What's wrong ?
I have gone over my Unit and Tile issues (and fixes) in my previous pages, however even after 'fixing' things (so rail moves faster than ground units and aircraft move faster than rail etc.) that only leaves my issues with the existing maps
My major issue is that I find all the maps rather 'unrealistic' = from the 'bridges to no-where' in 'Anthill' to the 'how did they get there ?' unit deployment in 'Uprising'.
By far my biggest annoyance is with the roads. On many maps roads take 'indirect routes to nowhere' for no-reason at all (except, perhaps to line the pockets of the construction companies). On some maps the roads just join the buildings and then 'stop' as if nothing else exists 'off map' (Arms Race) whilst on other maps the roads join some buildings but then run quite close to others without actually 'linking' to the entrances at all (The Great Battle)
A close second in 'annoyances' are the 'neutral' buildings, especially the ones 'behind the front line' stuffed full of combat units = what General in his right mind would have just walked on past and ignored them ? Even when it looks as if each sides 'scouting forces', having decided to go cross country rather than follow the roads, are about to stumble across Depots etc. these forces have no Infantry with them, so can't capture anything anyway !
Further, whilst it's usually worth grabbing the contents of a 'neutral' building, most have no 'crystal generation' capability, so once the 'start up' crystals have been used, the building becomes a worthless liability not worth defending (which could explain why no General considers them worth capturing in the first place).
Finally there are the 'forces committed to battle' = no-one sends in an Aircraft Carrier on it's own (i.e. without any support except Transport Ships :-) ) nor would any commander 'counter attack' a superior enemy - and especially not one with aircraft when your own forces lack anti-air capability !
Of course all these things are easy to fix - and I hope my modified "-x3" maps (and x3 Tiles and x3 Units) make a little more sense than the 'originals'
If you don't like them, well in steves-x3en-Map-set.zip package I have included all the '.src' and all the tools I used to re-build them, so you can re-modify them to your own taste !
Note, my "-x3" maps have been 'play tested' with crimson.exe version 0.5.1
Warning: fast moving units can 'move on top of' friends. If those friends have no 'transport' capability, crimson.exe WILL CRASH = if your friends have a transport capability, the unit that stopped on top will end up being 'carried' by them (transslots, minweight and maxweight are all ignored)
To allow tracks to give some movement advantage, I needed more 'steps' in the 'movement cost' values. This meant all the existing 'cost' values had to be increased - and then all Unit movement 'allowances' increased to compensate. The problem is, when a tile is 'occupied' it is (apparently) given a 'cost to enter' of 16. This was 'safe' in the original system since no unit have a movement allowance over 16 - however with the new movement costs and allowances, many units have an allowance over 16 ! Whilst this has the advantage that units can now move through a friend (asuming they have enough 'allowance' to enter the empty tile on the other side), the disadvantage is that units can also 'stop' on friends. When that happens, if the friend has a 'transport' capability 'all is well' (the friend is forced to carry the moving unit), but if not, crimson.exe simply crashes.
1) The streams are crossed by multiple bridges, most of which appear to have been built for no reason at all !
Since my x3 Unit and Tile definitions mean ground units (especially tanks) now move a bit faster on dirt tracks (than going cross-country), I've 'joined up' the bridges with tracks and ran these to the edges of the map = so at least it looks like the tracks and bridges are being used to go 'somewhere'
2) The most forward group of FNA medium tanks (in the center) have no logical means of reaching that position, and especially not 'in advance' of the rest of their forces. The group of Empire Infantry who are 'outflanking' them (on the other side of the stream) also seemed to have appeared 'by magic'.
