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Community Campaign Created by Multiple Contributors, Historical or Hypothetical


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You could also mix and match VASSAL engine modules to track the campaign (if someone hasn't already done this).  For instance use:

http://www.vassalengine.org/

Use the counters that are company sized from something like PanzerBlitz/PanzerLeader:

New_pzbpzl_screenshot.gif.aa8f39294a1cf5be447ebdc9641c05f0.gif

http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:PanzerBlitz

And make your own map collage from CM maps or use something representative like the map from NATO:

NATO_Web_Splash.thumb.jpg.22c5609bb10420a60e62662612f50725.jpg

 

VASSAL would let the game master(s) track the entire campaign electronically.  I believe there is a fog of war mode included with VASSAL.  You could give each side's 'General' his forces to deploy on the map:

PL1.thumb.png.98728a931b97790c2876440d8b5abf94.png

You could also draw from one of the included scenario's for the campaign:

PBS7Kiev.jpg.934d747605ce14b54492d83c8bb4fe3c.jpg

I'm sure there are better wargame examples that would make more sense, if anyone knows of one off the top of the head?  Anyway, just some ideas.

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@Artkin  I've got a fair few maps from the other CM games converted to CM:BS.....I've tweaked a couple of them slightly, but most of them are just as they came. 

You may have them already have some or all of them.....They certainly offer a battlescape that's a little outside the CM:BS norm, here's one that might seem familiar, especially to players of CM:FB:

CHxKYXA.jpg

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I'd be interested in participating in a MP campaign, especially one that is created on Vassal. Long thought this would be the best platform for an operational CM game because it offers the flexibility to evolve the mechanics and rules over time. Perhaps from my experience of WRG tabletop wargaming as a teenager and some computer games these days it seems to me that a non linear CM campaign game is best suited to lots of auto responses built into the mechanics. For instance those potential engagement situations that don't actually transpire into engagements due to counter manoeuvres, passive retreats, surrender etc.. Rather than all these situations be directed by the human player, they can be instead directed automagically and a vassal campaign has the potential to be programmed with all these mechanics. And as I say, the complexity can be evolved, even mid game if deemed beneficial.

Handling how recon works (air and ground forces) is another big one where it isn't desirable for players to get bogged down in the detail - least of all play out actual recon actions. It just needs input information and output information, the inbetween stuff is taken care of automagically with some imaginatively thought out mechanics.  

 

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42 minutes ago, The Steppenwulf said:

"a vassal campaign has the potential to be programmed with all these mechanics."

Hmmm... Last time I used Vassal 10+ years ago it had no AI at all that I remember. It was all head to head. So that's changed?

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4 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

@Artkin  I've got a fair few maps from the other CM games converted to CM:BS.....I've tweaked a couple of them slightly, but most of them are just as they came. 

You may have them already have some or all of them.....They certainly offer a battlescape that's a little outside the CM:BS norm, here's one that might seem familiar, especially to players of CM:FB:

CHxKYXA.jpg

Yup I have this one. A few of the masters from fb dont work. I have to go through all the houses again... 🥺

Last time I just cropped the maps in cmbs to see what sections worked, and narrow down the offending sections of the map

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2 hours ago, The Steppenwulf said:

For instance those potential engagement situations that don't actually transpire into engagements due to counter manoeuvres, passive retreats, surrender etc.. Rather than all these situations be directed by the human player, they can be instead directed automagically and a vassal campaign has the potential to be programmed with all these mechanics. 

 

This sounds sick. I would love to learn more about this. I have some off time so perhaps I will delve into it this weekend

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5 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Check them for units too.....I found a few IIRC.

Units shouldnt effect 3d editor though right?

Also, i believe I made this map in paint (A whopping 100Mb) before I had CMFB or CMRT.

Edited by Artkin
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 I could be conflating somewhat with Tabletop Simulator on Steam. That certainly does have fully programable and animated AI.

On the other hand, I'm sure that there are some modules in Vassal that have fully automated rules and tasks. So that's all the actually needed here, don't need fancy animations. it's just writing some rules that automate reactions.

Theoretically though, the language and log files Vassal uses are written in Java (I think) so in theory it's possible to run an application outside of Vassal that processes the save files and outputs appropriate AI responses. Probably not realistic for this idea, without someone possessing strong java programming experience to write it, but I once wondered why the various individuals who had a stab at developing a CM campaign application, didn't run with this idea, because I would think this far easier than building a campaign app from scratch.    

