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Folkloric WIP

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Three of my CMBB projects that are still in the early stages: minefield markers, objective markers, and trenches. I plan on redoing all three of them completely, probably several times. I'd appreciate comments on the trenches (isn't a slit trench that's just a hole in the ground as I have portrayed it likely to collapse ?), the objective marker ( color and text -- there's a companion flag in light grey with "Objektiv" in red fraktur that I didn't show), and the minefield marker ( skull and crossbones isn't east european enough, and the text may not be idiomatic).




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Hmm..they look pretty cool. I wish there was a way to make army-specific markers - for example, if you play as the Russians the markers will be in a certain language etc., but will be different from a German perspective, or a Finnish, or a Romanian etc. etc. That trench looks good.

Incidentally, where did you get those sky mods from? smile.gif

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Andrew Fox, Marcus Hofbauer, and Gordon Molek have exhausted the German minefield markers. The point of making a Russian language version is that you switch markers (and objective flags) depending on which side you're about to play.

And yes, I'll probably tackle the other languages as well, some of which I can even read...

The sky mod is Undaunted's brilliant masterpiece. And if someone knows his e-mail address I would really appreciate it because I'm working on some seamless horizons for CMBO that need his skies, and I'm in need of a technical discussion about clouds.

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The problem is that there is no such thing as a real objective flag. There are plenty of real flag sets because the victory locations use real flags (check Marc Gallear's site and CMMODS), but unachieved victory locations are a different story altogether.

I grappled with this problem in CMBO when I did the Semiotics mod, and because the mod was CMMOS-based I was able to use the unit emblems of every unit in the NW ETO as objective flags. There were a few cases where the unit emblems were unknown (mostly german infantry divisions) so I composed some generic markers. The closest ones in that set to "real" that I managed to come up with were a black, white, and red triangular pennant for the Germans and a pack of cigarettes for the French.

There are far too many divisions in play on the eastern front to even think about attempting that, so it is better to come up with either one, two, or half a dozen flags. The one thing these flags have to have in common is that they must bear absolutely no resemblance to a victory flag that might be in use by either side. So red as a background color can't be used (which, sadly, eliminates the wonderful but apocryphal Red Army flag with the yellow star in the middle).

The two base colors that I'm playing around with are grey and green. The grey flag with "objektiv" written on it comes in varying shades from light grey to a brownish feldgrau. The text can be in varying shades of red. There is a variant of the "obyektivno" flag that is also red text on grey. And there is also a version of the "objektiv" flag with red text on a green field. The simplest solution, of course, would be to simply write it in English, but I have trouble justifying that since there are no anglophones involved on either side in CMBB.

The basic design question is what color and what shape work best for unachieved objectives. I'm partial to triangular penants myself, but on the eastern front I tend to want to stick to rectangles. The traditional base color for these things are a steely light grey, but I find that it tends to vanish into the snow. That's why I'm currently interested in the green flags -- they stand out from the background and can't be confused with a victory flag.

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Sorry, but I have to point out a glaring, if understandable error in the Russian term on the "objective" flag. It's an accurate translation ... but of "objective" as an adjective - in the sense of "impartial", "unbiased". Unfortunately, I am not aware of an appropriate Russiam military term short enough (or universal enough) to fit on a flag. The closest I can think of are the Russian word for "goal", or the expressions for "designated/assigned area/zone/target", even "designated frontage".

The minefied marker translated reads: "Danger Minefield" As far as I know, Soviet combat engineers preferred the shorter "Beware! Mines!".

Also, how difficult would be to have the trench walls lined with logs?

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Actually that green flag is really part of a grammatical case mod...

Russian is not one of my languages, and I posted the flag and the sign for exactly this reason.

"Beware! Mines!" sounds right, and is similar to what you would use in French. I'll take a stab at it, but will probably get the verb and noun endings wrong. Please post again after I make another set, or better yet, send me an e-mail with the correct text.

For the flag I'm going to try for something like "goal" or "designated target", whichever I can find, fits, and looks better. I'm worried about using two words, though, because I'll probably mess up agreement of case, gender, and number.

So I'm planning on relying on the kindness (and assistance) of Slavophone strangers.

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I seem to be coming up with two different russian words for mine. One of them (the one I used last time) is obviously a foreign loan-word. The one that came up when I tried to find a translation for "Beware! Mines!" may be the thing that goes boom, or it may be an industrial hole in the ground. I need help from a russian speaker to tell which is which.

