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Kharkov Map Sneak Peak


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12 minutes ago, Erwin said:

Amazing.  This looks like a similar herculean effort as LLF's Ramadi map.

Have you considered using the angled road mod to avoid the jagged sawtooth road look?

Thanks!

Yeah...boy, was I but a babe in the woods when I started this thing.  It's beginning to feel like LLF and I may have shared the Man Called Horse initiation. 🙃

Though it looks very cool, I'm not planning on using the angled road mod. At this point, I don't want to redo anything unless absolutely necessary. Also, I'm not sure how it affects pathfinding and/or other. I don't want to introduce any unknowns.

I've been pretty impressed with the TacAI getting around so far. I'm maximizing the number of roads on the map and also threading them inside blocks using non-paved styles. Quite a lot of the buildings have roads near/adjacent to both their front and secondary doors and that seems to help. With good waypoint plotting, vehicles are getting around quite well, too. Some alleys only allow infantry, but that is on purpose. Many will still allow vehicles. Some juicy potential play with the variables there.

Another thing I've been pleasantly surprised with is how the TacAI displaces/routs. With the nature of the map and complex building structures, the troopers often get away and actually choose smart places to set up in. Quite a few times, I've found the AI has run away to the one spot in the building where I can't get a good LOS on them, but they can still engage me if I try to send troops in close to dig them out. Cool stuff.

Of course, there is the occasional suicide rout (AI ignoring the 1-4 safer paths and choose the deadliest one). But that only happens every now and then. More often, the enemy gets away because there is so much cover around. Players will be looking to find and secure inside-block-facing building positions that allow them to whack enemy troopers retreating out the rear of buildings that they are hitting with heavy fire from the front. You can definitely rack up some kills that way. Players will need to spread their teams around to cover the area with eyes, lest they be ambushed by sneaky counterattacking troops as well.

And, with lots of heavy arty, the battlefield will be constantly changing shape. Where will the next Pavlov's House be? That's one of the things I'm most excited about. At the beginning of a battle, you don't know which buildings will stay standing, how they will change, and how that will affect the combat. In one battle I did, I reduced about half of one of the biggest building structures with preplanned howitzers. Then later, as I got closer, I discovered that the AI had two surviving HMGs in there and they managed to displace to cover exactly my two vectors of approach. Ranged fire exchanges went badly for my guys (they were higher quality troops than mine) and my attack was failing. Finally, I ended up working my way from smaller building to smaller building out of their LOS. Finally, I managed to get a team behind them (the whole rear of their building was gone and they had no cover from the rear) and that fire got them.

It felt very realistic and is exactly what I want for this. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but for those that dig it, I think there will be many an hour of fun in store for them in Kharkiveskya.

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As we eagerly await the coming of CMFR, here's a quick status update: I'm picking up the project again after a super-long break and am pecking away at what I can do without the new module materia

Lots more work to do on this, but... Sneak Peek:

Hey, guys. It's been awhile. I thought I'd drop a screenie and let everyone know that the project is alive and well -- if moving along rather slowly due to RL time demands. I had to take a long break

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46 minutes ago, benpark said:

Amazing.

I wouldn't redo the roads at this point- the buildings will also need to be redone, which will be a cascade of horror for you. 

Almost there.

Thanks, Ben! Yeah, "cascade of horror" sounds about right. There are actually one or two sections of road that I made some design choices with early on that I now regret (can't remember my reasoning, either). However, they are in finished areas and would likely require days of work to redo. So...prolly not gonna' happen.

32 minutes ago, Aragorn2002 said:

Superb work, McIsle. A town to kill for.

Thanks! I'm certainly dying to have folks kill each other on it.🙂

14 minutes ago, mjkerner said:

Gorgeous looking and sounds like it will be a blast—pun intended!

Thanks! One of the goals of the project is to give players a sandbox that will let them really take the arty tools that BF has given them for a spin. In tandem, is wanting to give the keys for the primary barrage to the player and let him take control, make the choices, and "terra-form" as he likes. The trade-off is that players will have to spend the time in turns to let that happen and that realism may have to be allowed some elasticity with regards to the amount of arty a player has at his disposal vs. the tactical situation just at hand. In other words, normally the primary barrage would have happened before the start of the scenario and the player would have access to a reasonable amount of additional on-call support during his mission. In this project, the attacker is going to get both during the game and the defender is going to have a hand of arty cards balanced relative to the attacker. Additionally, the scenarios are meant to be the equivalent of multiple standard scenarios and will feature multiple waves of forces coming onto the map over long time periods. That makes for A LOT of artillery.

