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Prioritizing the SCENARIO EDITOR ?


RepsolCBR

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Hello...

 

 

Should we ask BFC to slow down on the creation of new modules and basegames and put more resorces on updating the editor ?

 

The lack of community made scenarios is starting to be a real concern imo...

 

Its pretty much my feeling that almost 90 % of the community made scenarios are comming from 10 people or something like that...Take away those 10 and we would get close to nothing after the initial releases...

 

Part of the reason has to be that the editor is still not user-friendly enough to get more people to start making scenarios...

 

 

V.3 of CMFI

V.3 of CMBN

the veichlepack

 

has resulted in close to nothing !

 

What do you guys think ? Modules and basegames are very nice offcourse but the stock scenarios don't last forever...

 

 

 

 

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I agree on the fact that there are fewer scenario makers that one could expect, considering the power of scenario/map editor.

 

One fact to take account of is that making of new scenarios has increased in difficulty ever since triggers were released, although this feature is not mandatory; on the other hand the overlay possibility has reduced the difficulty and frustration of new map creation from outside sources.

In my opinion what the editor would need is a complete rework. Sure, some little changes would be nice (to say one I'd like to see a single big "3d preview" dedicated button on the main interface panel) but in the end if you want to make it easier to create new scenarios a new interface would be mandatory, in my opinion.

 

Another option that could speed up map creation, for example, would be the chance to save into a dedicated library partial map sections, full with terrain, foliage and flavor objects, a 5x5, 10x10 or 20x20 Tiles worth sub-creation that would let you make a nice farm compound, for example, with all its props, and then reproduce it in various maps whenever you need that kind of farm compound.

 

As regarding the vehicle pack, in my opinion, that was the worst possible move: the base game for that is the oldest of the new line and the vehicles inside that pack would have been worth at the release. While I would have kept the flail sherman and AT gun bunkers for a late 1944 module (sigfried line etc.).

New vehicles are very interesting, but to rely on user-created maps to make those vehicle worth a game inclusion you'd need to provide something substantial like a new campaign or a good selection of single scenarios.

Sure, you have quick battles, but given the specialization of some of those vehicles new scenarios should be tailored for their scope (sherman crab).

 

Take CMBS for example, disregarding the upcoming modules, suppose a little pack of 10 new vehicles is releasable, would you either fit them to the next module or release it now so that the wave of user scenarios will be using those too? For sure I wouldn't release them after all the modules have been published... at that time you can bet very few people will still make scenarios (those doing that have already given their share). 

 

I am not an expert and maybe BFC got a lot of money out of that vehicle pack (I didn't buy it), but that's my opinion on that.

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My 2 cents is that the editor is basically a good tool as is and does not need a major overhaul or a dramatic focus of all BFC man-hours. I want "Bulge" and modules please! 

 

Maybe a few editor things could be added or changed. I don't know what but Kieme's description of the map section "cut and paste" and "swatch library" would be an awesome capability. We can all dream. It is legal and gluten-free.

 

There are youtube videos by Proambulator to try and strip away the mystery of the scenario editor and make it less daunting to those afraid to jump in the murky waters. BFC had JonS do the Sheriff Tutorial. Lots of forum folks are there to answer questions. It comes down to just getting into the editor and trying and learning with the current editor.

 

I had an idea a year ago to combine forces with others as a "scenario factory" but response was very weak. Now I have had better luck with a "campaign factory" project and we are working on several fun projects (CMRT, CMFI).

 

10 Amish guys with 1 hammer and 1 saw can build a barn. 1 guy in the suburbs with a garage full of the latest power tools might eventually sell them at the pawn shop because he never just started making stuff.

 

And if everybody went now this weekend and tried to make a crazy small scenario from their minds, we could have a hundred new scenarios in just a few weeks.

Maybe there should be a special "dog kennel" :D for "first effort" amateur scenarios that people want to upload but not clog the main repository or GaJ site.

 

 

:D  My 2 cents.

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i like the idea of a theme week, everyone to create a tiny battle x vs y and make it a bit of a competition for best in class. 

 

As long as it started small scale and re-using existing maps as an option (as mapmaking can take some time might) it might get some interest going.

