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-   -   Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility. (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=52131)

Rysgame December 18th, 2018 11:59 AM

Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
Good Evening everyone,

Got a multi faceted question for you all in the hive mind.

1) Are insanely massive maps feasible? Time constraints are of no issue here. I do also understand the massive undertaking of such a map. Or even a series of said maps.

2) How well are logistics modelled? I know I will need ammunition resupply on my units, but will the AI automatically rearm theirs? Or after a 4-5km running tank battle, will their armor run winchester but continue to try to advance? Is there a mod or something that adds a fuel requirement? Or is it in game and I have just missed it with my special eyes.

3) Does anyone still do PBEM? If so, I would love to get together with a more veteran map maker and collaborate on something like this.

Thank you all for any assistance in this matter you can offer me. I just re-re-re-reread Red Storm Rising and have hankering to build some missions off the book and see what I can come up with for my own battles. Maybe cover other major engagements that were not covered in the book.

FYI, I have been playing SP on and off since the old DOS days. Watched my dad play once, and have been hooked since! Long Live SP!

scorpio_rocks December 18th, 2018 01:49 PM

Re: Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
1) The maximum map size is, I believe, 200 x 165 (10km x 8.25km)
2) NOT - AI cannot resupply, no fuel in game
3) Yes - see opponents wanted section

zovs66 December 18th, 2018 04:03 PM

Re: Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
Some notes for you.
  1. WinSPWW2 and WinSPMBT are the ONLY steel panther games still in design, development and currently supported (now for over 20 years). There are new patches each year.
  2. WinSPWW2 and WinSPMBT are the only steel panthers games that actually work right out of the box in Windows 7, Windows 10, Linux and Mac (someone posted). To be honest the 'others' suck when it comes to this and the fact that the 'others' have not and will not be updated in over 15+ years, whereas WinSPWW2 and WinSPMBT have been updated for the last 20 years.
  3. I highly recommend you purchase the CD version as it offers things not available in the free edition:
    • Extended map editor (once you start using it you'll never go back again)
    • Full Screen Display
    • PBEM Campaign Games
    • PBEM Tournaments
    • PBEM slots (more)
    • Timed victory conditions (I am sure I missed something)
    • A host of neat features too long to list, like take cover, hex density, programmed barrages, and many neat things...
  4. As pointed out by scorpio_rocks maps can be as large as 200x160. Some folks like those sized maps and others like a little smaller, it depends on your preferences.
  5. The in game and extended map editor does a pretty decent job of auto generating maps based on year, month, season, sides, etc. My advice is to play around with that for a while and edit some of the auto maps to get a feel for things.
  6. Also, load up some scenarios and look at how other designers created maps, that will help too.
  7. Play this game (MBT or WW2), I mean really play the heck out of it, not only is it a blast and fun to play, you'll learn a lot from massed playings.
  8. Create test scenarios that are throw aways, for maps, sides, stuff to experiment on and see what happens.
  9. There is no real 'logistics' human players can auto reload ammo if ammo supplies are in a scenario, but the AI does not 'know' how do this.

Experiment, test, re-test and test again.

Time and YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Rysgame December 19th, 2018 08:42 AM

Re: Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
Thanks for the responses guys. I have played the SP series on and off since I first saw my dad playing it all those years ago (the one on floppy disk). I might just invest in the paid version.

zovs66 December 19th, 2018 10:01 AM

Re: Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
SP1 (and the 'other) pales in comparison to what SPWW2 and SPMBT play and offer as a gaming system. You'll have to 'relearn' a lot of new things.

If you download the 'free' version I think you be surprised at how good it is, but the paid for (and its on sale this month) is even better, as I pointed out above.

The following is a lot of text but it highlight what has been added.

zovs66 December 19th, 2018 10:06 AM

Re: Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
Extended Game (CD):

Extended Game (CD) only Features for 2013
We have expanded the information displayed when you pass the mouse cursor over a hex for the CD version of the game. Previously, the only information about a hex was Height and the terrain types in it. The new display includes ground height, obstacle height, total height and Terrain Density displayed like this:

Ground Height/Obstacle Height/(Combined Height)Density XX

So the above example tells you the ground level is 1 unit high and the trees are 14 units high so the combined height of the ground and obstacles in that hex above base ground level (zero) is 15 units high and the trees have a density of 27 which means you can see through them into the hex behind.

