this inter-urban area?

I guess I am asking if this should just wait for ditchlock or what do you recommend, ...doctor?

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So Jon, if you can answer or whatever, have you ever met any of the Battlefront guys in person? How about webwing? He's german right? Did he fly everybody in to some big group grope shin-dig in Germany to discuss the OMG module? Cocktails and German girls? nudge nudge wink wink say no more!

I like how Moon is updating the first post to have hyperlinks to each section of your dissertation. Thanks Moon.

Actually IIRC Webwing is Brazilian. Moon is the German with I think some Polish background now living in the USA.

There also an Aussie and a Spaniard in the group.

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Is it my angle or does mine compared to your non-ditchlock still seem more "slopey". I guess I just didn't like how it looked and got flustered.

I guess I am asking if this should just wait for ditchlock or what do you recommend, ...doctor?

I am sure that Ditchlock will help out there. The difference in slope between yours and mine is probably partly due to the extra metre, but also because the line of my rail is set at 45°, meaning that the 'lines' of elevations are actually saw teeth, whereas yours are nice and straight.

I know you aren't happy with it, but I think that bridge and its surrounds looks lovely :)

By the way, I am not a railroad grog, ... Is 1940's old Europe all double track in this inter-urban area?

I can't really answer that, except to suggest you dig out the period 1:25k maps that were linked to earlier in this thread.

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6 - The Map Pt.3: Buildings, Walls, and Trees

The reason the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines bicker amongst themselves is that they don't speak the same language. For instance, take the simple phrase "secure the building."
* The Army will post guards around the place.
* The Navy will turn out the lights and lock the doors.
* The Marines will kill everybody inside and set up a headquarters.
* The Air Force will take out a 5 year lease with an option to buy.



Buildings, walls, and trees. That’s what’s next.

For these things the 1944 topo isn’t as much use because it doesn’t really show individual trees. Oosterbeek was quite a prosperous area at the time, populated by retired planters from the colonies. Descriptions of the battle are thick with the difficulty of moving about the area because of all the branches bought down by artillery and mortar fire. So I’m going to use the 1944 aerial photo overlay for the trees, and it’s also quite good at showing the individual houses.

6-11944aerialoverlay_zps1ffb45b3.jpg

6.1: 1944 aerial photo overlay ready for use in CM editor. Yellow line around the edge is the same boundary shown in previous image. Note the overlapping black and white photos on the left, and the area to the north-west in colour that was missed by the recce sortie. Compare the coverage of trees show in these photos with that shown in the map at image 4.3 above. Note also the way the roads in the photos have been made to line up with the roads in Google Earth. Aerial overlays from the http://watwaswaar.nl/ site.


Looking at ground level photos of the area, it seems that Oosterbeek was a mix of large-ish manor-type houses that were generally two stories tall, and low single story smaller houses. I’m going to use the size of the house marker on the map as my guide for which is which. Happily, it seems there are few high-density areas where adjacent buildings touch, and also the buildings are generally square or rectangular. That makes my life easier.

But to start with, I want to first build the Oosterbeek Church and the Seminary, also known as Kate ter Horst’s house. Almost as iconic as the bridges or the Hartenstein Hotel, I want to get those two distinctive buildings looking nice.

The location of the church is well marked, and the kitset of pieces make creating one pretty straight forward. Interestingly, the British did actually have a machine gun mounted in the church spire at one stage of the battle. That ended abruptly when Germans explosively lowered the spire’s height. The ter Horst house is just a little further to the rear, and photos clearly show it as being two stories.

6-2TerHorstHouse_zps8affffd8.jpg

6.2: The battle damaged house of Kate Ter Horst, as seen in 1945 from a photograph taken by C. van Rijn. I imagine the grass was a lot shorter during the battle. Copyright: Renkum Municipal Archives. From: Pegasus Archive website.


For the houses I have a choice of using modular or custom buildings. Because there are few touching buildings the choice is a little easier – custom buildings generally look prettier. But I will mix in some modular buildings too, in order to get more visual variety.

At this stage I’m just placing the buildings where I think they’re going to go. Where they actually end up will be close, but it might not be in these exact positions. Later on, when I’m adding other terrain and dickering around with the elevations, I might shift them a tile or two in any direction in order to make the map more attractive. Right now they are in broad-brush. I’ve also adjusted the alignment of the road in a couple of spots to suit the inclusion of buildings.

