I've started working on my first map, which I've been having a little trouble with, and am eagerly awaiting the new utilities in the next release to finish off the first version. So in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you where things are at, and solicit feedback on the map as it stands now and my plans for future unit development and any game balancing or other ideas you've got.
It's a large land map with over 200 territories and decent resolution at 3392 x 2687 featuring a tactical battle for control of my home city of Edmonton, Alberta. Serendipitously, it seems that at least visually in a strategic sense of the layout of the river crossings, forests, towns, manufacturing zones, urban areas, highways as well as both large (3) and small (3) airfields there is almost perfect balance in the map:
Ideally, I'd like air units to be forced to be built at and return to any of the 6 permanent airfields before the next attack (since movement ranges at this scale for aircraft is nonsensical), which along with factories in the manufacturing zones would be repairable but not constructible. I want the player to focus tactically on movement of units and assets, and I'm thinking about Victory conditions of either holding all "urban" territories, airports or just eliminating the enemy all together.
I really wanted to explore the engines ability to do modern tactical warfare, and was delighted upon reading that we may someday get land units that canBombard. Artillery in all its forms is a huge component of conventional warfare (<70% of casualty rates).
1. 60mm M224 Light Mortar (LM) - Was tempted to give it more than 1 map range but because IRL they don't really go further than 3.5 km, I'm thinking about treating this in the way current artillery is used to boost an infantry attack from a neighbouring territory. The tiny squares you see are quarter sections of land, and represent half a mile (80% of a km in width). I'm also toying with the idea of making both the mortars transportable by infantry. Essentially giving them 0 movement on their own, tying up 1 infantry unit per mortar unit, and making the mortars inactive without an infantry to fire them. Could be useful for leaving them at fall back or other defensive positions for retreating troops to utilize. Alternatively, the unit could be setup so that it is effectively an infantry unit that has it's own movement and doesn't need to be transported. Thoughts either way?
2. 81mm M252 Heavy Mortar (HM) - At 2 map range, representing a maximum distance of about 6 kms, the heavy mortar lets you harass units behind "enemy lines" so to speak. Completely by accident after I finished researching the current modern artillery classifications, I noticed that there was, broadly speaking, a doubling of effective range at each step. I'm considering using the doubling as a first stab at PU's and damage as well. So the LM above would cost 1 PU and +1 for attack and defence. Following that scheme the HM would cost 2 PU and +2 for damage while also doubling the range to 2. I'm not 100% sure how navy Bombardment and air Bombing works now, but I'd like to keep it simple to start by having the artillery bombardment value (i.e. not supporting/boosting infantry attacks) at the same value as their damage support.
3. 105mm M119 Light Howitzer (LH) - Doubles again from the HM above. Bombard range of 4, costs 4 PU, +4 damage for attack/defence. Now to balance the obvious large step up in power I'm definitely going to give both the Howitzers zero movement, and implement a land transport unit AKA truck, to move them around. The howitzers can either support an assault or bombard during the combat phase but I'm thinking it might be nice to then count that as their "movement", in effect forcing the player to either use them in combat or move them with a truck in non-combat - effectively representing the time it takes to dig in and setup a battery. Perhaps if the non-combat phase happens before the trucks can get the LH's into the territory where an attack will take place from, which will also prevent the trucks from getting chewed up in the assault itself? Also, I'd like to make them air transportable, either by a future medium or heavy lift helicopter or medium or heavy cargo plane.
4. 155mm M109 Mobile Artillery (MA) - Coming in at 8 PU/range/damage is the self-propelled artillery. The disadvantage here is that because of its weight ~25,000 kgs or 27 tons or so, only the heavy airlift options will be able to move it. Also, another potential risk/reward here is that only the latest (expensive) shells with GPS guidance (hello new research tech, drones etc.), allow these big 155 mm guns to be used in close-support with allied troops. Essentially, without that, these guns cannot be used to aid in the defence of their territory, or in supporting from their territory - i.e. their effective bombardment range would be 2-8. Not sure if that is possible in the near term of this game development, but it would be great to have.
5. 155mm M777 Heavy Howitzer (HH) - By rights so far, the stationary HH should have the same damage (8) as the MA above as well as can't directly support or bombard neighbouring territories. It trades off 0 movement for an increase in bombardment range to 10, giving an effective range of 2-10. Which begs the question as to what PU cost it should be. The HH is about 8 times lighter than the MA version of the 155mm above, so it stands to reason it should be less expensive... perhaps 6, halfway between the LH and the MA? It is only transportable by medium airlift units, along with the standard towing with trucks just like the LH. I'm still partial to the idea of requiring all the howitzers and mortars to be attached to an infantry unit to fire (or move them in the case of mortars), because it would open up cool tactical things like prepositioning them along defensive lines, or perhaps making them capturable? I can already imagine players developing strategy to hold the middle defensible "high ground" of the city so that they can fire in all directions to the edge of the map with the 155 MA and HH's.
6. 227 mm M270 [MLRS] Rocket Artillery (RA) - This is the baddest of them all. It can reach most of the way across the map with a range of 15 and does devastating damage, like the heavy bombers in the WW2 maps. The RA is self-propelled like the MA and weighs the same around 25,000 kgs, limiting it to the heavy airlift options as well. Costs 15 PU. Apparently in real life they can be setup with guided ordnance as well, which begs the question if it is possible with canBombard to get a "strike" feature which lets you select which units to destroy. This would be incredible for how I'm re-imagining aircraft as well.
Well thats it for now, I appreciate all your comments, feedback and nit-picking.
My next post will be my unit transport cost system I'm mulling over and then I'll make future posts on ideas for new anti-aircraft types, infantry (special forces, engineers etc.), vehicle units such as the aforementioned trucks, LAV III's and Strykers, new air units like UAV's, helicopters and strike aircraft as well as some things like minefields, de-ploy/stroyable bridges and reconnaissance units if we ever get the HOLY GRAIL - FOG OF WAR.
Stay tuned to Battle for River City! Here are photos of some scenes I hope this map will stage... enjoy...
It's a large land map with over 200 territories and .....
This is a recipe for disaster.
Do not try to make some crazy huge complex map as your First map.
I can't tell you how many people join this dev forum, try to make "the most complicated map they can imagine", then quit half way through without ever getting it working. (Or quit right after they get it working)
Instead, go make a really really small map first, just to get the hang of how to make maps.
Something with less than 10 territories, and only 2 players, and no complex rules.
This can be done in 30 minutes or less, btw.
After you get that to work, you will have a much much much better idea of how to make a map, and then you can proceed to your goal of making the crazy-big map as you "Second" map.
I've been getting the hang of it already in terms of the basics of map creation. I don't plan on doing new units and stuff until I can at least get it working with all the standard things (1.0), and I've already done all the leg work of the HUNDREDS of connections manually in the .xml, so with all due respect, don't eat the chicken before it hatches.
I'm still waiting to hear about what went wrong with the centers.txt file - doesn't seem like user error since it squares away with everything I've read... ergo ... I haven't and won't quit on this until I can try and make it work with the new utilities.
I've been play testing and the Airfields work really well with giving nearly infinite movement to air units which I've given a reduced movement on their own of 1. Once I introduce trucks I'll reduce it further to zero but even now it has a nice effect of forcing the player to return the planes to base at the end of each phase.