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Marsden Hartley Memorial Flag Mod -- Call To Arms edition


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The first draft of a flag mod that changes all the flags in the WW I scenarios in Breakthrough is essentially done. Unfortunately it's probably a bit too large to upload in it's current form, which leaves me with two choices: find a way to reduce its size by relying more heavily on textures that the program takes from The Great War, or upload each part of the mod that applies to each scenario one at a time, which will be a pain for everybody.

For the moment I'm looking into the first option, and will be expanding the mod to include all of WW I scenarios from The Great War that aren't also included in Breakthrough in updated form. However, as that will take a while, and as my original intention was to only release a mod for Call to Arms anyway (extending the mod to the other scenarios was an afterthought), I've decided to go back to my original plan for the moment until I figure out a practical way of delivering the entire mod that won't annihilate Battlefront's bandwidth.

My original plan (which will not be extended to the other scenarios) was also to produce two separate mods, one using a yellow-black flag for the Austro-Hungarians, one using a corrected version of the more familiar double flag.

So without more ado, here are a few notes on what has been changed and why, in no particular order.

Germany: The vanilla version of the game uses a WW I naval jack as its trademark German flag. A naval jack is a flag that you only see at the front of warships, and is not its main flag. I have eliminated this flag completely from the game, not because it is ahistorical (it isn't) but because this isn't a ship simulator and you would have no opportunity to ever see that particular flag. The German flag that you will see most frequently in this and my other WW I flag flag mods is the imperial tricolor. You will occasionally see the WW I naval ensign (the flag flown from the back of a warship) because it was the main naval flag and came to be used as the national warflag, even on land. Announcements involving the German navy will be accompanied by this flag, some announcements involving the German army will use this flag, and the headquarters sprites for Call to Arms use this flag (later scenarios in the other mods tend not to, with a few exceptions). From a design viewpoint the imperial tricolor is a much better flag and makes a stronger statement than the naval jack or naval ensign because it doesn't have so many fussy details.

Austria-Hungary: The vanilla version of the game uses a WW I naval ensign as the trademark Austro-Hungarian flag. It also uses an incorrect version of this flag in the headquarters sprites, essentially backwards with the Hungarian half rather than the Austrian half next to the flagpole. What to do about the Austrians is complicated by the fact that they probably didn't have a national flag as we would understand it, but based on the propaganda posters of the period they seem to have used a yellow and black horizontal bicolor (the armorial colors of the Hapsburg dynasty) to represent the dual monarchy, and the country as a whole by extension. But they also sometimes used a double flag that was similar to the naval ensign, except that it omitted the two crowns. [by way of analogy, the Italians used two flags, both with the arms of the ruling house of Savoy in the middle of the tricolor, only the naval version of the flag had a crown over the coat of arms.] So for that reason I have decided to keep the double-flag activation sprite -- it's not really incorrect on land units and looks very good on naval units because it suggests the naval ensign. The naval ensign seems to get used most frequently as the Austro-Hungarian flag in propaganda posters from countries other than the Central Powers, possibly because that's the flag they would see when an Austrian naval vessel would pull into port. Vexillologists are still arguing about what flag was flown in front of overseas embassies.

Because urban legends die hard, I've produced a second version of the mod for the Call to Arms scenario that uses a correct version of the double flag on the headquarters sprites. This version, however, does not include all of the flag improvements of the Yellow-Black flag version, and I don't recommend that anyone use it. The one exception to this is in the expanded version of the mod: the larger flag mod includes the Tsingtao scenario from the repository, and because the German and Austrian units that show up in it are essentially naval units, it makes perfect sense for their headquarters sprites to use naval ensigns.

Russia: My initial reaction was to replace all of the Russian flags with a simple slavic tricolor, which was the official russian flag at the outbreak of the war. However, I ended up having to reintroduce the tricolor with the double eagle on gold in the canton, especially for events taking place after November 1914 when it became the official flag. So you'll see both, depending on the situation. I really wanted to use the Russian naval flag (a blue cross of St.Andrew on a white field) but there were no opportunities for it.