6-3Oosterbeek_zpse9c64cd4.jpg

6.3: Damaged buildings along the Weverstraat, slightly north of the Church at Oosterbeek. Glider Pilots of G Squadron fought in this area, and the house on the left was used as a base by Lt Mike Dauncey DSO throughout the battle. G Sqn were in the blue rectangle that has ‘2 Bty’ at the bottom in image 4.2 above. The photograph was taken several months after the battle. From: Pegasus Archive website.


Even though the layout is somewhat rough, I like to go around and adjust the facades and windows and door configurations. I try to break up any visual monotony by avoiding having adjacent buildings look exactly the same, unless there’s a good reason for it. Changing the look of buildings is pretty easy in the 3D view with various combinations of ALT, CTRL, SHIFT and click.

CTRL-LEFTCLICK changes the window/door layout for wall, or the roof style (only on modular buildings)
ALT-CTRL-LEFTCLICK changes the window/door layout for all floors simultaneously (only on modular buildings)
CTRL-SHIFT-LEFTCLICK adds a balcony to the floor clicked on (only on modular buildings)
ALT-LEFTCLICK changes the window/door style for the building (only on modular buildings)
SHIFT-LEFTCLICK changes the building facade style (i.e., the wall covering)
ALT-SHIFT-LEFTCLICK cycles through major damage, including complete rubbling.

Most of the buildings on the Sheriff of Oosterbeek map are free standing. There is one, though, which I’ve made by connecting several modular buildings together. Since this is all one building I want it to look like it’s all one building, and that it belongs together.

6-4Houses_zps45027ebc.jpg

6.4: On the left is two adjacent modular buildings, as placed by the editor. Note that it has different walls and windows. On the right is the same building after a bit of tweaking. The brick facade has been used, since that was a fairly common building material in the Low Countries, and made sure the windows are the same style. Also gone are any windows hidden behind the single story ‘lean-to’ extension closest to the camera. As a final touch, there are no windows or doors on the centre of any wall that has a chimney, since on the inside of these walls the chimney would be taking up that internal space. Not visible are the internal walls between the two pieces, which have an adjoining door, and all windows removed.

The difference is fairly subtle, but this is yet another example of story telling. The story I want to tell to the player here is ‘this is all one building. It belongs together, and you can move around inside it.’ Part of that story-telling includes going inside, and making sure there’s no windows on internal walls*, and that there actually are doors between the sections. As long as one of the touching walls has a door units will be able to move from one “room” to another, but I don’t like the aesthetics of that. Instead I try to ensure that there is a door on both sides, and that the two doors are more or less aligned. With sections the same size that’s easy, but when one of the walls is longer than the other it’s a bit trickier – usually the best bet is to push the door over to the far left or far right of the wall. It’s not perfect, but it is pretty close.

PROTIP: to get a door on the upper floors, use ALT-CTRL-LEFTCLICK as you’re cycling through the door/window combinations. This forces every floor on that side of a building to have the same setup as the ground floor, so when you have a door on the ground floor there’ll be a door on each of the upper stories too.

Holland has some unique architectural features, and the Market Garden module allows the designer to reflect that with a variety of flat and tapered roof styles that better reflect what is found in this part of the world. In the 3D viewer press CTRL-LEFTCLICK on the roof of a modular building to cycle through the options. This is a nice way of linking a row of houses together visually. You’ll need to ensure that “Holland” is selected in Mission -> Data -> Region to access this feature.

Personally, I don’t like seeing vegetation growing up through the floor of buildings. Where practical I replace the ground tile under each building with something ‘short’. Ideally that’d be cobblestones or dirt, but where the tile overlaps the edge of the building short grass is a good alternate.

I won’t be adding any battle damage anywhere because this area was basically pristine before the fighting began on Tuesday afternoon.

Trees, walls, and hedges in an area like Oosterbeek are mainly about providing privacy between houses. So it’s mainly a matter of adding boundary fences or hedges, and placing trees on them in a “neatly gardened” kind of way, as well as trees and bushes in yards and road sides and whatnot. I also try to mix up the undergrowth, especially along hedges. Not all homeowners are diligent gardeners, especially in the midst of a global war, so it’s ok to have patches of long grass or light forest scattered about the place. The walls and hedges themselves are fairly permeable to infantry, so terrain types that don’t block infantry have been used, or gaps have been included. I don’t want vehicles to have too much freedom of movement off road, so I’m not too worried about making sure the StuGs can move anywhere and everywhere.