Also the Empire tanks on the far right of the (original) map have no real way of reaching that 'start' position in advance of the rest of their own forces (yes, tanks can now ford the streams, however moving cross-country is still faster than splashing down stream ;-) )
So I've re-positioned the most forward FNA tank group, and the Empire gets an APC to explain how their Infantry reached their advanced position. I've re-routed the stream on the right hand side of the Map and gave them a road (so the Empire force no longer looks as if it walked on water) and moved their SPG's (former 'Scouts') to a more sensible position in their rear Players should note that whilst tanks can cross streams, it's not a good idea for them to get involved in a fight whist doing so (tanks in water fight like sitting ducks :-)
3) The Empire have a number of helicopter Gunships, however the FNA have almost no way to 'counter' these (especially as I have removed AA capability from Heavy Tanks). It's hard to believe the FNA would attack / counter-attack the Empire without some way to counter the obvious Empire air-superiority (the Empire, which actually has more AA-guns that the FNA, are only slightly better prepared)
So the FNA gets 4x Fighters (in their HQ) - and the Empire gets a couple more AA-tanks
4) It's obvious that the FNA lacks any defensive plan for it's HQ. Not only are there no roads (or even drit track) giving their units fast access to their HQ, but their actual defence works are almost non-existent. It's hard to believe, really, that any serious rebellion would reply on a couple of randomly placed 'tank traps' ('diamond' terrain tiles) and a mix of randomly positioned (almost) nearby units to defend their HQ. Of course, having no serious defences (or defense planning ability) might explain why the FNA has launched a rather suicidal frontal 'counter-attack' against the Empire forces (which, as might be expected, outnumber them somewhat)
After I re-routed some of the tracks to allow access to the FNA HQ, I added a line of 'tank traps' to the front and placed trenches behind both these and the river banks. I then repositioned the defending units into the trenches (where they might actually be of some use), although the trenches are mostly empty (of course). Finally, to make the HQ a real 'asset' worth defending, I added a 'crystal generation rate' of 5 per go, which should allow the FNA to repair any of their units that manage to make it back from the pointless counter-attack
You can play either side, although (as usual) the AI is only really capable of 'attack attack attack' (as you will see later, eventually I had to force the AI to keep it's defending units in their trenches by defining a new Unit type = 'Garrison Intantry' that had zero movement capability). When I have time I'll add a human player 'handicap' to make it more challenging.
1) Roads join the buildings, however both the FNA and Empire 'advanced scouting forces' (next to the 'neutral' buildings) appear to have travelled cross-country to reach their current positions. Even more amazing, plainly each side decided to 'scout' only one of the two neutral buildings - and each chose a different one !
So, to 'explain' the positions of the 'scouting groups' I redid the roads = then, to explain the roads, I redid the hills/woods/mountains :-)
On the original map it looks as if, on discovering the enemy scouts, each side decided to send a second group by road to oppose them - but in each case these units 'got totally lost' and ended up advancing across open country and on the wrong side of the road !
I've tried to keep the 'reaction force' appearance, although this does mean the road system is a bit 'contrived', but at least it now looks like the various forces are actually heading for the actual buildings
It's to be noted that both sides have a real shortage of Infantry, so (apparently) each chose not to risk what Infantry they did have by sending them off with either of their 'task groups' (this, despite the fact that grabbing all the 'neutral' units in either building first would have won them the battle)
I added a single** new Infantry unit to each sides force groups.
Both sides lack 'resource generation' in their HQ's, which calls into question why they bothered to use that building at all (what crystals they do have could easily be loaded into the APC's and carried along with them until a more suitable building is captured)
So both sides HQ get 5 crystals per turn (although, since both sides forces are so far from their HQ's, it's unlikely either side will actually bother to waste time repairing anything)
**Note. It's hard to believe than any 'rebellion' would have many more AFV's than it has Infantry, however I let that go (maybe the Empire has wiped out most of the FNA foot soldiers already)
At last !!! A decent sized map where (at least some of) the forces actually use the roads !! = however that's where the sanity stops. Looking first at the top half of the map ...
1) Where are the Empire Troop-trains ?? There must have been some reason to build a railway linking the Empire HQ with it's Airfield, however they seem to have forgotten how to use it = except for a couple of rail-guns, one of which is (miss)placed behind their HQ) :-)
Adding a couple of troop trains (and an armoured train to protect them) is easy enough, as is moving the rail-guns to somewhere they can do some good.
2) Despite having an 'Airfield', the bulk of the Empire air-force (4 Fighters) is actually in their HQ
With somewhat more realistic aircraft move distances this is not a big issue, however I moved them anyway
3) For some insane reason the Empire military planners have placed lines of barbed wire behind the (badly positioned) trenches !
