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Defensive Objectives on a Map?


Canuck21
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Next question (I'm becoming a PITA, aren't I! I'm so proud :D). When making a scenario that involves an assault by one side and the other side defending a position, do you need to paint AI objectives on the map for the defender when the defender is set up on the objectives?

What about if the defender is not on the objectives, do you then need to paint objective(s) on the map so the defender will know what they are supposed to be defending?

If so, I would assume you assign points to the objectives, correct?

Many thanks. I promise - no more questions until the next ones :D .

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Glenn,

YES, YES and YES.

But to clarify and be less confused, here is a way to look at it. The AI ONLY does what is programmed by YOU the scenario author. Except down at the tac AI survival instinct issues of running away, opening fire. For a simple case, there is 1 "Occupy" objective in the town they are defending. If your AI plan has them staying elsewhere and the human player gets even 1 routed panicked wounded soldier into the objective area, the human wins the full points. The same vice versa, human player defending an objective, attacking AI follows your orders and never goes to take the objective.

If the 2 sides objectives are TOO different from each other then it is almost like it is not a battle over something. It has to be correlated to some degree or there is not a real winner. I can go on more...

 

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A funny story! I took one of my old scenarios about Tobruk, (CMFI Afrika Mod). making it into something new for a H2H PBEM. I ran the scenario in author mode and see artillery falling but was scratching my head. Who was firing? I quit and opened it in the editor. I forgot a support targets designation for the enemy AI. They had some off-map mortars and that is enough to tell the AI to start dropping shells!  

So, the AI is a trustworthy dolt who will do what you say, even if you forgot you told them what to do.

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Oh, I am making breakfast and thought to tell you this tidbit...

Once you release a scenario and people play it, be aware that some folks have a very deep concern for the characterization of the results. Total Victory, on down. There is a points system to how that gets assigned. If you screw up as the author and kind of make it impossible to get a total victory, or the opposite, they get a stress-free total victory almost no matter, then something is hosed in the points and objectives that you did as the author.  

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Yeah, VPs are an art and science in their own right and, as @kohlenklau said, people get bent out of shape over them if you don't get them right.  The important considerations for them are:

Do the objectives fit the narrative.

Are they achievable.

Then, depending on whether you're designing for all modes of play or just one side vs the AI you have to consider the Turn 1 surrender scores.  In an ideal world you would balance the VPs for all modes of play and one side vs the AI so that if you hit ceasefire on Turn 1 that the result is a draw; however you can be a bit looser with that rule if you're designing for one side vs the AI.

Using your assault/defensive scenario as an example ... let's say that the area being defended/assaulted is your only terrain objective and you set it at as a 100 VP occupy objective for both the attacker and defender and the defending force is set up there on Turn 1.  That means if you hit ceasefire on Turn 1, the defending force gets 100 VPs and a Total Victory for doing nothing.  To balance this, one trick is to give the attacking force a friendly point bonus (in the parameters section) of 100 VPs.  This means that a turn 1 surrender would give you a draw.  However, it also means that you have to have some other objectives because the attacking side will always get those 100 VPs no matter what happens in the game.  This is where you start to look at all of the other tools at your disposal such as allocating casualty parameters, unit objectives, touch and destroy objectives etc.

If you haven't seen this, it is a life-changer for scenario designers thanks to @Ithikial_AU

Combat Mission Victory Calculator - CM Red Thunder Maps and Mods - Battlefront.com Community

I know this might be an obvious question but have you read the scenario design manual that bundles with all of the titles?  A lot of people seem to forget it exists.  Although it doesn't cover off on a lot of the new stuff like triggers and facings it is a really good primer for the basics of scenario design.  Here's where you'll find it:

583701184_ScenarioDesignHandbook.thumb.jpg.019fb104be3f51cb1bc2a5b437b4ef96.jpg

 