In a carry over from Normandy, I’ve used Bocage quite extensively. Technically, of course, there’s no bocage in Holland. There are dense and high hedges that would restrict infantry and vehicle movement and make good fighting positions, and that’s the sense that bocage has been used here. ‘Bocage’ is easier to write - and visualise - than ‘tall thick hedge of vegetation that creates an obstacle to movement and provides good cover and concealment.’

The Rosander Polder area south of Benedendorpsweg is basically farmland, so wire fences have been used to break that up into good sized paddocks, with positioning largely driven by the aerial recce photos. It’s essentially a floodplain down there, so that land would be used for livestock – which can be moved – rather than crops, which are a bit hard to get out of the way when the Rhine floods. While I’m in the area I decided to mix up the ground types a bit. There’re no crops, but I have filled some paddocks with long or extra long grass to give the idea of stock rotation and some of the fields being empty for an extended period of time. Tactically, having long grass helps units move easier, so in this particular area it makes sense to go pretty light on that, but even having some, and using a variety of ‘short’ ground tiles breaks it up visually, and tells a story of activity and peacetime use.

During the campaign in 1944, the polder adjacent to the river wasn’t the scene of much fighting. I suspect that was because of a few major considerations. Primarily, it’s a flat open plain, and commanders had learnt in 1916 that advancing across a flat open plain typically led to poor results. By default, this CM map will have the polder as a flat open plain, so that’s good. But I also suspect that there must have been another reason. Cutting off the British paras from the river was a fairly obvious way to doom them, yet it never happened, and I think that’s probably because simply moving through this area would be too slow and difficult. Drainage ditches will be used to severely constrain vehicular movement, either with water or marsh, but that’s still not enough. I’ve used a fair bit of mud and/or soft ground to discourage movement through this area. Players will still be able to move through it if they really I want to, but it’ll be slow and risky, which suits my purposes.

The auto complete tool comes into play again with walls, fences and hedges, and in some ways it’s more useful here than for roads. For one thing these things are generally shorter and straighter than roads, and there are fewer pieces in the editor so there’s less gotchas for the tool to muck up. On the other hand, those things make the tool less useful anyway – sometimes it can be easier to just do short runs manually.

There’s also the Bato’s Wijk Park (or Batoswijk), which has large open areas as well as a good number of trees. For this I want to use the [sheriff GoogleEarth naked special_editor_overlay.bmp] file. Re-creating this area is more artistic and free form. The overlay gives a good idea of where trees are, and from the size you can sort of guess their height, but I treat that as more of a guide than gospel; “some trees here, thick bush here, hedge over there.” As far as I can tell, there were no extensive orchards in this small part of Europe, it’s more a case of upper-class faux-forest. Mixing up the tree types used and the density helps with that.

6-5mapsofar_zps9b876d52.jpg

6.5: The map so far. Some of the ‘blocks’, defined by roads, have been fleshed out in detail, but most of the map is still quite plain.


And that’s the map so far. There’s still quite a lot of walls, fences, and vegetation to add, but it’s starting to look like a proper map, and somewhere you might live - or have a battle.

PROTIP: use broad swathes of terrain types to quickly and roughly draw in fields, wooded areas and so on to make it easier to visualise the finished map and the spatial relationships on it. Then go back and adjust edges and terrain types as required. Use some kind of reminder to identify which sections of the map are finished, and which are only roughed in.

* That, incidentally, is why the customised independent buildings sometimes aren’t a good choice for buildings that are touching. The windows and doors in the independent buildings cannot be adjusted, so you either have to put up with internal windows, or not use those buildings. Some independent buildings do have blank walls especially so they can be placed adjacent to each other, and so it’s worth getting familiar with the specifics of each. I have a reference sheet blu-tacked to the wall showing which walls on independent buildings have openings.

Back to start of thread Edited by JonS
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I am really learning a lot. Thanks again.

Well, I went back to those topos. I need a magnifying glass for my eyes.

Here is the key to symbology:

maprailsymbols_zps493ece5b.jpg

Here is a close-up of the track near Wolfheze:

wolfhezeclose-up_zpsaac0a343.jpg

OK, now that I see both at once, the main roughly horizontal line is a 2 track or more, electric standard gauge railroad.

The curved up part is single track electrified.

Back to my map...

*********************************************************

Student 1: Hey man, do NOT take Professor Sowden for Scenario Writing 201, he is a real ball buster, I barely passed...

Student 2: $hit man, thanks, I gotta go register before all the easy classes are filled up...