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Could be a great idea! There could/should even be contests with prizes for submitting scenarios. A free vehicle pack? $20 with shipping to gear up some interest would be a good investment. But you know what? I offered my own money for prizes for a CMFI contest a year ago and NO ENTRIES!

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i like the idea of a theme week, everyone to create a tiny battle x vs y and make it a bit of a competition for best in class. 

 

As long as it started small scale and re-using existing maps as an option (as mapmaking can take some time might) it might get some interest going.

I think this is a good idea.  Maybe a variation would be a template is posted containing the map and both sets of forces, then everyone downloads and does the AI plans and deployment.

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Hmmm a scenario contest using an existing QB map would be kind of intriguing...especially starting with a tiny or small map.  That way everyone uses the same map and you could really see some creativity ( or in my case bumbling about) in creating a scenario.

 

As a scenario making noob, I would be in....

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Honestly, look at ArmA and OFP for inspiration. I love making scenarios, and there are so many scenarios for the ArmA and OFP series. Even campaigns that are branching, longer, and better than what BIS have made. Even "dynamic" campaigns have been made. The reason because the Editor in those games are easy to use for entry level people but hard to master. It needs to be appealing to the entry level customer, but have enough depth that the veteran make something truly wonderful.

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I understand the O/p's request and agree that more scenarios are better. Keep them coming.

 

Relatively speaking scenario creation is extremely easy. There are games in a similar scope and scale to CM2 (one of them in a nearby forum ;) )  that require the use of the included c compiler, and a graphic program for the map creation. Another game in similar scope and scale, does only allows scenario creation after going through a rigourous extraction process. The scnario creator we have with CM2 is the fastest and easiest I have seen for the compllexity involved. That being said, sure there is always room for improvement, I agree there.

 

Put a nudge in, request in the approriate forum, sometimes scenario designers just need a reminder as incentive. As for tactical briefing graphics, I always felt a crude BMP drawing in an art program works as long as it can be understood, templates and appropriate generic symbols I think can be provided if someone wants to create a generic set. The briefing is just a text file.  

 

Actually I think I will create a scenario right now now that you mentioned it :)  And I know a few are being worked on by the beta testers as well.

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Map and mission making would be much more accessible if the editor was 3D rather than 2D, that would probably require a ton of engine work though. I'm not sure if something like this exists already but automatic road fitting would make map making a lot faster and more tempting (so that you could simply draw the road and editor would automatically use correct road pieces instead of making the user select correct ones manually). Any kind of automation or tools in general improve accessibility of editor greatly (Far Cry 2 editor for example had great tools for terrain and vegetation).

 

But in my experience the accessibility of editor rarely correlates to the amount of high quality content. People who are into mission making will learn the tools and produce good content even if they are complex and those who are not ready to commit themselves into learning the tools will rarely produce good content in any case.

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Like most others have commented here i also like the idea of some sort of returning scenario design 'competition'.

 

The question is how that should be put together and if BFC would have any intrest in participating and organizing such an event (maybe the best 3 submissions could win a free copy of any existing or future Products or something like that)

 

 

Kohlenklaus initiativ with the scenario factory is also a very good one. I hope it will work. Many people may not have the time to do a full scenario but might be able to contribute in some small way.

 

 

 

As far as the editor is concerned...

 

I really doubt that it is the lack o knowledge that is holding many, many people back from producing scenarios. Between the manual, Youtube tutorials and JonS excelent tutorial that should be enough information avaliable to get people started.

 

As has been mentioned many times before...The scenarios does not have to be super complicated battalion + scenarios but small simple ones are also perfectly fine...

 

 

I rather think that it is the complexity and lack of user friendlieness of the editor that is holding people back...Or perhaps more to the point...A combination of the two !

 

IMO

 

- The mapeditor is very good as is but as has been suggested...The abbility to make and save/load templates that could be placed and rotated on the map would be a great addition.

- The Uniteditor....Also very good

 

- The AI planning...This is where we need some major updatingi Think

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Oooh..And one other thing that i Think would help alot...

 

The abbility to load saved games into the editor...make some changes to them and then save them again.

 

 

This would cut down the scenario testing times significantelly i Think...

 

For example...

 

You have made a 1 hour scenario and are currently playtesting it. Save the game every other turn and ones you get to a Point in the playtesting you dont like...Load a saved game from a few turns back into the editor and make the changes you like.