Whilst this was may have been a good (Soviet) idea in WW2 (it was to stop their own forces retreating), in this case I'm just assuming some-one got the defense plans upside down :-) However, no matter where the barbed wire is, the trenches have glaring open flanks ! Even more to the point, perhaps some-one in the 'random trench planning' department could have considered the possible need to include their railway line behind their trenches rather than in front of them (assuming they want to protect their own Rail-guns) = or perhaps this is more evidence of 'upside down' plans :-) The ideal place for the HQ trenches is in front of the main road (a road to your rear makes it easier for you to rush re-inforcement units from one part of your trenches to another, where-as one to your front makes it easier for the enemy to rush units from one place to another). The Airfield trenches are also on the 'wrong side' of the road ... and then there is the set of 3 more or less pointless trenches between the Empire Airfield and the Empire HQ, the only function of which seems to be to stop Empire units from one building reinforcing the other (no doubt this is also why there is no road between the two buildings, only a rail line .. but with no trooptrains there's still no way for one building to re-inforce the other) So, a total Empire defences / road / rail-line rework ..
4) The FNA 'scouting' forces who are arriving down the road on the right of the battlefield are outflanking the (old) Empire trenches but seem to have got lost on their way to attack the Empire HQ (the obvious battle-winning target). Perhaps the hopeless plight of their friends, who seem to have been 'teleported' into a position (in front of the second line of pointless Empire trenches, where they are totally surrounded and will be annihilated on turn 1) distracted them
If you launch a flank attack, you send sufficient forces to 'make a difference' - and whilst 'teleportation' is a good trick, dropping your troops into the middle of the enemy center (where they will just get slaughtered) is not so clever ... So, to 'fix' this obvious slip-up, all I needed to do was to shift the 'teleported force' to join the flank attack .. .. and to 'explain' why they are not going straight for the Empire HQ I extended the river so they are obviously being 'forced' into a bottleneck at the road bridge ..
Finally, given the Empire air superiority, the FNA would be stupid to attack without at least some Interceptors - whilst at the same time you have to ask "Where has the Empire's Bomber force got to ?"
Again, easy to fix - FNA get some Interceptors, Empire some Bombers
You can play either side (when I have time I'll add a human player 'handicap' to make it more challenging)
1) Whilst the FNA factory on the northern island is working fine, they don't seem to have considered how to go about defending it. As for the southern island, they plainly forgot about that one completely (it's still neutral). On the other hand, perhaps they can't be bothered, since, of course, despite this being an island (and many of the Units in play being naval) the building has no 'access' to the sea ..
I added sea access and switched 'ownership' of the southern island to FNA. To make it 'worth while' defending, I upped the 'crystal rate' to 3 I also dumped the Hovercraft - these are just a distraction on what's supposed to be a sea/air battle.
2) Next we have the 'biggie' = the Empire is attacking with a few boats, some Troop Ships and an Aircraft Carrier ! At the very least the Aircraft Carrier should be protected by Submarines - and the Troop Ships should be defended by a complete screen of Boats (after all, who's to say the FNA don't have their own submarine - or even a few Bombers - hiding somewhere ?).
The problem with the Troop Ships is the lack of landing craft. This means the troopships have to 'dock' (before the troops can be unloaded) in a (medium) Water tile, which means sailing up the channel between the two islands (and getting sunk)
So, I added the necessary Carrier / Transport shipt 'screening' forces, changed some Shallowwater tiles to Water (to give the Empire some more choice in choosing their Troopship 'landing' place) and tweaked the FNA railway enough to make (almost) worth using. Whilst I was at it, I gave the FNA some Bombers (just to keep the Empire player focused) Note, Patrol Boats 'maxweight' has been increased so they can now carry infantry, so the FNA will need to be on their toes when it comes to defending the islands
3) It's inconceivable that the FNA doesn't have access to (sea) Mines - and wouldn't have mined the most obvious water approaches to the islands (to prevent the Empire simply landing and walking right in)
Whilst this appears an easy fix, there's the problem that your own naval units can't move through your own mines ! So I decided not to mine the actual sea lane approaches, as doing so would allow the Empire player to choose one approach and ignore all the others, knowing the FNA naval forces are trapped behind their own mines so have no way to attack
4) Finally, I noted the Empire is sending in a couple of un-escorted Bombers with a Transport aircraft, no doubt as some sort of 'diversion'.