So, the first time an attacking player experiences a scenario on the map (currently, four 4-hour scenarios are planned), he may feel like he has an insane amount of arty during setup. However,  as the scenario goes on, he will likely come to see it as about right, or maybe even a bit low. His choices will matter a lot. He can flatten a small number of key areas, or degrade larger areas. He can use it to harrass enemy rear area movement, or lock enemy units in place. Depending on his preplanning work, he can do a combination of several things. But, because the scenarios are so long, he still has to keep an eye on supply and adjust based on the results he's getting and what he'll get with reinforcements. And, of course, the enemy will be responding...

Testing vs the AI so far shows that modular constructions like I'm doing are very resilient against artillery and offer a lot of protection to hiding troops until the building section itself collapses -- which takes awhile. This goes for both medium and heavy howitzers. Heavy rockets can destroy small modular sections in single hits, but still require a number of direct hits (unreliable) to take out larger building sections. Anything less than 105mm is mainly useful for knocking out ATGs, laying smoke or attempting to top kill tanks. To take down a larger building complex, about 20-30 minutes of point/tight line medium or heavy howitzer fire on medium rate (heavy is less accurate and produces fewer building hits) seems to be required. In those cases, hiding troops will take light casualties until their actual building section collapses or a lucky hit knocks out a wall right next to them. When I test, I have the AI setup hidden on the bottom floors and be triggered to unhide and move higher by my actual approach. That way, I can get a feel for how much damage my opening artillery does. So far, I've been impressed with how much fight they have left in them after a 10-20 minute opening barrage.

Of course, this is intended for H2H play. I can't wait to get play testing going on that. Alas, it will be awhile. But, that's probably good as it will be done after any changes made by the patch.

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I think I might be as exited to have people finally get to kick the tires as they are to play it. There is a lot more work to do, though. The overhead pic I posted in August showing completed zones is deceptive because it's wide angle. It makes the undone sections look much smaller than they are. For example, the bridge you see in the most recent pic I posted is 860 m north of the south map edge. But there are still 580 m stretching north of it for a total of 1,440 (map is square).

Here's quick summary of status:

  • Battle 1: Soviets start at SE corner and push N and W to establish bridgeheads.
    Status: other than finishing the briefing graphics, ready to play.
  • Battle 2: Soviets push W on the southern side of the river line from earlier bridgehead (this part of the battleground is shown in my video series). After securing the entire area S of the river, they swing N and use the two bridges to cross and establish sizable bridgheads N of the river.
    Status: other than elevation refining N of the river line, map work complete. Scenario still conceptual, though.
  • Battle 3: Soviets push N on the E side of the river to secure all terrain south of the NE bridge and E of the river line. Having secured their flank, they then use the two available bridges (NE and the central one shown in my last pic) to cross the river and establish sizable bridgheads.
    Status: map about 60% done. Everything else conceptual. But I've done some skirmishes to test some areas.
  • Battle 4: Germans launch a powerful counterattack to try to crush bridgeheads on their side of the river (time for Fritz to get some heavy rockets!). They must push the Soviets back as far as they can while they have fire superiority. As the battle progresses, the main body of the Soviet final assault force will arrive and the Germans will switch over to defense. The Soviets must then fight through the lost territory (oh, the terra-forming! 😛) and into the yet undamaged "hill citadel" area of the NW map corner. Then they must clear out the Germans for final victory.
    Status: map area largely skeletal, everything else conceptual.

I was hoping to have folks testing battles 1 & 2 by now, but my inability to solve a texture problem nixed it. Long story there, but at this point, I'm waiting for the CMRT module to see what it brings. I think it uses more than 8 default textures (is that right, Ben?), so that should provide me with a stock texture control to solve my problem and produce a custom 16+ texture pack for the map. Until I can solve that problem, the map will show mismatched textures unless the player has my exact mod folder setup installed.

So, the current plan is to focus exclusively on the master map to knock it out and then work on the scenarios.

Oh, and a thing I discovered while working on Battle 1...

If you place forces as the designer and then slice the map after, the Editor will toss all your troops around -- even if the edges reduced are no where near your troops. I was trying to save time by setting up the Battle 1 forces on the master while continuing to have it available to tweak. To my great annoyance, I discovered that slicing the Battle 1 area off from the master would eff up my troop placements. After redoing them twice (takes over an hour each time), I realized that troop placements have to be done AFTER slicing the map. Which means any updates to the master will not be reflected in the battle slice. AAAaaaargh!

Anyway, that's where things are. Oh, but one more thing to mention. In addition to being arty country, this map is also...

FLAMETHROWER COUNTRY. 😈

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9 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Is the master map mod dependent?  :unsure:

That might limit its utility slightly, especially for those planning on porting it to CM:BS (ie: me).

