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Combat Mission Commander (Campaign Tool)


Falke88
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Hi,

We are clearly into “each to their own...” territory but I would define a meta campaign slightly differently to 76mm. More along the lines of combining a traditional operational game with CM.

Easier just to describe what I mean. What follows is quite a grand example.

Two slightly reduced German infantry divisions with StugIII and units in support defending against a Soviet corps of say three infantry divisions with some armoured regiments and support. Aim to take a town. Map around 20km north to south and 40km east to west. Game length up to a week of simulated time.

There are forums for German and Soviet players to discuss operations. The game has turns, say three turns a simulated day. Orders are issued by the German and Soviet players and sent to the umpires or games masters. They in turn move the units around on the maps and decide where clashes have results. Build CM games that the players then fight out and the umpires ply the results to the operational units on their master map.

The umpires then send different versions of their master maps back to the players on each side. With Fog Of War tweaked for each side.

Then the players discus the their plans for the next turn.. and so on..

However, all this is very grand. If you managed to produce some form of operational layer where we could manoeuvre battalion and company units then resolve the clashes in CM and play the results back to the operational units that would be fantastic and dream come true.

Realistically some form of basic operational layer would in itself be incredible. It is context and more context that would add so much more to the battles.

Unbelievably lucky to have CM at all... ,

Great stuff,

All the best,

Kip.

What you are describing here sounds very familiar to the system used in the "Onion Wars" campaign some years back using CMBB to fight localized battles created from a much larger operation area.

You can check out this old foum post, but I haven't tried any of the website locations to see if they are still valid.

http://www.combatmission.com/community/showthread.php?t=89895

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Ye sounds good here - you ever looked at the other project called COO ?

Nope, I've probably heard of it at some point, but haven't seen much about it. I was involved in beta-testing CMC back in CMx1 days, was disappointed when that didn't work out. I also participated in Onion Wars for a few battles.

Actually, what I have in mind is very much like Onion Wars (although a bit more "realistic"), but without an umpire.

The main difficulty with all of this is, of course, transferring unit data (losses, etc.) between the CM and operational layers, since you need to do it all manually, which is a significant problem.

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Nope, I've probably heard of it at some point, but haven't seen much about it. I was involved in beta-testing CMC back in CMx1 days, was disappointed when that didn't work out. I also participated in Onion Wars for a few battles.

Actually, what I have in mind is very much like Onion Wars (although a bit more "realistic"), but without an umpire.

The main difficulty with all of this is, of course, transferring unit data (losses, etc.) between the CM and operational layers, since you need to do it all manually, which is a significant problem.

Is there no way to say use part of the spreadsheets from RobO's quick campaign generator from the CMx1 series? Just curious if that could help with the labour involved.

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Sburke, hi,

Yes.. I agree in the sense that the standard, almost default reason why meta campaigns fail... too few umpires/games master.

The greatest wargame I ever took part in was the James Bailey organised Normandy based meta camping using CMx1 about ten or too twelve years ago.

However... it was so huge, so well run, that it set an unrealistic standard. But get the ratio of umpires to players right, in my view the umpires should also play some of the games to deliver a certain type of opposition for the dedicated players.. if you follow me... and this is very doable. On a small scale surprisingly easy.

Nidan1, hi,

Yes very similar.. this is the standard method. A lot of fun..

All the best,

Kip.

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Be sure to visit Choppinit's Project of the same idea:

https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/combat-operations-overlord-game-group

They have a real dev team while I'm a standalone game dev. Dont expect too much fancy stuff in my tool - its more a project for a friend of mine and me to play CM Total War style ;)

But surely I wanna share it with everyone who's interested.

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Falke88:

Interesting.

I've been working on my own op-layer for a few months myself, coding the tool with Flash AS3, using external, PBEM'able XML files to "save" and "load" counter/hex data. Many 10's of thousands of lines of code written, some significant progress made. It's awesome to see that several other members have answered the call as well to develop their own Op-layers for a game that is just crying out for one.