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Hi. An interesting project has been started here, drawing my attention. Looking at picture 6.5 in post # 159 I wish to mention that the church tower is placed incorrect relative to the nave of the church. The backside of the nave is in real facing 75 degrees to the east-northeast. The church tower is relative to the church nave at 255 degrees at the west-southwest. You can use the available Google Earth measuring equipment to confirm the information.

There is more interesting information regarding this church, more than 1000 years old, is one of the oldest still existing church buildings in the Netherlands. Original the church was built in a Pre-Romanesque style. But due a rapid grow of the Oosterbeek population during the 19th century a larger church was needed. The original plan in the 1850's was to demolish the old church and replace it by a brand new one. But there were not enouch funds available for that project. Instead of building a new church the visitors capacity of the old church was increased by adding up a neo gothic north-south contruction to the church nave. Because of this the church architecture was in 1944 not the same as it looks today. Also its spire was in 1944 higher as it is now. After World War 2 another church was built near the Utrechtseweg for the northern part of the village. The old church was restored from its heavy war damage back into its historical plausible 1000 years old Pre-Romanesque style. If you compare in the Dutch Wikipedia article of the Oosterbeek church the photo that was made in 1905 with a photo made in 2012 you can see very clear the huge architectural differences also.

See here: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oude_Kerk_(Oosterbeek)

And: http://pkn-oosterbeek-wolfheze.nl/oudekerkoosterbeek/images/oudekerk1945.jpg

With regards, emeg.

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Looking at picture 6.5 in post # 159 I wish to mention that the church tower is placed incorrect relative to the nave of the church. The backside of the nave is in real facing 75 degrees to the east-northeast. The church tower is relative to the church nave at 255 degrees at the west-southwest.

Quite right, thanks and I've amended the church quite a bit :) Churches in the editor are limited to 0° of 90°, so I've left the nave running east-west, but moved the tower to the western end.

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I. GROGS

A. Weapons Grogs

1. bayonet Lug grogs

2. leather is not the correct sheen grogs

B. Telephone Pole Grogs

1. Spacing is inaccurate and ahistorical

2. poles are incorrect height for WW2 time period

C. Church Grogs

1. nave at incorrect angle

2. pews made of non-local wood

;-)

;-)

double-wink so you know I am joshin'

Unit purchase must be real soon!???

This post brought to you by "Arrogant Bastard Ale" "You're not worthy" TM, brewed and bottled in Escondido, San Diego CA. 7.2% Alc/Vol. Enjoy by 07/09/13

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5 MORE POSTS FOR THE SURVEY!! COME ON!!

(Sheesh, I sound like those public TV guys trying to raise money.):P

Anybody up for a quick survey? OMG related...

10 posts +/- if you are interested in sharing.

Q1. What part of OMG are you most looking forward to playing?

a. 1st British Airborne up in Arnhem.

b. The US Airborne divisions

c. Hell's Highway battles

d. other, please expound

Q2. If you've seen the movie "A Bridge Too Far", what was your favorite scene?

What I am really excited for with OMG is racing XXX Corps north under pressure to relieve the paras. Having both bullets and time as an enemy will be interesting.

I am only 30 now, but have watched ABTF many times, own it on VHS somewhere around here. When the CO of XXX Corps is briefing his men pre-op and telling them they will have a wonderful story to tell their grand kids, and mighty bored they will be. LoL, nothing from WWII would bore the grand kids it turned out.

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From IMDb:

"Did General Urqhart really personally kill a German soldier as is portrayed in the film?

Yes, the events happened exactly as portrayed, he is the only General in WW2 to kill an enemy combatant with a pistol."

...also....

Director Cameo

Richard Attenborough: One of the lunatics wearing glasses watching the soldiers.

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Hi. An interesting project has been started here, drawing my attention. Looking at picture 6.5 in post # 159 I wish to mention that the church tower is placed incorrect relative to the nave of the church. The backside of the nave is in real facing 75 degrees to the east-northeast. The church tower is relative to the church nave at 255 degrees at the west-southwest. You can use the available Google Earth measuring equipment to confirm the information.

There is more interesting information regarding this church, more than 1000 years old, is one of the oldest still existing church buildings in the Netherlands. Original the church was built in a Pre-Romanesque style. But due a rapid grow of the Oosterbeek population during the 19th century a larger church was needed. The original plan in the 1850's was to demolish the old church and replace it by a brand new one. But there were not enouch funds available for that project. Instead of building a new church the visitors capacity of the old church was increased by adding up a neo gothic north-south contruction to the church nave. Because of this the church architecture was in 1944 not the same as it looks today. Also its spire was in 1944 higher as it is now. After World War 2 another church was built near the Utrechtseweg for the northern part of the village. The old church was restored from its heavy war damage back into its historical plausible 1000 years old Pre-Romanesque style. If you compare in the Dutch Wikipedia article of the Oosterbeek church the photo that was made in 1905 with a photo made in 2012 you can see very clear the huge architectural differences also.

