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After Action Series CMBN


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I have had this idea for a VERY long time now and decided to go ahead and post and see where it leads. With the addition of hit decals to CM, BFC upped the cool/immersion factor by a mile. The holes and ricochets on tanks and vehicles really adds to the experience. But the one problem I find we have is that vehicles just still look too pristine, even after they have burned for ten turns or suffered a catastrophic brew up. Yeah, we have ragged holes but nothing else to tell the tale.


That's where the After Action Series of mods step in. Having seen the pioneering work that Blimey, Umlaut, and Kieme have done playing with vehicle flavor objects and the manipulation of alpha channels and such, I thought it would be cool to try and start a series of mods that can be used to show more extensive damage to vehicles in game. They would look great in AARs or just plain old screen shots. Or if you only had one type of the particular destroyed vehicle you could load the mod and leave it for the duration of your game.


Here's a before and after example of what I am talking about. This was done very quick and dirty just to illustrate and emphasize the cool factor. Imagine what it could be with some thought and effort.







The project is open to everyone. There's no rush, it's something that can be done over time, here and there. We have a lot of talented guys that haven't flexed their modding muscles in a while...MJ, DC, ahem.  All I would ask of anyone is that you follow a few very simple rules to keep the project coherent.


1. When filling out the name in the File Title bar start it with AAS, so when it is uploaded to the Repos they will all be in order and people can find them together as a whole.


Example: "AAS Destroyed Greyhound". A lot of us usually put our name first but in this case it would be best to have it further down the title or just put it on the promo screen shot.


2. Put "After Action Series" in your promo shot (that'll help identify them at Gaj's) and people will start to recognize it's a collection.


3. Announce your mod in this thread and we can keep an updated list of what's been made as we go. Though, It won't matter if guys end up doing some of the same vehicles and what not, you can't have enough carnage!


I am gonna start a thread in each mod forum to cater to each flavor of CM.


I hope you guys like the idea and will join in.


Edited by Mord
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My first addition to the After Action Series is more of a tool than what was discussed above. You can use it for your AARs to high light specific damage or just as a forensic kit to help you better identify battlefield damage. I got the idea awhile back from Bil H, he used something similar in his BETA AAR for RT.






This pic will give you a good idea of what I mean. I would've never have noticed the ricochet after the shell pierced the gun mantle. I thought that was really interesting and cool.






Edited by Mord
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Yep, DC got it right on both counts.


The modding would be of in game BMP textures and even parts of the vehicle models themselves (as in removing things with alpha layers). I referenced flavor objects just because those guys had done a lot of model manipulation making their vehicle flavor objects look beat up. Actual game vehicles is the way to go because even when knocked out they can afford units some benefits such as protection.


In the Greyhound example I could have a couple different versions of damage textures, the one you see, something else, and maybe an alpha layered version that makes the turret look half gone/ripped open etc. It's all up to the imagination. Just look at the craziness umlaut has been able to create as a great example of forward thinking.




Edited by Mord
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Yep. I have been toying with similar ideas too. I havent done too much about them yet, though. For two reasons:


1) If you mod a vehicle to look damaged, all of this type vehicle will (potentially) look damaged. You´ll get burning SdKfz 251´s with holes in them - but the holes will also be in the ones that are supposed to be intact. You have no way of ensuring that only the damaged ones look damaged.


2) For this reason I have been leaning towards making damaged vehicles that are actually flavor objects. But this solution has problems too: Flavor objects do not provide much cover, they can´t burn and if you place two or more closely together some of them will have disappeared the next time you load the map.


For me the main reason for making damaged vehicles is to make thing look right in game. Not afterwards. So the After Action part of this doesn´t really appeal to me. I am much more interested in getting things to look rigth when I play.


And I still hope that BFC soon introduce dedicated damage models for vehicles: Simply just models where there´s a big hole or two in the hull while a hatch and a couple of wheels are lying nearby on the ground. To me it seems pretty simple, but perhaps it is not simple at all to make.


Until then, I suggest this method to get in game damaged vehicles:


Use vehicles that have different - but on the surface very similar - models. Like the SdKfz 251 for instance. In this pic I have made a damaged SdKfz 251/1 D, but I have given the BMP´s the names of the SdKfz 251/10 D. This means that you can use all of  the SdKfz 251´s in this game - you just have to avoid the 10 version. As most CM vehicles come in many variants (as you fine lists have just demonstrated, Mord) this method should work in most cases. It should always be possible to find at least one Sherman variant not used in your scenario (I would hope :D )


Edit: Just need to clarify that my method of course only works for placing already damaged vehicles on the map before the battle. Vehicles damaged in battle will still not look damaged after being hit. So this is kind of an athmosphere/immersion solution for scenario designers to use.




Edited by umlaut
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@ Mord

I´m game - even though I cant promise for how long and my motivation is a bit different than yours. As far as I see things, it doesn´t really matter whether I want to make After Action Scenarios or simply more realistic damaged vehicles in game. The work is the same.


I have some suggestions, though, and as you´ve started several different threads on this subject, my first suggestion is this:


Could we agree to keep all discussion on this project in one thread? I really don´t have the patience to surf through four different fora to check if there are any news. Personally, I´d prefer this thread, as this is the forum I frequent the most. (I think we need a general CM2 forum - one that can host these kinds of discussions that transgress the game family boundaries)



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Yeah, I agree that our concepts are different but not mutually exclusive. My idea works better for guy's that just wanna spice up their screen shots as opposed to gameplay, however a lot of guys play PBEM and if they are like me, they don't choose many of the same vehicles, so say they only have one Tiger (yeah right!) in a game and it gets blown to hell, they could switch to the destroyed mod between turns for added atmosphere. This would also work fine in single player under the same circumstances. It's not perfect but it's better than nothing. And the advantage it has over the flavor object concept, besides the previously stated, is that the vehicle will also be able to cook off and what not.


I think one way BFC could solve this problem in the future would be with the tagging system, as it stands there are tags for plain, mud, and snow, the latter two appear when it's raining, or on a winter/snow map. They could possibly produce a tag for destroyed and burning (the game obviously recognizes those states in the editor already). Say a guy makes a M4 Sherman mod, he could do a dirty/muddy version and then a really burned up nasty version, tag it with "burning" and then when it starts to burn the game switches to that modded version. We already have the ability to make multi-textured vehicles of the same type (albeit the game assigns the textures randomly to the vehicle parts...RRRRR!) so it shouldn't be that big of a hit to the comp.


Yep. I have no problem keeping the main conversations here. I only started multiple threads because we have people here that are only interested in one setting of CM. Same reason I made four versions of my hit decal mod, I figured if I only made one for CMBN, someone playing CMBS wouldn't find it. We can use the other threads to post our releases or link back to something here.


And like I stated, this is something that can be screwed with over time, a little at a time, in between other projects, or you can go hod wild ('cause you are McLaut, Duke of Destruction after all) whatever suits you. I will be trying out burnt mods while I work on other things, just to switch it up and for a change of pace.




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