One main sticky point I've been trying to solve is how best to reduce the bookkeeping for the players/umpire. I.E.: After a battle, I don't want to force the player/umpire to go through a gargantuan spreadsheet for every single unit to adjust ammo, casualties, morale, etc. I want that "Unit updating" process to be quick and painless.

One solution is as follows:

On the CM AAR screen, there are the following categories:"Men Ok","Men Killed","Men Wounded","Men Missing","Tanks Lost","Arm Vehicles Lost","Other Vehicles Lost". You could develop a tool that would let the player assign these casualties him/herself to the involved units of his force. For example:

Axis Counters "Ax1,Ax2 & Ax3" attack into Hex 38, contained a stacked Soviet force of 2 units, "Sov1 and Sov2". The result is an Axis victory. The AAR screen for Axis casualties reads the following: "..., 45 men killed, 32 men wounded,...". This End Screen is sent to the umpire, who pre-loads a master "Unit Updater" tool with those totals, as well as pre-selecting those Axis units that were involved in the battle (Ax1,Ax2,Ax3). That XML is send to the Axis player.

The Axis player opens the XML file with their "Unit Updater" tool. The player would then assign casualty points based on his best guess as to how the casualties were distributed amongst his committed units. For example:

falke88-1.jpg

Let's say in the battle Axis 1 suffered most of the casualties, with Axis 2 & 3 suffering lighter. The player need only click the little black KIA buttons next to the affect units. That will decrease the "KIA remaining" number by 1, while decreasing the "Men Ok" of what ever unit, let's say Ax1,1stPlt. So, maybe the player assigns 10 KIA & 5 WIA to each of his platoons in Ax1; that would leave 15 KIA points remaining, and 17 WIA points remaining to be assigned to the other units. He then allocates 5 KIA & 5 WIA points to each of the Ax3 platoons. That reduces the counters down to 0 KIA and 2 WIA remaining. The last 2 WIA are assigned to Ax2,1stPlt.

Final updated units strengths: Ax1.1 = "OK:15, KIA:10, WIA:5"........ etc for others.

An unknown here: Does an umpire then have to manually open up a "Core Units" file, and adjust each and every individual unit to reflect the changes? I'm trying to design that laborious necessity out... I'm leaning more towards quick battles rather than umpire-built game files with updated core-units files.. The system Im working on relies on percentages of unit types within counters, along with force ratios between sides to calculate the amount of points each player will be allowed to allocate to certain types of units... Reliant on players to spend points honestly, but quick battles have SO much less bookkeeping... Can give more details if interested.

More on the "Unit Updater Tool":

The advantage of such a tool/interface is that all the player is doing is clicking buttons to assign casualties: much less painful that scrolling through spreadsheets. Of course, the disadvantage is that is relies on players to allocate casualties honestly, as near as possible to what he remembers from the battle. But it's a fair tradeoff in my mind.

With this, you could also throw in a board wargame mechanic called "soak-off", where a player intentionally commits a unit of lower quality to an attack with the intention of allocating all endured casualties to that unit afterwards. That would be do-able here too, if desired by the players. In such a case, regardless of whatever casualties the elite PzGren Ax1 & Ax2 units ACTUALLY took on the CM battle, the Axis player could allocate ALL the "KIA & WIA remaining" points to his crummy Ax3 Green Garrison infantry. Would feel like assigning step-losses. Matter of preference for the players.

Some questions:

What coding environment are you using?

How will you be modelling supply?

Will there be FOW?

Hex or "Area" game Map?

PM me to continue conversation is desired.

Mike.

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Good Point - I'm also up to use the AAR Report to check out the outcome and add this to the unit details on the OpTool itself.

To your Questions:

I'm using C# withing VS Ex2013 with SFML.NET API

I didn't designed the supply mechanics yet - actually just creating the graphic code and some basic user mechanics like moving units - letting unit icons magnetize onto hex fields etc. Also designing the GUI and Units Icons etc.

Well no actual FOW but more I want to let enemy units be invisible or if they are armored and spotted by air recon marked with a big "?" around their estimated Position.