See here: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oude_Kerk_(Oosterbeek)

And: http://pkn-oosterbeek-wolfheze.nl/oudekerkoosterbeek/images/oudekerk1945.jpg

With regards, emeg.

A very informative first post!

Welcome to the forum, emeg.

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From IMDb:

"Did General Urqhart really personally kill a German soldier as is portrayed in the film?

Yes, the events happened exactly as portrayed, he is the only General in WW2 to kill an enemy combatant with a pistol.".

With the possible exception of Hasso von Manteuffel.

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7 - The Map Pt.4: Detailing

”You gotta pay attention to detail.”
Private Caparzo

”The success of a production depends on the attention paid to detail.”
David O. Selznick

Finishing off the buildings, foliage, fences, and most of the ground tiles (crops and the like) from the previous section took a long time. It’s an absorbing task, and it’s easy to find yourself obsessing over whether individual tiles should be Crop Type 3 or Extra Long Grass, or whether a fence line should turn at the second tile or the third. It’s often necessary to slightly alter the exact alignment of a road, or shift a building slightly, or fiddle about with the elevations to get the various elements working together harmoniously. Overall, doing that part of the map is probably the most time consuming part of creating a scenario. For this map it took the better part of two weeks elapsed, although that included some days when nothing got done, or maybe only a single block.

I usually break down the map into blocks, say an area bounded by a road or river, and finish that off before moving on to the next block. It gives me a better sense of progress and accomplishment as each one gets ticked off. I also find that the editor overlays aren’t usually much use from this point onwards. The detail and resolution generally isn’t good enough to figure out what you’re looking at, especially at the lower transparencies, while at the higher transparencies you can’t see the work you’ve done. What’s most useful is a large scale, high resolution printout that can be referred to while working. Failing that, open up the overlay in a picture viewer or editor, and alt+tab between it and the editor.

Eventually it all gets done, or at least done enough that you can move on to the next stage … detailing.

With detailing the aim is to try and really bring the map alive, to make it a real place where real people might live. This gets back to an earlier point about maps – I think they should look like places where people would live, work, and play, and which just so happen to be the location of a battle. I think that a realistic looking map will go a long way towards produce good and interesting battles, while a map that is specifically and solely designed for a battle tends to be soulless and uninteresting.

First up are landmarks. These have two functions, and the first is to anchor the map in space. I do this by putting “to [LOCATION] x.ykm” wherever a major road or route exits the map edge. On this map there are four:
* the rail line heading off the south map edge “to RAIL BRIDGE 0.4km”
* the Klingelbeekseweg road (not landmarked, but it’s a continuation of the Benedendorpsweg beyond the rail underpass) where it exits off the east map edge “to ARNHEM ROAD BRIDGE 3.0km”
* the van Eeghenweg road where it exits off the north-east map edge “to HARTENSTEIN HOTEL 0.6km”
* the Benedendorpsweg road where it exits off the west map edge “to WESTERBOUWING HEIGHTS 1.3km”
This way, anyone who’s at least passingly familiar with the area will be able to think to themselves “Oh, that’s near ___”, and anyone who isn’t familiar with it will be able to find it on a real map fairly quickly.

The second function is to help the player make sense of the internal space of the map, which means naming any and all prominent landmarks. Since Oosterbeek is a built up area there are a lot of road names. I’ve just used the main ones, rather than naming everything:
* Benedendorpsweg
* Weverstraat
* Polderweg
* Prins Bernhardweg (shortened to Bernhardweg)
* Acacialaan
* Jonkheer Nedemeijer van Rosenthalweg (shortened to Rosenthalweg)
* Fangmanweg
* Bato’sweg
* Unksepad
* Vogelweg
* van Eeghenweg
* der Koogweg
There are plenty of other names that could be used, but at a certain point landmarks do become too dense. This spread should give reasonable cover in breadth and depth, as well as marking the major routes and laterals, which are likely to become phase lines or objectives during play.