England: I haven't done anything to the Union Flag per se, but I did look for ways to adjust it for the rest of the Commonwealth. In the end the only time it will appear different is on one of the convoy maps, where traffic coming from the rest of the Commonwealth is represented by an undefaced Blue Ensign. Despite rumors to the contrary, the official Indian flag was usually the Union Flag defaced with the Star of India, which didn't seem worth the trouble of modding. I may change my mind later on if I ever get around to doing a mod for Assault on Democracy.

France: The tricolor itself is unchanged, but what has changed is where it gets used. Algeria and Tunisia are now flying the tricolor, Algeria because it was part of metropolitan France, and Tunisia because it was a protectorate like Morocco (which isn't showing a flag most of the time) and it made more sense for all of French North Africa to be using the tricolor.

Egypt: Egypt was using a flag from the wrong period. It now uses the Khedival flag, red with three stars and crescents. Same colors as the Ottoman flag, but different enough not to be confusing.

Libya: Libya now uses the Senussi flag until Italy enters the war. Because the Libyan flag on the war map was still showing as the Senussi flag after Italy entered the war, I changed it to the Italian flag.

Greece: Greece now uses the familiar flag with stripes. Greece had two flags during this period, an inland flag (blue with a white cross) and a flag for the sea and coastal regions (the striped flag). Both should be used in their proper places, but if you have to use only one, the striped flag will be incorrect much less often than the plain flag, because Greece has a lot of coastlines.

Bulgaria: Uses a plain tricolor.

Romania: Uses a plain tricolor.

Montenegro: Uses a plain triclor with a lighter blue ("blueish") field. Serbia and Montenegro both used plain tricolors most of the time, the difference was a bit like the difference between the Dutch and the Luxembourg flags.

Serbia: Should have used a plain tricolor with the same colors as the Russian flag in a different order, but this would have been too confusing next to Montenegro. The mod uses a Serbian tricolor defaced with a coat of arms from the correct period.

Spain: Now uses the version of the flag that was in use during WW I.

Changes to things other than flags:

I don't like the color of the uniforms of the late-war French poilus, so I've lowered the saturation a bit on units that were glowing in the dark (including a couple of German units). The French bleu horizon is more greyish and when German uniforms are green the shade is usually informed by lodencoat green. The changes I have made are probably too subtle and I may have to go back and be more heavy-handed at some point in the future. But it's a pain to make selective saturation changes on a sprite bitmap, so it's not something I will do casually.

The miniature images of WW I-era tanks are very nice and cleverly done, but the tank was such a rare late-war weapon that I don't like using it as a general symbol for state of war or prepared assault. I've replaced it with a symbol comprising a flag and a heavy howitzer, and I'm currently using it for both assaults and war state. I didn't set out to use it for both functions, but the alternative was to use a flag and a bunch of five-pixel soldiers to represent assault, which I'm afraid might look odd. The other two symbols that my assault symbol can be confused with are the defensive artillery fire and anti-aircraft fire symbols, but they look somewhat different and neither is accompanied by a headquarters flag.

The mod has been submitted to the Repository for review and will be available in the very near future.

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A new version of the Marsden Hartley Call To Arms mod has been sent to the Repository and is going through review.

I've done a preliminary repaint of the 2D nato-style unit sprites, and added them to both of the Call To Arms mods in this package. The details of the 2D sprites are discussed in another thread, but please note that as yet they have not been added to the Marsden Hartley Great War edition.

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Version 1.5 can now be downloaded from the Repository.

The symbology for the 2-D units mod has been finalized, and while not as colorful as the 2-D sprites, the new symbols are very easy to read at a glance. It's now harder to confuse corps units with smaller detachments, and you can also tell if a unit is level one, two, or three without squinting to read the little numbers (or remember if the number refers to motorization or level). Ships and planes don't look anything like ground units, and are also easy to identify.

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