It seems a bit unfair to allow them to sacrifice such expensive units without a fight, so I gave them a Fighter escort
Beach Raid can't really be played 'realistically' until the Landing Craft unit is defined (and the A.I. programmed to use them). Until then, the Empire player has to win the sea/air war before it can risk bring in it's Troopships (since they are so easy to sink). By then, most of the FNA land units will have been sucked into the sea/air war and already defeated
Since the AI has no grasp of the need to protect it's Troopships, this is one map where you can only really play the Empire (by all means let the AI play Empire and have some fun sinking it's Troopships)
1) The 'plot line' is that the FNA 'special forces' have only just taken over an enemy building (to use as a 'temporary HQ'), so that explains the Empire 'Barracks' in the mountains to the FNA rear (which it looks like the FNA has managed to 'contain' by capturing the 'command post'). So far, so good, but it does beg the question of 'how' the FNA forces arrived (no Transport Aircraft, no access from the sea (so no Troopship) and no railway (so not by Troop-train either). OK, so they have a couple of Hovercraft (easy enough to add sufficiently more to pack all the troops in) = but what route did these take ?
Plainly not from the north or east, since that would take them straight past the Empire Airfield - and in any world, enemy aircraft are a lot easier to destroy on the ground, so, if they came in this way they would have used the element of surprise to attack immediately
The northwest is out (since they would have grabbed the 'old factory' on the way), and the woods to the west are impassible to Hovercraft, as are the mountains to the south.
That only leaves the southeast, past the 'building under construction', and sort of explains the capture of the 'command post' (as a small diversion) and even the presence of the Empire units in the area (come to investigate the noise, no doubt, as Hovercraft aren't known for their 'stealth' capability :-) )
OK we have the means = Hovercraft, and avenue of approach (from the southeast), but this still begs the question, why waste time 'capturing' anything (and throw away the element of surprise) instead of running straight onto the Airfield ? Plainly the reason must be that the Empire Airfield can't actually be accessed directly from the southeast i.e. the mountains must extend all the way to the eastern edge of the map (so the Empire 'investigation' team must have arrived by transport plane = not a problem if you are based at an Airfield :-) )
2) The next question is, why did the FNA 'unload' all their forces at the building they grabbed as their 'temporary HQ' ??? They really don't stand much chance of 'chasing down' the Empire aircraft once they 'take off' (even before I modified air move distances to something a slight bit more 'realistic'), so their only real hope is to catch them 'on the ground', all nicely lined up on the runways, on 'move 1'
It possible the FNA forces where distracted by the need to destroy the Empire bunkers (there is no way to 'turn' Bunkers, so showing them on the map as FNA units is plainly an 'oversight', which I corrected by replacing them with craters), and then had to wait whilst their damaged units were repaired - and are only now 'getting ready' to launch their suprise attack. Indeed, the map is almost small enough to allow a 'rush attack' ... but ONLY if the FNA Hovercraft start the game 'loaded up', since on the Empire's own first turn they will 'launch' all their aircraft (even if only to 'hide' in their own buildings) after which the FNA will never catch them. SO, easy fix, just load up the Hovercraft with the FNA forces and let them go = but what are the 'special forces' ??? Well, they came to kill aircraft, so the Hovercraft must be loaded with AA-tanks (AA-guns take too long to setup and no other land unit has a better AA capability). Since 'special forces' are the elite troops, the FNA 'attack team' will get the top 'experience' level, and their 'support' units at least half level (all AA gets top = if you plan to take out enemy aircraft you send your best)
Now we come to the Empire defences. There is the usual problem of the Empire placing placing it's defenses behind the road, and it's tank-traps and barbed wire behind it's trenches :-)
I started by moving the road so it's behind the defences - which allows the Empire to move it's troops (and Artillery) to support those in the trenches (and evacuate casualties back to HQ) instead of giving the FNA the road advantage. Next I replaced the Empire trenches with Tank Traps, which will stop the enemy tanks rolling over the second line of defence, the barbed wire. Trenches are then placed behind the wire which will slow down the enemy Infantry (who can climb over the Tank Traps)
Of these defences create the problem for the FNA. Hovercraft can't cross Tank Traps, and AA-tanks can't cross either tank-traps or trenches, so how on earth could the FNA ever expect to make a successful attack ?