And lastly some particular locations of interest:
* Oosterbeek (of course!), entered as O O S T E R B E E K to give it some gravitas
* Bato’s Wijk Park
* Oosterbeek Church
* ter Horst House
* Rosander Polder (same format as Oosterbeek)
* Oosterbeek Laag Station
* Nederrijn

Across my various maps I try and use standard Landmarking conventions, such as always having the ‘to’ distances to the nearest hundred metres (for example, ‘7.2km’ and ‘0.5km’ rather than ‘7km’ and ‘450m’), and having the ‘to’ destinations all in CAPS, while the on-map locations are written as Normal Place Names.

Landmarks should be used a lot more than they are. They're really helpful for orienting the player to the scenario via the briefing, and they also provide mental triggers when you get a turn; "ah, that's right. I had 1 Platoon is moving towards 'The Nook', while the rest on the company provides covering fire from the area of 'Route 66'", rather than "um, I think I had 1 platoon moving towards that nondescript piece of ground, while the rest on the company did ... something ... uh, somewhere?"

They're also really useful when describing the scenario, either in a public AAR or to your opponent during or after the battle. It’s always nice when people talk about your scenario, especially when you can follow exactly what they’re talking about.

That said, the purpose of landmarks is not to indicate objectives or even areas of particular tactical interest. It is to give players reference points to hang their plans and conversations on, and also places that can – and should – be referenced in the briefings. Aim for a good spread of landmarks across the breadth and depth of your map.

Sometimes there is a place that should be highlighted with a landmark, but still retain some FOW. It might be a phase line noted in the briefing, a particular choke point, or perhaps suspected enemy locations. The aim is to draw one player’s attention to the spot, while keeping the other player ignorant of its significance. For these tactically significant locations unused victory location slots work well, marking them as TOUCH objectives worth zero (0) points. The objective location text will remain in place even when touched, the player won't be tempted to garrison the worthless location, and even if they never touch it doesn't matter because it isn't worth anything. And the opposing player sees nothing – NOTHING!

In summary;
1) mark the stuff found on a 1:50k map as map-editor locations/landmarks.
2) mark the stuff that would only be found marked in chinagraph on a talc overlay at company HQ as an objective worth zero points.

7-1Landmarks_zpsbb566739.jpg

7.1: The Landmarks. There’s obviously a heavy bias in the area north of Benedendorpsweg, because there just aren’t that many pieces of land to mark out on the Rosander Polder. Compare this to images 5.5 and 6.5 to see how the map has been progressively fleshed out.


Due to the way landmarks are tied to the ground, I sometimes find it necessary to move them by a tile or two in one direction or another to ensure the text ‘pops’ up over any obscuring terrain such as trees or buildings. Another thing to watch out for is any landmarks co-located with terrain objectives. Visually the overlapped text looks poor, so it’s worth moving the landmark (or adjusting the objective’s shape to move its text) or perhaps even deleting the landmark – the objective itself can stand in as a landmark.

The next task is water. The Nederrijn has already been drawn in, I want a dike along the river’s edge, and some of the distinctive water breaks that can bee seen in the aerial recce photos.

7-2Waterbreaks_zps57179bb5.jpg

7.2: Water breaks in a 1944 aerial recce photo from the http://watwaswaar.nl/ site, how they were built in the editor, and how they look in the game.


The river is edged with low fords to give a smooth, rather than stepped, appearance.

Both of the land-based elements were built up with anchored elevations. The water breaks were topped with a stone wall to force nicely vertical sides, and covered with ‘gravel’ terrain to give a nice visual effect. The space between the waterbreaks was filled with Mud tiles, representing silt buildup, and the dike was covered with long grass and a bit of brush, as if it had been left untended since the German invasion in 1940.

Rosander Polder is criss-crossed with a number of drainage ditches. Running water in CM can be a bit tricky, since all water is forced down to the lowest elevation of any water. Luckily, this area of the Netherlands is preposterously low – the Nederrijn is just 10m above sea level here, the Rosander Polder only 2m above that and pancake-flat, and the highest elevation anywhere on this map is just 40m. That means that I don’t have to pay too much attention to ensuring that the water in its bed looks natural, or where I’ve used something other than water for water (like swamp or marsh) that the flow is consistently downhill.

Tactical considerations drive how the ditches are constructed. The tactical effect I’m after here is something that obstructs wheels and tracks crossing, but allows foot movement, and which allows infantry to move along the ditches slowly but with some degree of concealment. Therefore the ditches have been built up by using mud + scrub, and ditch-locking the ditch itself.

This combination of elements provides cover to infantry, as well as restricting vehicular movement.

7-3Drainage_zps8f926e3e.jpg

7.3: Drainage ditches on the Rosander Polder (right), and how they were created (left). Note the blue and black elevation-locked tiles.


