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Unfinished business/scenarios


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I'm wondering how many of us have 'unfinished scenarios or even campaigns' for CM, for which they can't get the AI right, or the balancing or whatever stops them from sharing it with the community. Personally I'm 'working' on a scenario now for more than a year. It is a 'remake' of HSG KC Lt Neumeyer, a superb little battle Steve Overton ( aka Mad Russian) once made for CMBB (I do have his kind permission btw). And although I've learned quite a lot through making this scenario I can't get the AI right, but that doesn't stop me from playing and enjoying it.

My point is this: the number of released CM scenarios and campaigns isn't exactly overwhelming and not all of us are Scottish,  ;-) What if we just release our scenarios with the remark that it ain't polished enough yet, they are unbalanced or whatever else there may be lacking. Personally I don't care much about balance, but there are lots of people who do, so they can chose to skip it or perhaps even make adjustments themselves. I frequently adjust existing scenarios and campaigns to my taste, or use their maps for making my own battles. And why not? As long as you use it for your own bloodthirst there's no harm done.

Perhaps this way we, as a community, can get the number of scenarios and campaigns flowing, from which we all benefit. Good or bad idea? Please your motivated opinions.

Edited by Aragorn2002
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2 hours ago, Aragorn2002 said:

 

Perhaps this way we, as a community, can get the number of scenarios and campaigns flowing, from which we all benefit. Good or bad idea? Please your motivated opinions.

It would no doubt be nice to see an increase in community-made scenarios/Campaigns and all ideas to increase this might be worth a try.

Unfortunatelly i doubt that this idea will meet with great success. We have had the oppertunity to upload WIP Projects here...

http://www.thefewgoodmen.com/tpg2/

for quite some time now and  this has not resulted in much so far....

 

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1 hour ago, RepsolCBR said:

It would no doubt be nice to see an increase in community-made scenarios/Campaigns and all ideas to increase this might be worth a try.

Unfortunatelly i doubt that this idea will meet with great success. We have had the oppertunity to upload WIP Projects here...

http://www.thefewgoodmen.com/tpg2/

for quite some time now and  this has not resulted in much so far....

 

Well, perhaps we could agree to change that now. Just post our work and accept from each other that it isn't as good as we come to expect. But still a lot of fun and perhaps it will stimulate our creativity.

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56 minutes ago, PanzerMike said:

Yeah, more community scenarios would be great. I do not have time to do much of those anymore; I am occupied making stock scenarios these days. And stock scenarios take even more time to make than community scenarios since the bar is raised for stock stuff. Sorry!

No problem, fully understand that. My idea is more to stimulate the less gifted community members, such as...myself.

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I admit to having several unfinished projects (scenarios, campaigns, mods) that met some obstacle or I flat out lost interest or enthusiasm.

But I think posting unfinished work is ok if just by offering a dropbox download link in a post with a description/disclaimer.

NOT to the scenario depot/repository. Right?

Aragorn (Jakob, right? :) ) How about we try my scenario factory idea and you pass me that scenario and I try and finish the AI?

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16 minutes ago, kohlenklau said:

I admit to having several unfinished projects (scenarios, campaigns, mods) that met some obstacle or I flat out lost interest or enthusiasm.

But I think posting unfinished work is ok if just by offering a dropbox download link in a post with a description/disclaimer.

NOT to the scenario depot/repository. Right?

Aragorn (Jakob, right? :) ) How about we try my scenario factory idea and you pass me that scenario and I try and finish the AI?

Jakob it is, Kohlenklau. :) And you are probably right about dropbox, not the scenario depot. You are such a good guy and I gladly accept your offer to finish the AI. Give me a couple of weeks to adjust some things and I will send it to you.

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This has been mentioned Before...But i think that the lack of feedback (playtesters and comments on finished products) are seriously holding many first- and second time scenario designers back. I have seen quite a few scenarios posted here that have not recieved any comments at all. I Think that this results in many would-be scenario designers loose intrest in producing anything more.

Speaking from personal experience. Something like the 5 latest scenarios i have uploaded have recieved no comments at all. This makes you belive that if they are not woth a single comment...good or bad...they have to utter crap...Why make any more....?