The answer is to add a tarmac road route direct from the building just captured by the FNA to the airfield - and finally we have a reason for the FNA's decison to 'capture' this building = the fact that attacking up this access road is the only way they will stand a chance of catching the Empire aircraft on the ground. The road gives the FNA an initial 'fighting chance' to kill at least some of the Empire Air-force before it can escape = although when I play tested the map with the AI playing the FNA, it never seemed take advantage of the road and (as Empire) it never seemed to recognise the threat posed by the FNA AA tanks (and never tried to fly it's aircraft away)
Finally, there's the Empire's inexplicable ignorance of the 'old factory' - after all, how dumb do your forces have to be to not follow the fork in the road outside your own HQ defences and take the nice straight track to the massive building complex that must be plainly visible in the distance ?
Well, plainly the 'road to the old factory' had to go. Next I extended the west woods up to the north west to make the factory both 'invisible' and almost totally 'inaccessible' by ground - and then added some mountains for good measure
Of course you might point out that a huge aluminium roofed factory complex is not exactly 'invisible' from the air .. and especially not to the Empire Airfield right next door :-)
To provide some 'explanation' I converted the massive Factory complex into a small 'pill box' and then added a few 'craters' and a broken road to provide the illusion of a 'destroyed' factory (to be honest, it's a bit of a waste of time going for it anyway - nothing inside is going to help you destroy Empire aircraft and the only reason to grab it is to help build victory points)
Note: Clipped Wings is set up as a 'campaign' map.
This is another map where the builders of the (northern) complexes apparently never considered the need to provide access to the sea 'next door' ... unlike the guys who built the Kekeelo island complex (which does have access to the river). On the other hand, since neither side has any boats, it's all a bit moot.
With my new tile definitions allowing boats to pass under bridges, this is an excellent map for some 'testing' :-) So, both northern buildings get sea access and both sides get some Patrol Boats
Next up, is why are there 2 bridges over the River mouth ???
Of course - it's a just a mapping error - one must be a rail bridge ! Since the units appear to be massing nearer the north-most bridge of the pair (and the southern is mined) I made the southern one the rail bridge. Plainly railways go from one place to another in (more or less) straight lines (as do most expensive tarmac roads), so, taking the bridge as a 'way point' I tracked the railway from the east edge (with side branch to 'Valdan') across the bridge to the western edge (with a side branch to 'Rhin's Head') I also 're-aligned' the road a bit (tanks travel by road, where possible, so having groups of tank units 'just off the road' just doesn't happen without a good reason). The FNA group that has arrived at the rail-bridge must have just been unloaded from a couple of Trooptrains which have been blocked from moving any further by the Empire mining of the bridge.
That leaves the question of how the northern Empire 'blocking force' managed to get where they are
Whilst a river-side road or rail-track to the island 'fortress' could be added, in the end I decided Troopships would be more 'believable' answer (the 'docks' had to be on the island side of the bridges, as Troopships can't pass under bridges - although when Landing-craft are defined (later) this problem is resolved). I also gave the Empire an APC with a couple of extra mines to explain how they mined the rail-bridge - the 'why' being that the Empire must have seen the FNA Troop-trains coming, so gave priority to mining the rail-bridge first
Finally, the 'plot line' is this = the FNA have to get the 'ambassadors' (infantry unit) from one building (north east) to the other (north west). The AI has no idea of how to do this - so, it you play Empire, the AI will just attack your forces 'across the board' (and you will get an easy win when you kill the AI's 'ambassadors')
A map with a road system that goes everywhere (with 3 bridges across the river in the center) and nowhere (the roads even go straight past both sides HQ without even a 'spur') ... and comes with added bomb damage (in some rather odd places) and pointlessly positioned tank traps (to all military planners, here's a hint = if you want to block the roads, you put the tank-traps IN FRONT of the 'defending' bunkers, NOT BEHIND them !)
So, first I re-arrange the roads so they 'go somewhere', then add some rather more realistic bomb damage (actual craters) and finally place the tank-traps where they might do some good ...