I'm not doing anything exotic like custom flavor objects. Really just putting together a pack of other people's mods (may be a few original things, not sure yet) to make sure the textures are consistent and enhanced from stock. There will be a modular texture pack of about 16 or so tagged building textures and an assortment of general terrain items like pavement textures (stock RT pavement textures really don't work with the map). I would think most would fit in pretty easily into CM:BS. I'm guessing that it would be a question of replacing any textures in the pack with ones you prefer and naming them correctly to swap out.

Two potential problems that do come to mind are roof styles and window size. I've made very extensive use of the large windows available in CM:RT. I'm not sure how those and the RT roof choices would port over. Fixing the roofs might not be too bad, but if CM:BS doesn't allow the same window choices, there might be a large amount of work to fix things. There are very few independent buildings other than small barns and every modular building has been worked to configure its window/door layout. I've generally recreated what I see in the real world on GE, unless something takes my fancy or Editor limitations prevent it. I find that ends up creating interesting things that I wouldn't have been able to think of on my own. If those get jumbled up, the map would really suffer.

Here's hoping they can port over okay!

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Oh boy, do I have some news and no one will be more pleased than Sgt. Squarehead.

I recently upgraded my graphics card to replace my old GTX 550Ti 2GB, which bit the dust after long and faithful duty. I just did a stress test with the new GTX 1060 6GB using the full master and it may work to use the whole map at once.

There is still a lot to add to the map and it might choke as reinforcements come in, but there is some hope. My CPU is an early i7, so if I also had a better new CPU, well...🙂.

Anyhoo, nothing to do but keep making the master and do more thorough stress testing as it comes along (and maybe upgrade the CPU before the scenario decision point comes).

If it does end up working, the biggest pickle might be the current 4-hour time limit. But then again, that is still a long time for H2H play and the workload reduction of going to a single battle makes a SP version a lot more doable.

Alrighty, that's it for now.

Macisle out!

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1 hour ago, Macisle said:

 

 I just did a stress test with the new GTX 1060 6GB using the full master and it may work to use the whole map at once.

 

That's what we like to hear ☺️...A big fight for the entire map...Very cool !

It will be one hell of a battle though. I guess the attacker will need something close to a regiment to attack and hold this place.

I think that as far as H2H goes a 4 hour battle on this entire map would work very well if the players like these kind of LARGE ☺️ battles but i'm affraid that Vs the AI it would require some very clever use of the avaliable AI groups to be able to handle an extended battle over such a large area. A decent Vs AI battle will be doable for sure with a liberal use of static defenders and such...but it will be tricky i fear...Well worth a try though...

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48 minutes ago, RepsolCBR said:

That's what we like to hear ☺️...A big fight for the entire map...Very cool !

It will be one hell of a battle though. I guess the attacker will need something close to a regiment to attack and hold this place.

I think that as far as H2H goes a 4 hour battle on this entire map would work very well if the players like these kind of LARGE ☺️ battles but i'm affraid that Vs the AI it would require some very clever use of the avaliable AI groups to be able to handle an extended battle over such a large area. A decent Vs AI battle will be doable for sure with a liberal use of static defenders and such...but it will be tricky i fear...Well worth a try though...

If using the whole map pans out, that facilitates a number of things that I wanted for the project. Beyond, permanent damage, it opens up massive possibilities for maneuver and response. The Germans would be leaner and more mobile, with faster responding artillery and a certain amount of deadly cat power (base would be lesser workhorses), while the Soviets would be less mobile, but with heavier overall firepower and much deeper reserves. The attacker cycling through around a regiment is what I've been thinking for the whole map. With large variables in arrival times and many reinforcement waves (timed to allow attrition to keep overall troop levels workable), it would be a wild ride indeed.

On the SP side, my experience making The Radzy Award gives me a pretty good understanding of what would need to be done with the AI plan. I'm not up for attempting the attacking side, but I might be able to put together a decent Attacker vs AI version of the single battle.  H2H and SP would have to be separate, targeted versions. The AI would need a lot more scary cats (and tube guys) to stay competitive.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay, last picture post before I go into my cave for a few months. I've made some good progress over the last few weeks and just finished kicking the tires on a fresh-out-of-the-oven block section near the NE bridge. Screenies:

Soviet MG team moving forward (the wall on the right has no windows in real life either).

47251550062_472cd38ac1_b.jpg

 

German defenders engaging while they still have fire parity. They lose it once the MG team gets into place.

46389064175_d695486600_b.jpg

 

Aftermath on the south side of large factory overlooking the NE bridge. This building will be the scene of epic contests and/or frequent flattening, as it provides superb overwatch of the NE bridge for infantry. Not much will get across as long as the defender has at least one form of MG and a panzerschreck in there.