Bad comments are far better then none at all....Atleast then you know what to try and improve with your future work...

If we all could put a greater effort into commenting scenarios we have played (or even better...volunteering to playtest others stuff) then i think we will see a steady increase in uploaded stuff...

Like PanzerMike mentioned...He himself and a number of other of the most experienced scenario desigers are now involved with making content for BFC...

Other guys needs to step forward to make Community stuff  B) And they needs decent feedback on their work...

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It has been said before, make a scenario because it's fun to make a scenario. Don't do it for accolades from the community. It's nice to hear from players if what you have made is any good, but don't count on it. I consider myself kinda blessed feedback wise, be it from playtesters or from regular players, but it is not always the case.

And who knows, maybe one fine day you will be invited to join the crazy Beta bunch! Not sure if that is a good or a bad thing though ;).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've got a handful of scenarios floating out there in various stages of completion--two of which I've cried wolf on a couple of times on the forum. The last two years has seen my game time vastly reduced and I frequently hit burnout and shelve things for awhile to just play the game. Also, the burnout stage usually spawns a new project which makes it even harder to get back and finish earier things still in limbo. That's a bad habit I need to stop.

For me, the big road block has been feeling the need to get a scenario to a point of polish where I feel it will make a good enough first impression. Along those lines, I want to have the graphics done. The tactical map part is something I always put off as long as possible, as I don't have the skill to make the map I see in my head. That slows things down a lot.

The one furthest along (a German-only defensive SP scenario for CMRT) just needs for me to complete my current playtest, solve one AI problem, and finish the tactical map. At that point, I think it would be ready for community playtesting. I haven't used it yet, but I assume TGP2 is the best way to go and intend to post it when ready.

It still may take awhile, as the playtesting is slow going and...the tac-map...

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On ‎29‎/‎08‎/‎2016 at 2:06 PM, Macisle said:

For me, the big road block ... I want to have the graphics done. The tactical map part is something I always put off as long as possible, as I don't have the skill to make the map I see in my head. That slows things down a lot.

I suck at graphics. I generally get someone else to do them for me.

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1 hour ago, JonS said:

I suck at graphics. I generally get someone else to do them for me.

I have some skill, but only up to a point. My strong area is photo manipulation, so making "cover art" using blended photos is okay. llustration and from-scratch artistic design are my weak areas.

Luckily, I found a historical map of the area via a Polish train history site a few days ago that works for what I need. I can paint out some unwanted areas and copy/blend in spots to make it work. It is pretty much exactly what I wanted. Yay!

Now, all the graphics are done except for the tactical map text and easy map notations like finalizing enemy movement arrows. Whew!

I may go ahead and open it up for testing before I solve the AI problem. Basically, I can't get two MG team groups to wait to move. They always jump ahead of their orders--even with time limits that should block them from starting the next orders. Weird.

Them getting shot up doesn't really change the scenario and isn't a definite anyway, so I may just save that for the beta 2 tweak list.

So, I hope to finish up my playtest and get the graphics done this weekend.

Hopefully, finishing this CMRT scenario (The Radzy Award) will recharge my batteries for finishing my White Manor SP scenario for CMBN. I'm really happy with where that one is so far, but for some reason, I got completely burned out on Western Front stuff and haven't been able to touch it in ages. There is something about Red Thunder. I never did much with CMBB and have always been a WF guy, but CMRT has really captured me and it has become my home base.

I'm hugely looking forward to the next module for it. Godspeed, BF!

Edited by Macisle
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5 hours ago, Macisle said:

I'm hugely looking forward to the next module for it. Godspeed, BF!

Me too. I love Normandy, I love Italy, I love the Ardennes, but nothing thrills me as much as the Eastern front, especially the final years.