Ground Height and Obstacle Height are self explanatory but Terrain Density, while being an old concept for the game, it will be a new one to most players. Terrain Density or just “Density” for short is a value the game uses to determine how solid or transparent a bit of terrain is. For example, trees block Line of Sight (LOS) to the next hex when they are greater than >30 density. If they are under 31 LOS is deemed not fully blocked and you can see into the hexes beyond that hex.

Density is cumulative for purposes of LOS. A hex with trees that have a density rating of 20 will not block LOS to the hex beyond it but if that hex has trees that are also have a density rating of 20, LOS will be blocked beyond that hex. Theoretically you could have a number of sparsely treed hexes in a row before LOS would be blocked but typically in the game the maximum would be two but please note those two hexes do NOT have to be adjacent. The game has worked this way since SP1 was first released, we are just displaying to players for the first time.

While Ground Height and Obstacle Height might be self explanatory, how the game utilizes them together with Density requires some explanation.

Ground terrain ALWAYS blocks LOS 100% and it blocks LOS when it is more than 3 “units” of height above the level your unit is on. For example, if your unit is standing on a hex that is base ground level (i.e. zero elevation) that units LOS will be blocked by ground that is 4 units or greater high.

Obstacle Height combined with density also blocks LOS and once again it is cumulative. For this I will use tall grass as a general example. Tall grass is 2 units high and has an average density in the game of 10. If the ground the grass is on plus the grass itself is greater than a total of 4 units high LOS will be blocked when enough density is accumulated to do so. In some cases this might take quite a number of hexes to achieve if the terrain between each >3 units of total height hexes are <4 units of height high

Each "unit" of height in the game is now considered to be roughly 24 inches (61 cm) so each 10 unit level of elevation in the game represents roughly 20 feet (6 meters)

Game Options for 2013
The Game Options launcher programme now allows you to easily edit the INI value for the AIAdjustpercent variable on the Misc Tab. Set at 100% for the default points, 120 to give the AI a 20% points advantage and so on. (Free game users can see this value but not edit it unless they manually do so in the INI file as described in the Game Guide section on AIAdjustpercent).

Take Cover! for 2013
Non-vehicle units with 2 or more MP remaining can now voluntarily take cover to break enemy line of sight at a cost of 2MP by pressing the ‘C‘ key. Taking cover especially if close to the enemy is not a guarantee that they will break LOS.

Delete button for 2013
A delete button has been added to the main screen options to allow the deletion of no longer needed save games.

Change all units for 2013
A facility to change all units of a type in the campaign rebuild screen has been added. Set the button to change all and the change from one type to another will be for all such units in the core. For example, select one of your T34/76 and change it to a IS-2 after toggling the change all mode. All your T34/76 will now be changed to IS-2 provided you have sufficient repair points. NB - if some tanks are same name, but different Unit Classes (e.g. centurion (CS MBT unit class) and centurion (MBT unit class), only the ones of the selected unit class will change.

Formation Menu for 2013
In the deployment only, a new button is added to the Formation Menu to allow the fixing of the formation leader. If the platoon leader has been moved to a unit other than the 0 index, he will be exchanged back into place with that other leader. This is chiefly useful for repairing platoons in long campaigns. It is a manual and not an automatic function since some people will probably like the current leader assignment.

General Support and Direct Support off-map artillery for 2013 types have been added for off-map artillery purchase.

Direct Support is less responsive than normal arty, General Support even less so. The delay is longer for calls for fire, other than onto gold spots or as a pre game bombardment (their main use). Shifting fires costs a little more for these type of batteries and they are less likely to be in radio contact as they are theoretically shared with other formations than yours. As well, they are less likely to fire counter battery fires if left idle. Strike air types may be bought in general or direct support mode if desired.

Direct Support costs 75% of a full Under Command battery and General Support costs 50% of a full Under Command battery.