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I just had a very quick 20 min skim read of the vassal module designers guide:  http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/File:Vassal_3.1_designerguide.pdf

This is the sort of thing that might serve the purpose I've proposed above: 


Random Text Button A Random Text Button can be used to randomly select a text message from a list defined beforehand.

One use for a Random Text Button could be to roll for results on a chart and then report the results to the Chat Window. However, such a chart roll may not have any modifiers applied.

No modifiers we might think is problematic, but a workaround would be to use a series of these text buttons to cover each step in a process. I suspect you'd only req 2 steps anyhow (at the most 3) for the kind of automated, but finite reactions that I've typically referred to above. The output simply instructs the game master what action/restriction/impact is imposed on that unit.   

Edited by The Steppenwulf
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Our miniatures campaign play was guided by ADC2 which I'm not sure still exists today as it's been a couple of decades since I last saw it used. Here's a list of alternatives which may be help worth a look https://alternativeto.net/software/aide-de-camp-ii/.

As mentioned, Vassal is open sourced, cross platform (Java) and, supports PBEM. While TTS does not do PBEM.

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3 minutes ago, Artkin said:

I am not really keen on learning these tools unless theyre stupid simple.. would anyone want to do a small test campaign? A few tiles sized map? armored Bn vs Bn for a speedy trial?

o/ Count me in!

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I'm happy to be involved to some extent or other. My work commitments peak and trough so how much time I have will vary.

Perhaps the best place to start is producing a list of basic questions about game design that are needed to brainstorm? For example, do you use hexes, or some other system for dividing up the map? Implications of this governing rules for movement? Implementing rules for line of sight (I note that ADC2 already has los built in)? Indeed do you need los if a bespoke recon rules system is developed (which appeals more to me but requires some imaginative thinking)?  Methods for measuring and tracking unit status? What info is being tracked?

Other questions: Is there already some 'oven ready' (campaign) rules to bring to this? If they are applied how will they impose upon, or dictate the basic game design?
Also how do we pull all the work together as a group? How best to organise tasks to make effective progress? 

I'm sure there's a whole lot more...

Edited by The Steppenwulf
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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been working on getting retired (last day is Nov 6th) and now we are still running on generators in my part of Oklahoma due to the ice storm.  Joys of living in a rural area.

I've personally tweeted Elon to see if I can get in on that Starlink trial but haven't heard back from him yet. 😁 

All that being said, I'm gonna try to get a trial campaign going before Christmas.

I've gotten a lot of good feedback. About 6 players is all I'll need for the trial. Leaning towards CMRT but nothing in stone by any means. We've already had several volunteers. Please post here if you want to participate.

If we get more than 6, I will randomly set a player to MIA for X turns to test rules for folks going on vacation. The object of the test campaign is to beat out a set of basic rules (folks have given me some already) not to beat the opposing team. I will cut the test short (unless we are having too much fun) once the campaign rules are good to go. 

More to follow. 

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I did a snapshot examination of what vassal could do and how it might integrate CM battles. My conclusion is that vassal is well suited to the development of an operational game.

How an operational campaign works though is a fundamental question. I've thought about this once before when I first ever considered how it would be done. I don't think there's any way to avoid this fundamental question and I reckon if you start a project like this it's worth working this bit out first, or else you can get tied up in game design knots. So here's my synopsis...

a) Is it a campaign game that monitors specific movement and regulates all actions within the battle space. This would be a game like John Tiller or GG type game where abstractions are minimised

b) A campaign game that is abstracted in terms of how one battle leads to another. An operational board game like the COIN series of board games would be a good example. and something I looked at.

This is no doubt subjective, but in my view after much consideration, CM battles are best suited to b). The reasons are too involved probably to outline in this thread but it's fundamentally about the campaign would/can "interface" with CM battles. I'd be happy to discuss this, in all its detail, in a online chat perhaps. Some scoping of different operational war board game left me to believe that mechanisms within the board game BCT Command Kandahar and Battle for Fallujah fall within b) and are well-suited to "interfacing" with CM battles. This does not mean adopting this board game to use as an operational game (far from it) but simply using it as an idea to consider how it can be done, using a similar approach and similar abstracted mechanisms/rules.

Having established these two starting points, I started noting down lots of detailed ideas for abstracted mechanisms. So up to the present I've got 3 4 pages of notes. These are based around abstractions of operational factors that can be translated into variables affecting CM's actual battle starting assets/factors. That sounds obscure perhaps but again if I were to describe precisely what I mean here, I'd be writing an extremely long post. These things are much better to relate and debate in a voice chat. I also used FM military documentation for scoping and ideas, FM-05 Army Planning & Orders Production is particularly informative for developing this type of operational wargame.