Edited by Combatintman
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Many thanks for this @Combatintman. Yes, I have actually airdropped that PDF you mention to my iPad but hadn't started reading it yet. That I will do this morning. This (naturally) is getting a lot more complex than I had initially thought, so it looks like I have some serious book time ahead of me :) . I think I'm good insofar as the objectives being logical for each side (in the one I've done, they are the same for both sides), but my points allocations need working on. I'll definitely bookmark that site you linked above and have a good read of it. To be honest, I've not considered what happens if someone calls for a Cease Fire on Turn 1. That one I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around as if you only play through Turn 1, and you still occupy the objective, and you call for a Cease Fire as the defender at that point, I'm not sure why you'd even start the scenario (I can see where a human opponent *might* do that, but to me that would be cheating and would probably be the last time I played that person unless we were testing a situation out and had agreed that's what we'd do). However, being new to this, there are likely numerous situations I'm not aware of where something like that would be legitimate, so I guess I'd better get to know as many aspects to this as I can.

Ok, looks like I have some reading to do. Thanks very much indeed for this. I really appreciate your time.

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So, just to add to the above, I found @Ithikial_AU's Victory Conditions tool and have downloaded it and watched the video on how to use it. For someone like me (just starting out in scenario designing) this is a godsend. I'll start reading "The Sheriff of Oosterbeek" guide today. That should help out quite a lot. I have to admit, while I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed in a way, this looks like a whole lot of fun and a good way to give back to the community, so thanks all for the help here.

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Hey Canuck, I’m pretty sure the Turn 1 ceasefire is just a test or gauge to indicate VP balance to start with, before you add in more, and other types of, objectives. I make plenty of scenarios but never for “publication” so to speak, specifically because of the VP calculation and the need to have them relatively balanced. I never play my own stuff to win, but for the fun and the story narrative in my head, lol. And for the multiple one minute war movies, of course.  So, the best of good luck to you! You are obviously serious about learning this aspect of the game, so in a couple of years I expect you’ll be in the pantheon of great scenarios designers.👍

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I'll counter-signal @kohlenklau & @Combatintman a tiny little bit.

 

If people were really that concerned about a scenario with poor VP's they could load up the scenario in the editor & adjust the points themselves. Then tell others about the improvements they made to the VP's... perhaps even put up their improved version.

I've been playing CM for nearly two decades & I've never seen or heard of anyone doing this.

Not one.

 

Compare that with the time limit thing where people do seem to have genuine disagreements over these things, tastes change over time & different play modes or play styles exacerbate time limit differences... as a result many people regularly post that they adjust scenario time limits themselves.

 

 

In my opinion, most people play a scenario for fun & barely take notice of the final result screen... if the points seemed a little off they would shrug their shoulders & just say "well it was a free scenario".

I say that it's perfectly reasonable to create scenarios for this silent majority... rather than a vocal minority.

In the early days of CMx1 & CMSF this was the norm & there was a vast quantity of user made scenarios, maps & even campaigns as a result.

Edited by 37mm
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@37mm - sure but best practice should be the standard we aim for and of course there is a potentially new demographic coming in via Steam who may be less inclined to shrug shoulders.  I'm pretty sure there was a heated debate over one of Paper Tiger's CMBN campaigns that featured missions where players couldn't achieve a victory by design.

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I made a scenario for F&R in about a half hour late, late Friday night. (Yes, Rum and Coke’s were involved.) A Soviet regular battalion plus 7 T34s (mix of 76 and 85) and an SU 122 attack a village defended by 2 platoons of SS, 2 platoons of Volkssturm, a LW unit of two 20mm AA and two 37mm AT guns, and two 75mm AT guns with SS crew. I set the Germans up fairly quickly, and didn’t study the positioning of the guns, but rather put them in areas where there was some concealment and cover with what looked to be decent fields of fire. Split all the squads and put them in buildings on random floors. This is April 1945, and the Germans were all diehards—no retreat (I used a Batzlow QB map with all AI plans removed. Beautiful map!) Russkies were “Typical”. The idea was that the Soviet commander had been given enough troops to make good previous losses, and had only one order...”Your losses will mean nothing if you can Kill all the Fascists and take the village in order to allow the rest of Our Glorious Division to move through and On to Berlin!”