I also need help with the verb. I'm getting "Warn yourselves!" Предупредите and "Be careful!" Остерегайтесь! for "Beware!". Remembering that if you translate "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" into Russian and then translate it back again you usually get "Vodka strong, meat rotten", I have decided to go with the latter until someone gives me guidance.

The sign itself is still in the preliminary stages, but now looks something like this:


I'm thinking of distinguishing between anti-personnel and anti-tank mines by the presence or absence of exclamation points.

And weren't there some letters that were only used or omitted during the Stalinist era ?

Looking forward to the next set of slavophone comments...

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Dear Philippe,

Sorry to answer through the forum, but I'm afraid my e-mail client might mangle the Cyrillic text.

Unfortunately, the "mines" in second version of your sign are of the "industrial hole in the ground" type. Mind you, they can also go "boom" (methane gas explosions), and are probably the most dangerous places men go into willingly, but redeploying them before a battle will be somewhat cumbersome... The "mines" you are looking for are Мины, and minefield is Минное поле - you got that right the first time, it's just Soviet soldiers saw no need to write those extra letters.

Every language has it quirks; in Russian as a warning they use Осторожно all by itself, which (litterally translated) is "carefully" (the particular action is unspecified, but implied). The closest English equivalent in meaning, if not grammatical form, will probably be "Careful!", but I still find "Beware!" the closest translation in terms of usage, conveying warning and prescribing attitude.

So the most likely minefield warning sign would be similar to Осторожно! Мины! I am not aware that the Soviets field signs differentiated between AT and AP mines, so if you leave both markers the same, you probably won't be far off. And, frankly, I doubt they bothered to draw the skull-and-bones, or anything else. Most likely it would only be text scribbled with chalk on a makeshift board (I think you got the uneven look right, now if you could only add jagged edges...), so if you want to go for "ultrarealism" you might want to consider imitating hand-drawn - uneven, slanted, crooked block letters not lining perfectly. Don't know if it'll be worth the trouble, though.

Though not used in CMBB, a "companion" sign would be "Checked - no mines" Проверено мин нет . The person responsible for this would usually sign his name under it.

Also often Внимание! would be used as a warning sign - this is absolutely equivalent to "Attention!" (not the miltary command, though).

As far as "the missing letters", there indeed had been a reform withdrawing some letters from use, but AFAIK it was very soon after the Bolshevik revolution - might have been as early as 1918 - definitely before the Stalinist era. IIRC it mainly removed letters designating "variable", "double" and "mute" sounds - legacy of olden times that the modern everyday language had little or no use for, or could be expressed otherwise - I guess something like æ. It also abolished the rule of "keeping the syllables open" - putting a "mute" ъ at the end of words normally ending with a consonant.

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Should've done some more research beforehand...

Philippe, I just saw an older posting of yours with US minefiled markers, and I must say I'm impressed - you've got the "hand-painted" look down cold. I guess part fo my advice was presumptious and useless, for which I apologize.

Still, I think the darker board color of your current sign is better. And can you do chalk instead of paint?

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Hi Philippe, you asked me some help in e-mail. Unfortunately my Russian is not good enough to tell what would sound "natural". But Foreigner seems to know.

But I can help a bit with the Finnish part, although I'm not sure what the standard there was, if there was a generic one (the sign might include a description of the area where the mines were, like "alongside the road"). Anyway, a mine is 'miina', and plural partitive (which is needed here) 'miinoja'. So the minimum in a sign would be, 'Miinoja'. A mine field is 'miinakenttä'. You could put a warning:

Vaara! - danger

Huomio - attention

Miinavaara - danger of mines

Varokaa miinoja - Beware of mines

A sign saying



would seem okay to me. But I could check in the library for a pioneer history and see if there's any photos to help...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chalk is surprisingly difficult. Paint wasn't too hard because at one point I followed my girlfriend around Manhattan while she photographed grafitti and studied the way paint drips on hand lettering. I've spent some time staring at photographs of the work of several artists who use chalk (names provided by my girlfriend -- that's too esoteric even for me) and have made numerous attempts, all unsuccessful. I put it aside for a week or so, took another shot at it, and came up with this:


If this doesn't look chalky enough I may have to stick to drippy paint.

Take a close look at the background, and notice that there are two different kinds of red flags.

My current idea is to use a pennant without text for the unachieved objective marker. I have a pretty good pennant for the Germans that shows up in the background a few posts back. There are two versions of the Russian one: this one with a fictional red army star on a red field, and another with a red army star in a red square on a grey-green pennant.

This unachieved victory objective is the same color as the soviet flag, but has a very different shape. Is the similarity in color confusing ?