A button on the purchase menu cycles between artillery types. If General Support or Direct Support purchase is active, then only the appropriate formations are filtered to show on the arty page and the miscellaneous page (for strike air). Cycle this back to Under Command artillery to see the filtered-out formations again. General Support and Direct Support off-map artillery cannot be purchased for your core in a campaign

Timed objectives for 2013
Timed objectives have been introduced.

A button has been added to cycle through the possible values and then back to no timed objectives. The values start at 3 and increment to 30 then reset to 0. The button is available at game set-up in the battle and campaign generators and in the scenario editor.

In a meeting engagement the victory hexes start accumulating a timed score from turn 3 onwards.

In an advance mission, the defender gets timed scores from ¼ of the game length onwards. In an advance the attacker wants to clear the enemy as fast as he can.

In an assault, the defender gets the standard victory hex score credited from the halfway point onwards, and double from the thee-quarter point on. Scoring this way allows the attacker some time to clear defensive obstacles etc.

The attacker does not get any timed hex score credit. He removes any potential future score from the defender by taking the victory hex as early as he can. Scenarios can be built with timed objectives, this includes those built into Scripted Campaigns but these will only be of use for full CD game owners. The last turn and accumulated scores for timed victory hexes are reported at the end turn phase once they have started to be credited for the battle type. The total is also now reported on the end game score sheet.

Victory Hexes for 2013
The standard 7 hex cluster of "non-shotguned" victory hexes will now be spread about in a wider “splatter” pattern approximately 1/3 of the time rather than being in the traditional tight cluster. This produces a more open objective cluster that may need more than a scout car to take and also defend than the “normal” close clusters do but less than the “shotgun” type clusters.

Roster button for 2013
The standard roster button has been added to the deployment menu.

Wreak display- ON/OFF for 2013
The display of wrecks In the game map can now be toggled on and off as with Victory Hexes in order to allow a less cluttered view of the map if needed. The “|” key (above the “\” key (That is the Victory Hex toggle on/off shortcut on a US/UK keyboard) is assigned to the function.

Obstacle height and density editing for 2013

Obstacle height and density can now be adjusted in the map editor and extended map using the ‘<‘ key to adjust Obstacle height and the ‘>‘ key to adjust Obstacle density. This will be of use to map and scenario designers who wish to create sparsely treed hexes or areas of really tall grass or underbrush. We had planned to allow adjustment to building height (to block LOS) but the house code is more deeply entwined with other aspects of the code than trees or grass and we ran out of time this year to make and test the changes properly. We hope to have it implemented next year along with the ability to adjust the building code to allow the ground under buildings to be raised up so troops in them have the ability to overlook the surrounding terrain.

Extended Game (CD) only Features for 2014
Programmed barrage 2014
We have added a programmed barrage option for owners of the extended features version. This new feature is only available as a pre first turn set-up option so is only available when the player is advancing or assaulting. It can be set up to start at any time from initial bombardment to the limit of the turns set for that battle. Programming is easy. Assume for this example you want to set up an pre game bombardment with any number of guns that would deliver artillery just in front of a planned advance. You would choose the hex you want to start the bombardment just as you normally would then, once that was done you would advance the Artillery bombardment turn button (the one with the large +) to the next turn you wanted bombardment from that gun to land. It could be the next turn or it could be any number of turns in advance. When you click on the map for the next bombardment hex the first one you placed will disappear but be assured it has not been lost. You can continue on for as many turns as the guns have ammo for and it can be used by scenario designers as well. The AI will will sometimes use this feature in the attack and assault in the extended features version.

Please note that once a pre-planned bombardment has been set it cannot be stopped until complete, and any guns assigned on a programmed task are not available to the player until their part of any programme is complete but the entire programme may be cancelled by pressing the "cancel Programme" button on the bombardment screen. This button is provided to free game users as well, since they may want to do so in a scenario with an advanced programme that was made by a CD owner. The cancel bombardment button is also the only way to clear any programme you are creating (in the setup turn 0 of an advance or assault, or in the scenario editor) - it's all or nothing. Therefore plan your programme and plot it with care as this is the only way to cure a mistake.