I let it sit a day and a half and played it last night. Forgot those little 37mm have that spigot round, which took out the SU on the second turn! All in all, so far I have almost cleared the village (Reichenberg) and wiped out most of the SS and Volksturm, and one AA, both 37mm’s, and I think one AT gun. I have lost about 40% of infantry, 5 tanks and the SU (who the hell placed those damn AT guns?!!?). I tried to play the Russians as Russians (I’m more used to playing Western Allies or German). Constant forward movement, as tactical as possible, but still almost continuous forward movement. Get those Submachine gun units as close as possible and blast away!

I had a blast without any objectives even painted on the map. The Germans knew they had no options but stick it out and if necessary die for the Fatherland. The Soviets knew they had to take the village despite the cost. (Although if I hit around 50% infantry losses, I will consider it much less a victory.)

So, I think others might enjoy this type of thing, but with no briefing (although easy enough to put a few sentences together), no objectives whatsoever, etc., I would be loathe to make it public.  Then again, I know I’d like others to upload their thrown together scenarios without all the bells and whistles.  Maybe Bootie can add a section in The Scenario Depot for neglected, forlorn, misused and incomplete scenarios so people would know what to expect, lol.
 

 

Edited by mjkerner
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25 minutes ago, Combatintman said:

@37mm - sure but best practice should be the standard we aim for and of course there is a potentially new demographic coming in via Steam who may be less inclined to shrug shoulders.  I'm pretty sure there was a heated debate over one of Paper Tiger's CMBN campaigns that featured missions where players couldn't achieve a victory by design.

Well campaign progression is a slightly different subject... as for the Steam players?

I suspect they're not going to like it when they find out CMFB has only two user made campaigns... whilst CMSF2 has ~50.

Edited by 37mm
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This is great stuff guys! I don't know if I'll ever be as good as @mjkerner suggests, but I'd like to try :) . I guess I love learning new stuff so this is really feeding that little obsession. I think @37mm has a point and it's well taken. The way I see it, anyone who throws out something for everyone to use has my respect and appreciation. I find the bar here pretty high and as I have (mostly) the time to do this (well, to a degree ;) ), I do want to take it that extra little bit. Folks here have been so great when I ask questions (and some of them are so basic, they must be rolling their eyes into the backs of their heads <LOL>) that maybe this is something I can do to give back a bit. As I said, I did download Ithikial's Victory Conditions Calculator (https://www.thefewgoodmen.com/cm-mod-warehouse/uncategorized/ithikials-combat-mission-victory-calculator-version-2/) (I said earlier I "found" it, but it was @Combatintman that linked to it above - it was his find, not mine - sorry about that) which I used to adjust the scenario I'm working on now, and that has clarified and sped things up greatly. Anyway, this is a boat-load of fun (I'd call it a "blast" but that's just too obvious, even for me :D ) . One thing I'm remaining real good at is getting my guys dead <LOL>. Need to work on that a tad.

Edited by Canuck21
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14 hours ago, Canuck21 said:

Oh, and I also found this by @Combatintman, which is outstanding! Thanks for doing that. That's next on my list of reads.

Schoolboy error of schoolboy errors ... forgot to plug my own scenario design tutorial ... thanks for correcting that.

If you want another one - although it is not strictly about scenario design, it may give some insights into military planning which can help when you're thinking about mission concepts and force composition:

No Plan Survives First Contact With The Enemy - Planning Tutorial - Combat Mission Red Thunder - Battlefront.com Community

 

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10 hours ago, Combatintman said:

Schoolboy error of schoolboy errors ... forgot to plug my own scenario design tutorial ... thanks for correcting that.

If you want another one - although it is not strictly about scenario design, it may give some insights into military planning which can help when you're thinking about mission concepts and force composition:

No Plan Survives First Contact With The Enemy - Planning Tutorial - Combat Mission Red Thunder - Battlefront.com Community

 

My pleasure, believe me! Thanks for this link as well. Heading there now.

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