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Here is what I'm proposing to use as an anti-tank mine marker. If I understand correctly this should be fairly idiomatic. Please correct me if I'm wrong.


In the background you can see the other version of the soviet unachieved victory objective.

Any thoughts on the red one as opposed to the grey-green and red one ?

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Signs look great! Love the slightly crooked and misaligned letters and the uneven background color of the board.

In my experience, chalk lines in general are either fairly thin (when writing with the tip), or very thick (when you hold the stick flat on its longest side and drag it across the surface - in fact drawing a parallelogram instead of a line). But the final choice rests with you, Philippe.

I would personally prefer the unachieved victory objective flag to be of a brighter contrasting color - easier to get the situation at a glance.

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I've uploaded three different versions of the sign to CMMODS: Narrow chalk text, wide text, and wide text with skull and crossbones.


I hope to start working on the other nationalities when I have the text nailed down and am reasonably sure that they did or did not use special colors or symbols. And I'm trying very hard to restrain myself from making the Finnish sign out of birch bark...

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After taking another stab at the trench shown in one of the earlier posts I decided that it was already as complete as I can make it.

A slit trench should probably be reinforced with wood to keep the sides from collapsing, but won't have these engineering features when hastily dug. Don't think WWI western front, think deep drainage ditch prone to collapse.

[The famous archeologist V.Gordon Childe supposedly met his end late at night in one of these things (though rumor has it he had been drinking). A sad end for a champion of Soviet archeology in the West].

I experimented with putting various pieces of lumber in my trench, but quickly discovered that there is an insurmountable perspective problem. The trench is viewed in three dimensions, and not just from directly overhead looking down. I can play perspective tricks with side planking that work fairly well from a few angles, but once I try to get realistic and add the vertical posts needed to hold them in place the whole thing starts to look silly, especially if you look at the trench from many different angles.

So instead I've opted to go for the sloping dirt wall effect on the understanding that this thing will have to get structurally reinforced or it will wash away or collapse in the next rainstorm.

So for those interested in a hasty supplement to Juju's excellent slit trench, mine can be found in the CMBB section of CMMODS.

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Just to let you know, it works fine in CMAK.

I was going to ask for a snowy version, but the spirit of the mod dictates that the dirt be on top of the snow.

My only critique would be that the edges are too straight. Very minor and not worth changing if even possible.

I appreciate your mods and the effort.


This will work well in Korea where troops were making hasty retreats then ordered to stand and fight.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is the current state of the unachieved objective markers.


From left to right, top row: Plain Generic, German, Finnish, Romanian. Bottom row: Hungarian, Italian, Soviet, Polish Communist.

Not shown are a series of alternates, including pennants in black or green with SS runes or bundles of fasces, and a blue pennant with Luftwaffe eagle.

The concept behind this type of objective marker is that you change your markers depending on which side you're about to play. So what you'll see are little reminders that don't look like anything else that these are the locations that your national army is supposed to control (i.e. dark green pennants with national coats of arms), interspersed with a few of national flags from each side. It works because green triangles don't look anything like red rectangles. And for those that don't like changing flags every time they play a scenario I'm including a plain generic pennant, though I find it a bit boring to look at.

I'm currently having a problem applying ripples to flags. I had thought I had solved it, but because the pennants need a fairly high resolution to avoid having jagged edges the residual glare from the ripple template is hard to ignore. Personally I like the idea that achieved objectives flutter in the wind and unachieved ones don't, so for that and other reasons I'm not willing to declare this done yet.

What to put on the flags was a source of bother. I finally decided that aircraft roundels and things of that ilk look great as hidden unit markers (one almost ended up on the finnish and romanian pennants), but aren't really appropriate here. What I really wanted was to find national army symbols, but failing that I fell back on national or monarchist coats of arms.

Comments and suggestions are welcome, especially with my technical problem (which may be no more than a by-product of my lack of skill with Photoshop).

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Are you on a Mac? Photoshop defaults to displaying a 'Windows' Gamma, which is 'darker'. When you put the .BMP inGame it always looks lighter.

I haven't gotten to my Modding 'puter with your Files yet, but reading your e-mail it struck me this effect might be aggravating your situation, though it's clearly not all of it. More later.


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I'm using a PC, and doing the work in a combination of Photoshop and Paint. Normally I'm about 10% Photoshop and 90% Paint, but the ripple effect can't be done in Paint. The problem is not the general darkness, I think, but rather the perceived glare that results from stretching the ripple template to fit onto a much larger flag. At least I think that's what is going on. If I'm right the solution would be to find a ripple template that works on pennants that is about four times the resolution of the one that I'm using.

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