Map editing in the "View Map" Screen 2014
Full map editor functionality is now made available on the "View Map" Screen, for any desired tailored tweaks of a randomly generated map for the extended features version only.

Larger text option 2014
A larger text option has been included for the extended features version only. This uses a new font we developed for many of the screens that makes them easier to read in many cases. This new feature can be switched on or off though GameOptions/Misc. The spin off effect of this was many screens needed slight adjustments to allow both the old and new font to work equally well which lead to further adjustments that balance text display better in either mode.

Extended Game (CD) only Feature for 2015
Cloning Icons and photos in scenarios 2015
Icons and photos can now be changed for scenarios in the in-game editor using the Miscellaneous button and cloned to similar units using the Cloning feature

Extended Game (CD) only Features for 2016
Additional new status information is now shown at the bottom of the screen. If the status is pinned, the status line is yellow, if retreat or worse, it is red. If suppressed more than 1, that is highlighted in yellow and Damage is now shown. In green if 0, otherwise in red.

Scenhack has a new SQL sort facility. This will allow extended game/CD holders to sort scenarios by the follow methods
  • Scenario ID - (the current default sort)
  • Scenario date - creates a list of all the scenarios in the game sorted easliest to latest. Handy for anyone interested in specific events like Marken Garden related seanarios as you can now find where all the scenarios are that are dated September 1944 (for example)
  • Battle type - if you are only looking for assault scenarios for example this is will give you a list with all battle types grouped together
  • Player 1 ID - if you are looking for all scenarios with Poland (for example) as player 1 the list will order all scenarios by player 1 nation ID
  • Player 2 ID - as above but the list will be ordered with the priority being Player 2.... If you want to find all the scenarios Great Britian is the opponent the answer is now one click away
  • Scenario length - If, for example, you only have time for a short game and don't want to spend an hour of more looking through every scenario to find one for you to play with one click a list will be provided of all scenarios in the game ordered by length from shortest to longest
As well you can search for a scenario title

When you press the SORT tab for the first time the game creates information tables based on what you have in you scenario folder. Not everyone will have the same info as not everyone only has the stock scenarios in their Scenarios folder so players need to be aware that during the reading phase that usually takes under a minute, any extra scenarios that may have been created or modified will also be added to this list so remember this is not just a list of the standard as released game scenarios but every scenario in your scenario folder. Players should also remember that this reading of scenario data ONLY occurs when you first press the SORT tab.....any new scenarios you add after that will not be automatically read into the list so as you add new scenarios you will need to remember to press the CREATE TABLES button to get those scenarios into the data base

Pressing the WRITE CSV button a "Save As" screen will appear and you will be able to save a printable CSV record of this information

Pressing SEARCH TITLE will produce a list of all scenarios with a key word......for example of you recall a scenario you played had the word "hill" in the title.... a search for "hill" will produce a list with all the scenarios with "hill" in the title.

You will also see a RUN SQL button. That allows players to further refine their search using the data headers. For example the default for search title is ORDER BY Scenid and the list will be produced in scenario ID order but if you wanted to create the list by year you would change "ORDER BY Scenid" to ORDER BY syear and the list would show scenarios by the year they are representing

Extended Game (CD) only Features for 2017
CD/extended version holders will now get a warning message if they try to enter a building hex with a vehicle. You are now asked to confirm that you really want to do that. This is to stop you from inadvertently immobilising yourself as most cases involving building entry with vehicles is the result of a too long movement call through an urban built up area. The feature will also display on rough+slope combinations if you have travelled 3 or more hexes and thus are in danger of sticking. It's just a "friendly reminder."
SAM and AAA will tend to save shots on low-probability to hit shots. Especially against Spotters (inc UAV) with less than about a 20% chance, other fliers at about 10%. AAA guns will hold fire at longer ranges (>1 KM) if to hit is under about 10% and wait for a better shot.