Save it and now you can continue the playtesting from where you where (turn 45 for example) and don't have to start al over from the beginning...

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Map and mission making would be much more accessible if the editor was 3D rather than 2D, that would probably require a ton of engine work though.

 

I'm not sure about this.  I think the 2D editor allows for better editing of very large maps.

 

I'm not sure if something like this exists already but automatic road fitting would make map making a lot faster and more tempting (so that you could simply draw the road and editor would automatically use correct road pieces instead of making the user select correct ones manually). Any kind of automation or tools in general improve accessibility of editor greatly (Far Cry 2 editor for example had great tools for terrain and vegetation).

 

Yes, there's an automatic road helper.  You just click the button (looks like a diagonal, two-ended arrow) and then click your two endpoints.  We fill in the road between.  It's not perfect but it helps.

 

But in my experience the accessibility of editor rarely correlates to the amount of high quality content. People who are into mission making will learn the tools and produce good content even if they are complex and those who are not ready to commit themselves into learning the tools will rarely produce good content in any case.

 

 Agreed.

 

Oooh..And one other thing that i Think would help alot...

 

The abbility to load saved games into the editor...make some changes to them and then save them again.

 

 

This would cut down the scenario testing times significantelly i Think...

 

For example...

 

You have made a 1 hour scenario and are currently playtesting it. Save the game every other turn and ones you get to a Point in the playtesting you dont like...Load a saved game from a few turns back into the editor and make the changes you like.

Save it and now you can continue the playtesting from where you where (turn 45 for example) and don't have to start al over from the beginning...

 

It's an interesting idea.  I can't imagine how it would work, though.

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It isn't the editor that as slowed fan interest (if that is even a fair statement).  What has changed is the complexity of the game.  I spend more time in the editor than any man on earth and I'm still learning how to create better QB Maps.  It's isn't that it's complicated or user unfriendly it is because it's DEEP.

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My sense of the editor, as someone who has made several scenarios none of which have ever seen the light of day (due to loss or finding out they just weren't fun during playtesting), is that although the editor interface might be a little archaic, it really isn't bad.  Though opaque at first glance, mapmaking and even the AI are relatively easy once you spend a little time with it.  The only thing that I think would really significantly improve the mapmaking and AI processes is a true 3d editor - the ability to place buildings, foliage, and especially flavor objects directly in 3d preview, and the ability to give the AI orders on the terrain itself, rather than hope that spot you painted in 2d is actually a hull-down position.

 

Rather, I suspect that the thing holding more people back from releasing scenarios is the extensive time and effort it takes to polish them.  Playtesting can take exponentially longer than the in-editor aspects, and at least in my aborted efforts the briefing graphics take almost as long as making the map.  Judging by past threads, there are a lot of editor dabblers that don't think it's worth this effort to release a scenario that might wind up totally ignored.  I imagine this results in a lot of half-finished scenarios on hard drives.

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Something as "simple" (perhaps elementary, in the sense of "a discrete element") that would make map design so much easier would be the ability to copy and paste sections of map. Then people could build bits, and others could grab them and import them to help build up their own map, editing any "things that need to join up". Like building a little diorama that other people could put on their game table.

Oh yeah. And scroll bars.

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Modules are the milk cow for the Battlefront while engine changes are harder to justify. That's the basic problem with module approach. In the end quality scenario are  becoming more and more hard to create while community gets more and more fragmented.  It does not help that community expect quality few are willing to contribute; and should you contribute no body gives you feedback.

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Just some random thoughts here.

 

A good number of people here on the forums are stating that Black Sea is "the best yet", "highly polished", "great game play" etc which is terrific to read as scenario designer. However the editor is much the same as it was at the start of CM2, certainly with CMBN if not CMSF and so it seems to me the issue is not the editor as that already provides the tools needed in some capacity to do the job. (Don't for one moment think I don't want to see improvements and new features added to it !)

 

 

 

But in my experience the accessibility of editor rarely correlates to the amount of high quality content. People who are into mission making will learn the tools and produce good content even if they are complex and those who are not ready to commit themselves into learning the tools will rarely produce good content in any case.

 

I fully agree with this.

 

I make missions pretty much at the expense of playing the game. Furthermore the CM series are the only games I have on my PC (excepting Phantom Leader).