Concerning making scenarios: try to team up with somebody who has the skills you're lacking. Form a Kampfgruppe. :)

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I personally believe that far too many people strive for the "perfect" scenario, with the result that they get tied up in AI, or graphics, or the briefing, or spend so much time testing it that it never reaches the finish line. Then when they do finish it, they get half-hearted feedback and a couple comments, only for their content never to be mentioned again. It doesn't have to be that way. I have started a scenario from scratch, completed the map, force selection, briefing, graphics and a quick play test in less then a weekend. It is possible. Was this a masterpiece of scenario design, playable from all sides that will be remembered for time eternity? Absolutely not, and I recognize the enormous work that goes into scenarios of that caliber. But you don't need fancy graphics or 5 AI plans for a fun scenario, especially when most people spend 99% of a scenario looking at the map and not the briefing, and only play a scenario once. The investment is not worth it in my opinion. What people want is a fun scenario that will kill a couple hours. These are scenarios you saw all the time in CMx1 - fun, short, sharp fights - that are rare in CMx2. We didn't have to worry about graphics or AI plans in CMx1 - and I think the scenario design community was better for it.

 

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This is a strange thing...the lack of community scenarios being made for CM right now.It feels like no one can really put a finger on it and explanin WHY this is the case. Most of the things mentioned in this thread have been discussed numerous times before and solutions have been suggested and for the most part tested briefely but NO...It's just not happening !

I think that most of us playing this game agrees that CM is by far the best tactical wargame avaliable. Nothing else really comes close. There should be a wealth of scenarios to chose from.

I used to think that one of the reasons for the lack of scenarios where the short time periods of the current CM games but that can not be it either.With CMFI, CMBN  and CMFB (with modules included) we pretty much have the entire western front covered. Any idea (except the final months) that pops into peoples heads should be doable.

The possibilities are endless.


But still...No ! no scenarios...

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Seinfeldrules, you are right, I think.

RepsolCBR, there is a simple remedy for this. I've decided to just do it. This autumn I will release my first scenario (with help of some very talented people). Scenario making isn't as hard as it seems and it is tremendous fun. So, just do it, people.

 

Edited by Aragorn2002
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I guess nobody noticed! Over the last month, I have 5 new scenarios up at TSD3. 3 for CMFB and 2 for CMFI.

Lately I am doing special mods to go with the scenarios. A huge CMFI scenario has hit some small mod related snags but will make it up eventually.

I am working 2 new ones in CMRT.

From laziness I don't even do any of the STRATMAP. OPMAP or TACMAPs anymore. One less worry there...so I roll the the time needed back to spend on the map and AI plan.

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After making three scenarios I have come to the conclusion that map making is the most fun for me and AI plans the least. Currently working on a large map for Ouren (opening stage of the Bulge) in FB and Breville St Come for BN (D-day+6) and outlines of outskirts of Messina for FI.

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For me, map making is the least favourite part of the whole process. I enjoy adding units and working up the AI plans. With the use of triggers and all the AI groups now available, there are lots of options!  

While I enjoy playing the scenarios researched to the nth degree, I find the plausible scenarios to be just as much fun. This is the reason I have been using the quick battle maps from Battlefront for the Quick Scenarios I have made. 

If anyone has maps they have made and would like to see a scenario made from them, feel free to send them to me! I would be more than happy to add units and some AI and see what kind of battle turns out.

Like @kohlenklau said, I don't bother with the Strat, Op or Tacmaps. A well written briefing should provide the player with enough details to allow to figure things out once they look at the actual map. While it certainly does present more polish to the scenario, it is not something I have the skill for to do properly.

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"This is a strange thing...the lack of community scenarios being made for CM right now.It feels like no one can really put a finger on it and explanin WHY this is the case."

Seems pretty obvious when you look at the amount of work involved compared to (say) CM1).  The lack of user-made campaigns is even more serious.  It seems that when a new guy comes along he has the enthusiasm and energy to make something.  But, the burn out rate is high.  Compare the number of user-made scenarios and campaigns in CMSF to CMFB.  There has been a serious decline in quantity over the years as new games are released.

Some of us have been saying that we'd be prepared to pay BF for professionally produced campaigns and scenarios.  Without fresh content this game system is more a toy for graphics enthusiasts who love models and modding.  (I find individual scenarios a bit boring/repetitive.  The game system shines with campaigns as one has to deal with more RL issues like force preservation and ammo conservation.)