This applies only to CD owners.
We have introduced a new Formation sorting routine for the premium game. Over all the years these games have been developed, unit classes have expanded as required, but there was no logical order to the expansion as they were added on a need-it-now basis so the different infantry, armour and artillery unit classes that were used to build formations were spread all over the 256 unit class slots available and this meant that in some cases when buying formations you had to search though multiple pages of formations to find the ones you wanted. The new routine in place for CD holders only helps group unit types together and in a more intuitive and logical way. The caveat to that is that when sorting formations by unit class the unit class of the formation is still determined by the first unit in the formation and there is really no getting around that.

For example. with this new routine if you go into the artillery page you will generally find that Forward observers are the first formations listed then generally if there is consistency to the first unit in the formation you will find the light mortars, then the medium mortars then the heavy mortars then the AT guns, then the Hvy AT guns through field guns into rocket formations, off map guns and finally AA guns. Again...its all determined by the first unit in the formation but in the past (and the free game will still use the original method) you may have had a one type of infantry company with unitclass #1 infantry as the first unit but the second type of infantry company may have had a unitclass # 64 Medium Infantry unit leading to in some cases a dogs breakfast of the sort order. A good example of that was the winSPMBT Russian OOB in the years that the T-55 and T-62 unitclass #13" medium" tanks were active along with the T-64 and up unitclass #59 "MBT" formations but the lower end Mediums were on page one and the higher end MBT's were on page 2. With this they are all grouped on page one and we think this will help bring a bit more order to the game
A new button has been added to the main screen that allows access to the premium map editor from inside the game

Seven new terrain types have been added and we have also added an exciting new way to apply terrain to the map for owners of the extended game

Previous to this release the "Fill range" and "Fill" functions in the map editor were mainly used to flood and entire map with a base terrain that would follow the contours already on the map. If you tried to fill less area it placed whatever terrain you chose to use as a giant Hex shape block of terrain that was virtually useless for making maps so as a general rule anyone making a map avoided that control unless they were "skinning" and entire map. We have added a new dimension to the fill range controls that expands it's usefulness 10 fold or more

Now when pressing "Fill range" Extended game (CD) owners will see the following prompts:

First you will see "New Fill Range: " and you can enter any number you like. 255 will fill and entire map but you can choose any amount. After entering the number of hexes you wish to place your terrain onto the map, this new message will appear: "Enter 0 for Block fill, or 1-90 for a Splatter Effect ". "0 for Block fill" will give you what this feature has always given... a solid mass of terrain but entering 1-90 for a Splatter Effect controls what percentage is covered in the area you selected. Enter a high number and it will fill to that amount, Enter a low number and you have a much finer control over how much is placed on the map allowing you to build terrain gradually. It can almost be thought of as a spray gun. It is very useful when building up a forested area or when starting a map off after building the hill contours if you want to blend different types of grass.

AS WELL we have changed the old SSI function of "right clicking" the mouse to add 7 hex clusters of terrain to the map at a time. Left clicking the mouse button will still give you single hex fine control but now right clicking the mouse utilizes the same function as fill range so whatever range and density you have set you can now add by clicking the right mouse button. If you want to use it the "traditional" way simply set the range to 2 and 0 for Block fill and it will behave as it always has but now you can set whatever range you want to control the size of the fill but you can also adjust the splatter effect which GREATLY enhances the usefullness of the tool so adding terrain becomes quick and easy reducing the time it use to take to hand build a map by many hours.

This new tool has many uses but one thing you really want to avoid is mixing contrasting terrains together too much. A little is OK but it really depends on what you are mixing as too much is very distracting and can totally camouflage any contours on the map. What it's ideal for is blending similar colour densities together or placing forest. you can also use it to place hills but even a fast computer will take a few seconds to compute everything and place it on on a full sized map so be patient at first as slower computers may take a little longer to complete the command. We are after all, asking a 20 year old game to do a lot more than it used to but it will with sometimes spectacular results. I help design the feature and I'm still finding new ways to use it. We look forward to seeing the maps players design with this new feature.

Extended Game (CD) only Features for 2018
CD owners Only. In the main game screen and deployment screens, pressing the middle mouse button will centre the map on the currently selected unit and also simultaneously highlight all of the visible hexes from it.