Now I won't necessarily have the detailed abstractions down exactly right, they are just ideas at this stage and they need distilling, reviewing and further refining, but I think the approach is probably sound. Of course I'm open to the whole idea being critiqued. Obviously if there are other ideas at the same stage of development then there's no point in exploring this idea further (esp because my angle in looking at this also has focused specifically around modern warfare and not ww2), but at least I've put my cards on the table in this post and if anyone is interested (even anyone who come across this post) can at least hear the detail and debate it with me in a skype call if interested in a campaign game project.    

Edited by The Steppenwulf
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31 minutes ago, The Steppenwulf said:

I did a snapshot examination of what vassal could do and how it might integrate CM battles. My conclusion is that vassal is well suited to the development of an operational game.

How an operational campaign works though is a fundamental question. I've thought about this once before when I first ever considered how it would be done. I don't think there's any way to avoid this fundamental question and I reckon if you start a project like this it's worth working this bit out first, or else you can get tied up in game design knots. So here's my synopsis...

a) Is it a campaign game that monitors specific movement and regulates all actions within the battle space. This would be a game like John Tiller or GG type game where abstractions are minimised

b) A campaign game that is abstracted in terms of how one battle leads to another. An operational board game like the COIN series of board games would be a good example. and something I looked at.

This is no doubt subjective, but in my view after much consideration, CM battles are best suited to b). The reasons are too involved probably to outline in this thread but it's fundamentally about the campaign would/can "interface" with CM battles. I'd be happy to discuss this, in all its detail, in a online chat perhaps. Some scoping of different operational war board game left me to believe that mechanisms within the board game BCT Command Kandahar and Battle for Fallujah fall within b) and are well-suited to "interfacing" with CM battles. This does not mean adopting this board game to use as an operational game (far from it) but simply using it as an idea to consider how it can be done, using a similar approach and similar abstracted mechanisms/rules.

Having established these two starting points, I started noting down lots of detailed ideas for abstracted mechanisms. So up to the present I've got 3 4 pages of notes. These are based around abstractions of operational factors that can be translated into variables affecting CM's actual battle starting assets/factors. That sounds obscure perhaps but again if I were to describe precisely what I mean here, I'd be writing an extremely long post. These things are much better to relate and debate in a voice chat. I also used FM military documentation for scoping and ideas, FM-05 Army Planning & Orders Production is particularly informative for developing this type of operational wargame.

Now I won't necessarily have the detailed abstractions down exactly right, they are just ideas at this stage and they need distilling, reviewing and further refining, but I think the approach is probably sound. Of course I'm open to the whole idea being critiqued. Obviously if there are other ideas at the same stage of development then there's no point in exploring this idea further (esp because my angle in looking at this also has focused specifically around modern warfare and not ww2), but at least I've put my cards on the table in this post and if anyone is interested (even anyone who come across this post) can at least hear the detail and debate it with me in a skype call if interested in a campaign game project.    

Very nice analysis. Let me study it and see if I have any questions. Vassal is definitely the software I thought would work well for this application. 

Looking forward to this being my first "retirement" project (just hope the wife doesn't see this post). 😆

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10 minutes ago, Probus said:

Very nice analysis. Let me study it and see if I have any questions.

No worries!
 

 

11 minutes ago, Probus said:

Vassal is definitely the software I thought would work well for this application

It's as well you mentioned vassal in your earlier posts. That's the bit that made me sit up and take a real interest.

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  • 4 weeks later...

@The Steppenwulf Trying to decide on the best VASSAL modules to manage this campaign.  I think I will probably use 2 or maybe 3.  Something along the lines of PanzerBlitz to organize Companies (These would be the chess pieces).  And a game with a map that is on the scale of Combat Mission.  Operational level,  Like NATO: The Next War in Europe, but I think I can do better for a map.  I'm looking at COIN like you suggested.

  Now is a good time for VASSAL input for those of you familiar with VASSAL or just own a lot of board games.  Here is a link to the public domain modules that have been converted/designed:

By Era: http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Category:Era

World War II: http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Category:WWII

Modern Warfare: http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Category:Modern_Warfare

The first mini campaign is going to be short, abbreviated, fast and deadly to test the campaign rules.  I'll put the draft rules up on something like Google Docs for community input, improvements and comments.

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