Streams in Normandy or creeks in Sicily would have quite different tactical considerations, and would therefore be constructed differently. It’s worth investigating and thinking carefully about exactly what effects the water courses have in the particular area where each map is being constructed – Streetview in Google Maps can be invaluable in gaining some appreciation of the specific watercourses being modelled, and from that extrapolating what effects they’d have on cross-country movement for different unit types in CM.

Something I do during map creation is to think about how animals and humans would actually move around this space. Most CM maps contain at least some farm land, and in the real world farmers need to move their livestock about, generally as efficiently as practical. This means that all fields should have at least one, and more likely two gates. For these I generally use the ‘gapped’ wooden fence, since farm gates tend to be wooden. I use the gapped wooden fence, rather than just a wooden fence, because it means that players can, with care, move vehicles including tanks through the gap without destroying the fence. I hate leaking FOW when I’m playing, and seek out routes that allow my vehicles to move without potentially betraying their presence to the enemy player. Since farmers would have been regularly moving their farm equipment through these gaps without knocking the gate down every time, I figure that players should be able to move their military equipment through them too. If players aren’t careful, or the TacAI takes over in a moment of panic, then it’s likely that the errant vehicle will knock down a fence or gate and give itself away, as they should.

Gates also represent areas of high traffic density, which means that there’s often no grass in the immediate area of the gate, gradually fading out as you move further from the gate itself. To model this I use a dirt tile under the gate itself, then an additional one or two dirt tiles in a line leading towards the next gate. Depending on how I’m feeling, I sometimes link up the dirt areas around gates with short yellow grass – representing trampled grass – to create a continuous path. If the area is particularly wet, such as during winter time or in say Holland, then the ground at gates can easily become mud instead of bare dirt.

Similarly, around built up areas people – especially kids - tend to make themselves pathways and shortcuts. This can be replicated by adding regular holes in any bocage or tall walls used around buildings. I try to avoid creating fire lanes, though, by staggering the offset of any holes. If you want, you can accentuate gaps in bocage by underpinning them with a particular type of terrain tile. Dirt works well, since that plays to the idea that these gaps represent high traffic routes, but really anything distinctive can be used depending on the effect you’re trying to create. In this map of Oosterbeek I haven’t really accentuated the bocage gaps at all – I’ve made any bocage I have added reasonably porous by including a lot of gaps, and these aren’t being used to represent paths or gaps, strictly, more that the bocage itself is less dense and impenetrable than something you might find in rural Normandy.

I’ve also used a lot of high walls to give houses some privacy from their neighbours, and these too often have gaps – especially to permit access to crop fields or paddocks. There aren’t the frequency of gaps used for bocage lines, but walls are a lot easier to breach than bocage, and real walls tend not to have too many portals.

7-4Gap_zps0fd24dc0.jpg

7.4: The neighbouring house, visible through a gap in the hedgerow between two houses.


Flavour objects are optional. Adding them can quickly turn in to a massive time sink, and too many of them can affect performance by overloading processing and graphics. But … used judiciously they are well worth the effort.

The flavour object UI is profoundly unhelpful, with different objects in any given category identified only by number. So your first task is to get or make yourself a flavour object reference chart, or keep page 122 of the manual handy.

The basic mechanics of placing flavour objects is fairly straight forward – click on the numbered item you want, then click on the 2D map where you want it to appear and … nothing happens. There is no feedback on the 2D map in the editor to show you that there are flavour objects. However, once you go in to the 3D map you’ll see them, and you can move them around.

LEFTCLICK rotates the object around its vertical axis. This is handy to, for example, get power poles aligned along a road, or a park bench neatly tucked up against a wall. Note that for some objects – most obviously posters – the vertical axis is at some distance from the object itself. This allows you to place the poster on the internal or external wall of a building (which have a definite thickness).
SHIFT-LEFTCLICK pushed the object directly away from the camera by one (1) metre. By adjusting your view point you can use this to nudge the object where you want it to go.
CTRL-LEFTCLICK deletes the object
ALT-LEFTCLICK moves the object. The first click will cause the object to vanish, then it will reappear under the mouse pointer on the next click. This is useful for moving items long distances. Be aware, though, that although you can place a unit anywhere, it will snap back to the 1m grid when you exit and return to the 3D map. This can be a bit annoying if you thought you had the object placed just so.