 

And yet I read of others that have many different games on their harddrives that they play, which must mean they all compete for the time available, and time is needed to make scenarios. In addition you've got to want to make them and enjoy the process.

 

I find enjoyment in the challenge of getting the editor to do what I want it to, with the current tools. By and large you can, but it takes practice and understanding of the editor itself. I look back at the missions I made for BN and almost cringe at how simple or poor they are compared to the scenarios I'm currently producing (not everyone might agree with this though !)

 

I'm lucky in so much that most of my current output goes out with the official game releases.

 

This has two benefits

 

1. Beta testing is robust with good constructive feedback provided by the the other beta testers and the beloved 3rd wavers

 

2. Given Battlefront seem to think I know what I'm doing I don't need the affirmation of others in order to keep motivated.

 

I see a lot of comment on these boards where people ask for feedback, but what they get is often perceived (rightly or wrongly) as negative, or a thread disappears down a rabbit hole tangent which has little to do with the opening post. There has been a concerted effort over recent months where people have provided feedback on repository released scenarios  when they otherwise might not have done so which is great to see. I think this is the key element to be built upon. If people want the community (rather than BF) to release more scenarios then they need to support those that have the desire to build them. Ignore a new designers request for feedback too many times and he might not bother any more.

 

How many times do you see a poster ask a question about the game that requires someone else to go into the editor and test something for them - its a daily occurrence - and it shows that too many people actually want somebody else to do the heavy lifting.

 

The current tools are good enough for the job, but people have got to want to use them, and then learn how to do so and they need to be supported as they move from rookie designer to expert.

 

Just my 2p

 

P

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I've made two scenarios for CM:RT so i'll throw in my two cents.

 

Making the briefing and the maps used during the briefing (especially the bloody maps) is annoying, difficult, and absolutely no fun. Both of my scenarios are at the "add in tactical/strategic maps stage, and maybe one day they will get past that and I'll release. However, when it comes down to it I have limited free time and I can either play some Dota2 or spend time in photoshop.

 

I general choose Dota 2.

 

And on top of that I generally make scenarios for my personal enjoyment. During the design and testing phase I get my enjoyment out of it.So do I want to put in that extra effort for a dubious reply from the forums?

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I have only skimmed the previous posts so I hope this has not already been discussed.

 

In the original Combat Mission series Quick Battles and the Editor were able to generate random maps. Now, I appreciate that due to the higher level of ground detail in CM:BS this is not feasible anymore, but could not some compromise be made? I am thinking maybe an option to randomly generate the "underlying" terrain, such as contours, forests and maybe some crops? The scenario designer would then have some basic terrain to start to add buildings and other features to, rather than an almost blank slate.

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- The AI planning...This is where we need some major updatingi Think

That would be the first place I would suggest changes to.

 

I make missions pretty much at the expense of playing the game.

Yep, same. When CMBN came out I played for a while and then tried to make scenario and discovered that making a game map from a topo map or areal photo was insanely hard and slow. This was the days before the map overlay. I played the game instead. Once the map overlay feature was added I actually built some maps. It was pretty enjoyable actually. So, I am not convinced that improvements to the scenario editor would not result in more people making scenarios.

Working with the AI editor is difficult I think of it as editing a novel when you can look at only three sentences at a time. When you work on a group's AI plan you can only see one order at a time not the whole thing on the map. And you have multiple groups each with multiple orders. Improvements there would be very helpful. I would like to be able to see a group's entire set of orders at once and have the painted area on the map highlighted as I change my order selection. Heck having more then one group's orders on the map at once would be very helpful too. And painting trigger objectives while in the AI editor - yeah nice too. More flexible copying, group modifying of times (all the rest of the orders need to happen x min sooner than I originally had them set to) delete, insert of individual orders.

Then there is finding a way to use the game to generate some graphics for the tactical map...

Like I said I am not convinced that there is no one out there who would like to create scenarios but isn't because the UI makes things difficult for them in some way.

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IanL  expanding on that suggestion of yours it would be awesome if the scenario editor when open for that AI group had a 3D preview mode and would draw its plan as a waypoint path and at each little node show the time delay there. And all draggable to best cover and all with the ability to click on that leg and make changes with shortcuts as you cycle through the 15,30,45 times. SInce we are dreaming...

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