Hex Map.

You can PM me aswell if you have any specific questions

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Michael, my concern with an approach like what you're describing is that while it would certainly ease admin burdens, it would also almost inevitably result in players under-allocating casualties to favorite (presumably experienced units) and over-allocating them to cannon-fodder units, which would result in an unrealistic proliferation of uber-experienced units. Therefore, I think it is important to drill down to the squad/vehicle level to understand exactly what casualties were suffered.

The database I'm working on would ease the admin burden to some degree in that it would be easier to deal with than a spreadsheet, although it would certainly still be a pain to input all of the casualty figures, especially if the forces involved are large. But the good news is that you wouldn't have to mess around with any units in CM until they were involved in a battle, at which time you'd have to conform them to their state in the database, which could change outside of battles because of replacements, resupply, etc.

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I have not yet used this, but I recall JonS suggesting it some time ago. Utilize the import units function to manage losses. So as an example, you create say a BN task force and save as a scenario named TF one. You then create your new scenario and import that task force. After your battle you calculate your overall losses, go back to the original scenario you used to create that BN task force, apply the general loss level, delete any specific units that you need to eliminate (tanks, guns etc). Now save that scenario as TF one A and you now have the depleted formation ready to import into the next scenario that features that unit. It certainly beats rebuilding from scratch and it spreads your casualties across the entire unit. You could also apply casualties more specifically if certain formations suffered more heavily. Either way that would be the job of the umpire.

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Michael, my concern with an approach like what you're describing is that while it would certainly ease admin burdens, it would also almost inevitably result in players under-allocating casualties to favorite (presumably experienced units) and over-allocating them to cannon-fodder units, which would result in an unrealistic proliferation of uber-experienced units. Therefore, I think it is important to drill down to the squad/vehicle level to understand exactly what casualties were suffered.

The database I'm working on would ease the admin burden to some degree in that it would be easier to deal with than a spreadsheet, although it would certainly still be a pain to input all of the casualty figures, especially if the forces involved are large. But the good news is that you wouldn't have to mess around with any units in CM until they were involved in a battle, at which time you'd have to conform them to their state in the database, which could change outside of battles because of replacements, resupply, etc.

Well I dont see it like that - When in my Concept I will attack with 2 Platoons and they will occur with casulties - these will surely be split up by both. Leaving one platoon mybe at full strength and the other with mybe half of strength. STILL this is a realistic matter - the Captain of a company can order to form up one full strength platoon and the other one remains with the weaker strength due share of boots.

and the experiences issue wont count here because both platoons involved in the battle will earn experience - I will make XP count on Platoons not on one soldier per unit

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How exactly do you plan to apply experience at a platoon level? CM experience levels reflect pretty drastic differences and are only applicable on a meta scale. A platoon experiencing a firefight or even a couple firefights isn't going to have earned a jump out of regular status. It would take some serious out of the frontline training or longer term combat to start moving into veteran status. Heavier casualties would degrade a unit as well unless you have trained replacements coming in or time again off the front lines for the unit to rebuild it's cohesion.

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didnt Designed that Systematics yet. Still I think you shouldn't go that hardcore into detail - I'm ok with the total war style of experience... even a unit with casulties still has vets in it which will train and teach unexperienced soldiers that strong that the unit will regain its Experience. I'm in active duty as a german Fallschirmjäger and thats exactly how it rolls here with our platoon

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I would be happy with player vs player for the first version, I would just move both sides in single player. The key would be if it could do all the book keeping in between the battles, that's the part the bogs down meta campaigns.

If you did get support and added ai and also a way to import random ai plans into cm based on the operational situation of your game. That would be a version I would pay a hundred bucks for.

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Does anybody know if CM provides any start parameters to start the CM.exe and jump right into Quick Battles + Unit Selection?

Just wanna know if anybody contacted them already before for this issue.

No start parameters. Has been asked quite regularly (im- export of units and auto-generating features).

There is some kind of promise that if COO becomes a success that CM would open up a bit in this direction.

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