For CD owners only.The following menus now include a GOTO feature added
  • Save games List
  • PBEM games List
  • Tournament games List
  • Scenarios List
  • Campaign List
  • Load and Save Custom Map List in the Main Game and the Custom Editor

For CD owners only. The extended map editor now allows you to strip all terrain from the map, leaving only the contours with one press of a button. This does a bit more than flood filling the map with base terrain that followed contours did.

For CD owners only. The functionality of the mini maps has been greatly expanded. The original purpose of the mini maps was to show a general overview of unit positions and allow players to quickly move the focus of the area they were playing by simply clicking on a new area on the mini map. This had more of a purpose in the original game where map sizes and screen resolution were fixed. As we expanded the size of maps and number of screen resolutions available and eventually set up the game to play at desktop resolution the mini map became less and less used as it's size shrank with the increase in resolution but now we have added code to help make it worthwhile once again.

The mini map can now be expanded to show the entire map by right clicking on it with the mouse if the map is larger than 100 hexes wide and 80 hexes high so it can now be expanded to show an entire large map up to 160 hexes wide and 200 hexes high.

As well a second, simplified view of the map can be generated by pressing the middle mouse button of your mouse on the mini map. This "RadarMini" view shows the main map, roads, contour lines and streams/water rather than the coloured graduated terrain of the old style MiniMap. It's background colour is darker than the standard MiniMap to allow players a higher contrast between the friendly and enemy units, and the Victory Hex locations and is there to give players an alternative overview. The old mini gives a better quick glance overview of terrain height whereas the "RadarMini" gives a clearer overview of friendly and known enemy unit positions. Both types of maps can be viewed small or large if the map is large enough and all four types allow players to left click anywhere on the mini and that will change the position of the main map allowing players to view unit positons and move to new areas of the map with one left click on the mouse.

For CD owners only. On going regular battles and scenarios (but NOT PBEM or Campaign games) can now be saved "As Scenarios" in the scenario folder from the battle window by pressing the "Scenario Save" button that has been added. This allows players and scenario designers an easy-to-use way to save a regular game as a scenario without having to manually rename and transfer them from the save game folder to the scenario folder. This will allow "battle in progress" scenarios to be made much easier as a designer could play out a turn or two saving the game as a scenario until just the right one is found.

zovs66 December 19th, 2018 10:07 AM

Re: Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
So for me, the way I look at it is, for the $30 or so (depending on if you purchase both) its years and years of fun, enjoyment of the greatest game made even greater by Don and Andy!

In my not so humble opinion.

So I purchased both games not only for my own enjoyment but to support SP CAMO.

Rysgame December 20th, 2018 07:06 AM

Re: Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
I just took the plunge and purchased MBT extended edition. So many new toys to learn

zovs66 December 20th, 2018 08:54 AM

Re: Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
Awesome! You'll need to spend some time playing the game to get a feel of how things work, both scenarios and campaign games will help. Then you'll need to spend some time tinkering with maps and then tinkering with scenarios.

Some suggestions:
  • Play the game a lot it will give you a feel for how things should/could or would go.
  • Tinker with maps, start small, otherwise you'll be overwhelmed. Create some random auto generated maps with the extended map editor (small 40x40, 80x80, etc.) and based on year, month, opponents, location, and some other things watch how the AI generates the maps and then go in and tinker with that, also play with the map generator and the various values (read up in the manual) and also tinker with how the AI uses region codes to adjust the map when doing auto random generator stuff.
  • Don't be afraid to open up other scenarios and maps and look at how things got setup, set, deployed and created.
  • Make small test scenarios to learn, nothing wrong with creating a small 40x40 one company against another company and setting up way points for the AI and then testing it out to see how it feels.
  • Test your creations.
  • Test your creations.
  • Test your creations.
  • Have someone else test your creations.
  • Have fun.

Rysgame December 25th, 2018 05:42 AM

Re: Extremely Large Map (ELM) Feasibility.
Loving the paid version. Maybe will even get the paid WW2 at some point. But you can set waypoints for the AI? That would be nice for story driven scenarios, like have them charge down a highway instead of sending an armored division through a swamp and thick forest. As the AI LOOOOOOVES to do

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