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QB Maps Question


Canuck21
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One thing I enjoy the most is making maps. I'm interested in making some for Quick Battles. I opened a QB map in Scenario Editor just to see what all was done on it in terms of AI, setup zones, etc. I see that all of those are actually part of the QB map. I'm not sure which one I pulled up (didn't want to hit myself with a spoiler ;) ) but it looked like it was an actual scenario, except there were no units attached with it. It did have several AI plans associated, with a number of groups in each, both for the attacker and defender (this was an Assault QB). So my question is, if you're playing a QB with the computer playing one side, how/will it know to assign group designations to the troops on it's side? If you have an AI with 4 groups that the computer is controlling, but either you or the computer has selected the forces for that QB, will the computer divide the forces into groups, and if so, how would it know how to divide them up (it would be rather "difficult", for instance, to assign an off map mortar battery to a group that's conducting an assault on a bridge for instance)? So ultimately I guess I need to know exactly what I need to put into a QB map (AI, setup zones, etc.), or what? I know that's probably a little vague, but hopefully the answers will enable me to ask more pointed (and intelligent) questions. Many thanks!

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I gotta tell you a funny story first! So, I opened F&R on day 1, and was just kicking the tires and started a quick battle. I picked a map and started the battle. I was like, this map looks familiar! I made this map! ME! Did BFC take my map and make it a new F&R quick battle without my permission? WELL, THEY DID NOT. I had made a quick battle from one of my maps for a scenario about the battle action at Vitebsk. I just forgot after 6 or so years. 

Anyway, yes, there is a part of the game engine code for quick battles that takes the units by type (computer selected or human picked) and assigns them to a few AI groups in a simplified manner to achieve the objectives of the quick battle map. It does its best.

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Search the forum for previous info. There are threads elsewhere in the CM forums that discuss making your own QB maps in more detail. Some of the BFC insiders chime in to describe the cookbook system for getting the best results out of the game code subroutine for quick battles. Can you tell I took computer science in 1982!  

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I'll try to answer some of this- probably over multiple posts, as there's a lot going on-

Yes- QB maps require just about everything. They can be the most time-consuming to do, but they also deliver massive re-playabilty (with a few extra bits of work).

It helps to think of these like doing scenarios- but with the knowledge that the game engine will assign whatever to that particular AI Group it sees fit to- unless the player selects- but the designer can't know that either- so the AI Plans need to accommodate all foot/wheel/tracked types.

A note about AI Groups- The game engine does seem (through lots of testing) to assign the AI Groups on a higher-HQ basis, so if you were to select units by Battalion, they would show up as their own AI Group. That can help control the randomness, but that means the player is selecting the forces.

-Start with a map that is suitable for what the QB is- meeting engagements have different needs than an assault map, for instance. Give each side a Setup Zone (required). Any AI Plan painted for Setup must be in the Setup Zone, or they won't do anything (I have ideas around this, and hope it can be changed so that the AI can be setup outside it, but my idea list is another deal altogether).

I tend to think anything larger than 1440 should get transport of some kind, but you can't enforce that on a player- bear that in mind with giant maps and infantry-only situations. That precludes too much "Dash" or "Quick" during the QB.

-Decide where the Objectives are. Paint those in the Editor. They should cover an area that makes sense as an objective, in my book- not a massive square on the map that doesn't seem like a rational Objective. I name them (as others do) with a name, and then I add the Objective point number. Easier to decide things on-map that way.

Note on QB Objectives- they only use the Occupy Objective- this means no Touch, etc. Objectives- and no Triggers. The AI does use Area fire and Withdraw, as they are not Objective-based. AI groups can coordinate through Triggers that are based upon other AI Groups- this can be used with some discretion. Again- the game engine is choosing the forces, so you don't want a Platoon of AFVs waiting on an AT Battalion to move out.

I'll add the rest of my basic check-list when I get time.

I also have Photoshop tool that I use to keep track of all of the AI positions at once (P.A.I.N.- I can't remember what it stood for when I made it- but you get the point). Once I figure out where the best spot for a few things is for downloads, I'll get that up(and other things in various states).

 

Edited by benpark
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AI Orders are an entire thing unto itself. My advice for doing the AI Plans is to

-Make them usable for all types (foot/wheel/track). This means that painting just buildings, or all impassable terrain won't be great for one type or another as that terrain can't be utilized.

-Think like you are playing (though using the 2D map). Paint the AI plan areas only where units should be entering. Use walls and other cover. Study how multiple-action-spot units (squads) spread out over these action spots as you play. Use those patterns to you advantage, along with the Face ability.

-I'll tend to paint larger AI Plan areas on the map for QBs, because they are variable. Anything can be in that slot.

-Note that Face does not work in Setup. Only on the first order. So if you need an AT facing a direction, give it a face order after Setup.

-Set AI artillery targets on areas that are sensible for the flow of battle, and match the QB type (assault, attack, etc).

-For QBs, use "Area Fire" sparingly. With all of the variables in QBs, it can be messy in ways that can be controlled in scenarios.

-"Withdraw" is very useful. Like Area Fire, the variable nature can be an issue- particularly without Triggers to aid in when to Withdraw. This order can be timed generally, however - and comes with the use of smoke assets for most nations (not the Soviets, unless LL).

-Assault, Attack, and Probe types can share plans. I tweak them to better match the described type, and adjust artillery plans for more smoke on Assault, etc.

More as I think of it....

 

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Good stuff here guys! I think I'll take @Combatintman's advice and just do regular scenarios first. Given what @benpark is saying above, I suspect much of what you learn in scenario making then gets carried through to QB's, only there is more to it with QB's in terms of being more specifically general (and if that makes any sense whatsoever, then you need the guys with the long-sleeved jackets more than I do, which is saying a lot :D ). That said, what you are listing above is making sense to me for the most part, so I'm getting there, but I think I need to get decent with scenarios first.

Really appreciate this folks! I'm getting there, slowly (the entire war didn't take this long <LOL>) but surely :) .

 

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