Conversely, now that BF is releasing new games in the CM2 system on a fairly regular basis, it can be hard to finish all scenarios in one game family before the next one is released.  Lack of campaigns on the other hand are a much more serious problem in that BF usually only include a couple of campaigns with a new game, and due to the work involved, there are very few user-made campaigns being developed afterwards these days.

I find scenarios a nThis is a strange thing...the lack of community scenarios being made for CM right now.It feels like no one can really put a finger on it and explanin WHY this is the case.

 

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Hummmm, so how many scenarios and campaigns would you expect there to be for CMBN?

By my count there are 290 scenarios available for CMBN. Mind you that includes the shipped ones so user made is a little less than that. 

That seems like quite a few.

For campaigns there are 23, 11 of which I think shipped with the game. I might be off a bit there but the jist is right.

The game system shines when played against other humans so it makes sense that there are fewer campaigns since they cannot be played against other humans, at least not reasonably.

Personally, making campaigns work via PBEM  would be a top three new feature for me. If they ever did that, campaigns would suddenly be a top priority for me.

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On my system (approx): 

CMSF:   Over 500 Scenarios + about 43 Campaigns

CMBN:  Almost 350 Scens and about 35 Campaigns

CMFI:    387 Scens + 15 Campaigns

CMRT:   100 Scens + 15 Campaigns

CMBS:    45 Scens + 8 Campaigns

CMFB:    31 Scens + 4 Campaigns

Yes, the older games have more of each.  But, even taking that into account, the decline is very significant esp for campaigns.  I suspect that volunteer designers are burning out.  Hope the customer base is not going the same way.

And while am sure the game is better H2H, most people play vs the AI.  (Eg: In my case cos it's way more convenient to not worry about keeping an oppo waiting when I have to stop playing for months on end.  Fortunately, BF has yet to implement the AI feature that sends nasty e-mails to slow players.)

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I think the additional "steps" people think is required for CMx2 scenarios is intimidating to new designers. Look at the scenario design AAR doc by JonS - certainly a thorough example of a way to do things, but the amount of work required outside of the scenario editor is pretty daunting. With CMx1 you built a map, selected some units and placed them on the map, wrote a briefing in Notepad, and you were done. No AI, no overlays, no detailed scoring breakdown, no fancy graphics. The only thing you had to do outside of CM was write the briefing.  Clever use of flags was the limit of AI planning, and thus playtesting was greatly simplified. You had an idea, you executed it, you uploaded it - straight forward. Compare that to the work "needed" today and I understand why it's becoming harder to find new people willing to design scenarios.   

Of course, I will always argue that all that additional work that is perceived as necessary for CMx2 scenarios is in fact not needed at all. Perhaps the community needs a simplified version of the Scenario Design AAR, focused on new designers that have limited time and attention to devote to a scenario.

Edited by SeinfeldRules
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1 hour ago, SeinfeldRules said:

I think the additional "steps" people think is required for CMx2 scenarios is intimidating to new designers. Look at the scenario design AAR doc by JonS - certainly a thorough example of a way to do things, but the amount of work required outside of the scenario editor is pretty daunting. With CMx1 you built a map, selected some units and placed them on the map, wrote a briefing in Notepad, and you were done. No AI, no overlays, no detailed scoring breakdown, no fancy graphics. The only thing you had to do outside of CM was write the briefing.  Clever use of flags was the limit of AI planning, and thus playtesting was greatly simplified. You had an idea, you executed it, you uploaded it - straight forward. Compare that to the work "needed" today and I understand why it's becoming harder to find new people willing to design scenarios.   

Of course, I will always argue that all that additional work that is perceived as necessary for CMx2 scenarios is in fact not needed at all. Perhaps the community needs a simplified version of the Scenario Design AAR, focused on new designers that have limited time and attention to devote to a scenario.

Good points - and it is possible to create "stripped down" scenarios for sure (I'm pretty certain most players don't read the brief or look at the maps ;) ). However going back to CMX1 days the reason I started designing scenarios was, to put it bluntly, most of the ones (with few exceptions) were pretty rubbish - poorly designed maps, poor OOB, poor game play. With CMX2 there may be fewer scenarios but generally I find that playing a community made one with CMX2 that the average quality is significantly higher.

Edited by George MC
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