47304029231_55d40bfc6e_b.jpg

 

The factory in real life from the north side facing south. The on map building has the same view of the bridge. You can also just make out the apartment building at the far right. That will need to be neutralized for safe bridge crossings, too. Of course, the attacker will have to think about what he wants to keep for his own future overwatch positions as well. Spend the resources to take, or flatten?

40339201423_c885522a1f_c.jpg

That's it for now. Over-n'out!

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3 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Great set of pictures.

Thanks! I was sorely tempted to show more, but I don't want to give too much away. There were lots of image and video-worthy moments in the fight. After two separate medium howitzer attacks on the factory, a heavy howitzer attack very near, and the collapse of multiple sections, there were still defenders putting out strong fire when I tried to advance. So, I brought up a tank, took out the defenders I could see and dropped the last section in the south-facing row of sections. Then, exactly what I thought might happen did. As the section collapsed, a schreck man in the section still standing behind it appeared out of the smoke and burned my tank. Classic, and exactly what I'm trying to do with these constructions.

At the end of the fight, the remnants of quite a few defending units had all piled into the two-story building extension on the north-facing side (you can see it in the picture of the real building). That was the last part of the building that was totally safe from fire.

Honesty, I'm pretty impressed with how the TacAI is handling this kind of terrain. It seems to use it significantly better than it does stock urban maps -- both in setup location choice and routing paths. I'm very pleased with the combat and building path bugs/oopsies are no worse than on a stock map.

Edited by Macisle
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On 8/29/2018 at 10:52 AM, Aragorn2002 said:

One of my most enjoyable gaming experiences was a Steel Panther-scenario, situated in Charkow March 1943. For the future I hope for a CM game/module to relive that experience. This is one of the best maps I've ever seen.

I as well miss those  past great SPWAW times, the more as I was in the Mega Campaigns team, providing a couple of scenarios and other stuff. Despite the games age it still has to offer lots of possibilities that weren´t yet fully exploited until today. Still have it all on HD and some its features might serve as basis for further CM improvements IMO.

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42 minutes ago, RockinHarry said:

looks gorgeous! B) Wished it could be made a CMX1 style operation with a map like this. CMRT is currently at top of my purchasing list and once I have new computer (very soon) and V4 patches proofed worthiness, I should be ready when you are.

Thanks! CMRT has a certain magic for me. I was always a Western Front guy, but somehow, CMRT got me in a way that CMBB didn't and it hasn't let me go yet. Since the title came out, my WWII interest area has shifted a lot more to the EF as well.

I'll probably be upgrading my CPU, MB and RAM before the map gets finished. That will determine if I think the whole map can be used at once. Probably not. However, even if it can, the 4-hour limit might be too prohibitive to make it across the map without having to resort to suicidal advance speeds. Either that, or I go way light on unit density -- which I don't want to do. So, 4 very long battles will likely still be the format.

I sure would like to be able to do a CMx1 style operation with this. From what I remember, that would allow for permanent damage (and wrecks? It's been so long...I think they stayed, didn't they?).

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28 minutes ago, Macisle said:

Thanks! CMRT has a certain magic for me. I was always a Western Front guy, but somehow, CMRT got me in a way that CMBB didn't and it hasn't let me go yet. Since the title came out, my WWII interest area has shifted a lot more to the EF as well.

I'll probably be upgrading my CPU, MB and RAM before the map gets finished. That will determine if I think the whole map can be used at once. Probably not. However, even if it can, the 4-hour limit might be too prohibitive to make it across the map without having to resort to suicidal advance speeds. Either that, or I go way light on unit density -- which I don't want to do. So, 4 very long battles will likely still be the format.

I sure would like to be able to do a CMx1 style operation with this. From what I remember, that would allow for permanent damage (and wrecks? It's been so long...I think they stayed, didn't they?).

Eastern front is more attractive to me in 1941/42 and western front in 1944/45 (until the 1940 game is released in 2031 something), thus I´d stayed with CMBN and CMFB until now as preference. If you´d have a look at my sig you see I can not load nor play large maps with just 512 MB VRAM. That´ll change soon with new computer (and GTX 1050 TI). Maps larger than 2x2km and tons of objects usually gets me CTD until loading maybe 30-40% and then ...Adios.

I´d used to the habit of downgrading textures for my larger maps in order to help some with low VRAM and it appears to work. Those textures I figured I don´t necessarily need HD, I downgrade to half sizes (512x512), but the main FPS eater yet remains shadowing. :P So I prefer bad weather settings, where´s no crisp shadows and removing them (ALT-W) doesn´t make a difference visually. Maybe bits of downgrading textures helps you with testing your full map, so at least you can play with better FPS. Anybody tried that (shrinking textures in PS, not by options texture quality setting)?

CMX1 operations, damage, yes...wrecks...was a random factor from retrieving repairable stuff between battles, IIRC.

Edited by RockinHarry
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