PROTIP: for some reason, when more than one flavour item is placed at exactly the same location (either by clicking on the exact same spot in the 2D view, or shunting them together in 3D), any excess above one will be automatically deleted. Sometimes. This is kind of annoying, because it would otherwise be possible to create some interesting items by combining objects – like a plinth sticking up in the middle of a pond. Sometimes you can combine objects, but I haven’t figured out what the magic incantation is to do it reliably. My operating rule of thumb is that it can’t be done

The main thing, not surprisingly, with flavour objects is that they’re all about story telling. Why are these objects being placed here. How do the flavour objects that you’ve put on the map relate to each other, and to their environment.

A fairly simple use of flavour objects, and one that adds a lot of texture for relatively little effort, is power poles. In WWII the use and distribution of electricity was a lot lower than it is now, so it isn’t necessary to ensure that every house and building is connected to the grid. I generally run them only along main roads, with a spacing of around 8-12 tiles between each pole. I usually adjust the spacing out so that intersections and sharp corners each have a pole – running the wires in the Real World is basically a case of ‘join the dots’, so to follow a road the poles must be located at prominent spots.

Beware of anachronisms. For example, discarded tires weren’t very common in WWII Europe, because the Germans were chronically short of rubber, and they didn’t have much in the way motorised transport anyway. Therefore, in my opinion, CM maps should have few if any discarded tires.

When I first used flavour objects I went a little mad. I laid down hundreds of tires here, dozens of barrels there, a swag of park benches over there, each in a discrete blob. “Cool!” I thought “Look at me! I’m using flavour objects!” I went in to 3D mode, shifted them around a little, and came out feeling very chuffed with myself. A few days later I went back and took another look at the map for some reason and thought “What the heck!?” There was no story to the flavour objects. It was all so stupid and naïve – a massive clump of one tyres here, a massive clump of barrels there. Totally unrealistic and implausible. I deleted almost all of them, and mixed the remainder up so that, for example, tires were mixed with barrels and other junk, in discrete little vignettes. There were far less objects in total, but the overall effect was far more pleasing and engaging.

Speaking of vignettes, work some unique signature combinations of map elements and flavour objects to create little scenes of interest such as a wood chopping scene, a walled garden, or a petrol station. Think carefully about what your vignette is showing, and what elements you’ll need to create it. With a bit of trial-and-error, and some practice you’ll be able to create them fairly quickly, and they’ll add your distinctive flair to the map. It’ll also create an item of interest for players to examine while they’re playing on your map.

Common vignettes I use include a petrol station made up of a single story commercial building, a couple of petrol pumps, maybe a street light, and some miscellaneous junk. There’s also a backyard garden made up of several elements. There’re also much smaller scenes I use, such as a single open topped barrel positioned at the corner of a house or building to catch rainwater coming down off the roof, which helps give buildings a bit more shape than the standard CM box.

7-5Garage_zps87348630.jpg

7.5: A petrol station in Oosterbeek. There are at least 11 flavour objects in this image, with more around the back of the garage. The story behind the open topped wooden barrel on the left corner of the building is that it's there to catch rain coming down off the roof. I’ve used this same collection of terrain elements and flavour objects in a number of scenarios.


I don’t think it’s necessary to plaster the entire map in flavour objects. A spread of significant objects – like power poles and road signs – over most of the map, coupled with occasional vignettes, provides enough visual interest for the player without completely bogging you the designer down with time-consuming work in the editor, or bogging the game down during play trying to render them all.

Back to start of thread Edited by JonS
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That is great a DAR, JonS.

PROTIP: for some reason, when more than one flavour item is placed at exactly the same location (either by clicking on the exact same spot in the 2D view, or shunting them together in 3D), any excess above one will be automatically deleted. Sometimes. This is kind of annoying, because it would otherwise be possible to create some interesting items by combining objects – like a plinth sticking up in the middle of a pond. Sometimes you can combine objects, but I haven’t figured out what the magic incantation is to do it reliably. My operating rule of thumb is that it can’t be done

That is interesting. In CMSF you can do that and it works every time. I even used that specific combination you mentioned of the pond object and the plinth object just recently. So the automatic deletion of 'excessive' flavour objects must be a new feature of the later CMx2 iterations.

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That is interesting. In CMSF you can do that and it works every time. I even used that specific combination you mentioned of the pond object and the plinth object just recently. So the automatic deletion of 'excessive' flavour objects must be a new feature of the later CMx2 iterations.

Some combos do work - the pond and the plinth being a common one. But I've tried other combos, only for one of the elements to be deleted. I don't know which combos (apart from pond/plinth) work and which don't. So ... try it out, but don't be surprised if sometimes it doesn't work :)

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