You can play either side, although a human Empire player will immediately send their damaged units back for repair whilst the AI will typically use them to attack the FNA (and get them killed). When I have time I'll add a human player 'handicap' to make it more challenging
This map has a 'real' river (rather than streams that tanks can (now) ford). However, whilst two of the buildings are only one tile from the river, neither has any 'access' to the water. Perhaps more amazing, 4 of the 6 buildings present on the map are 'neutral' (I guess both sides employ visually impaired Force Commanders)
Only a blind General could have 'overlooked' the 'neutral' buildings (both sides roads from HQ to the river go more-or-less straight past them !), so I've simply assigned two of the buildings to each side. I've never liked the 'mega structures' (which prevent access to the building from the rear and sides), so I've replaced the 'entrance' and added access to the river from one building on each side. Then I relaid the tarmac roads = if you are going to build roads that go past a major factory complex, you at least put in a 'spur' (how else did the construction units get on-site ?) and I replaced the "specially constructed outflanking road and bridge" with something I found a bit more realistic (track + ford). NB. Artillery can't cross fords (as the Empire player is about to find out) I've sorted out the bunkers (and widened the river to place them outside SPG range) = I gave both sides a pair of bunkers 'protecting' their nearest building to the river (and removed the bunkers hidden in the woods)
My next issue is with the factory resources ('crystals'), both initial and replenishment rate. Now the buildings are 'going concerns', I could see no way either force commanders could have built up such large reserves - so the 150 start is cut right back. However no-one builds a factory without some way to 'power' it - and since this map has no 'crystal power factory' (see later) I just gave all buildings a small replenishment rate
There is no point in giving the AI lots of crystals - all it ever does is build the most expensive unit it can afford (usually Artillery). After using up all it's start crystals, it then builds whatever it can afford as soon as it gets 'replenishment' crystals = usually Infantry (the cheapest). The AI has no concept of 'saving up' for something else, so it spends the rest of the game 'building' nothing but Infantry. However to 'fix' this (e.g. by setting up a 'reinforcement schedule' using Events, or lots of 'hidden factories'**) is a real pain, so I've not bothered for this map ** You can give the AI a factory with no entrance. The human can't open the factory, so only usable by the AI. Setting up multiple such factories, each capable of building a single specific unit type and with a carefully set 'crystal rate' can then be used to provide the AI with 'reinforcements' (without using Events). However, if you do this (using CoMET) you CAN'T REBUILD FROM THE SOURCE (you get an 'error' when you try), however CoMET will 'save' to a .lev just fine. If the 'Marsh' tile is used (instead of the building entrance), when the human player 'captures' the building it 'explodes' (i.e. is replaced with the next tile = circular trench aka 'bomb crater')
You can play either side (when I have time I'll add a human player 'handicap' to make it more challenging)
This is a decent sized map with a road system that's actually (mostly) 'believable' = except, perhaps, for the 'double road up the center' (why built two roads when a a single one would suffice ?). However, as usual, the island buildings have no sea access and the map is littered with 'neutral' buildings.
The 'plot line' has it that the factories have been 'changing hands' = in which case why are they now 'neutral' (perhaps the last battle resulted in the complete destruction of both sides :-) ) ??? The only ones I can believe might not yet be occupied are the two islands = so all the others start in the hands of one side or the other To provide a reason for building 2 north-south roads, I added a mountain range in the center, and then tided up the roads a bit - rather than move the units onto the roads (yes, once again it has to be said - road travel is the fastest way to get to the front so, even when the enemy has total air supremacy (eg France, 1944 onward) tanks will always travel by roads - so I moved the roads to the units
As usual, I can't believe either side would have failed to occupy the buildings in the own rear - after all these are stuffed with units and resources - plus I'm sure any observant General on both sides would have planned to grab the island buildings (yet neither side seems to have put together the necessary Hovercraft or Transport Aircraft Infantry force needed) = so I did it for them
Since Hovercraft are now restricted to shallowwater (and trenches etc), allowing access to the islands required a fair bit of playing with sea tiles
It's hard to believe the huge level of resources that have 'accumulated' in each of the factories - why haven't these already been used to build urgently needed units ??
I cut both factory resources down. On the other hand, what's the point in holding a building of no use ??? If it's empty and not generating resources, defending it is a waste of time and effort = so I made sure every building generated a least a few 'crystals'
Note, as usual, the AI will 'spend' all it's resources as soon as it can on the most expensive unit it can afford - however, since the Empire factory is so far from the front line, building Helicopters is a good strategy (the mountains in the center make Infantry a good choice for the long term)
One final note - it's possible for the FNA to get the "Congratulations , you have won" message (by capturing all the Empire HQ), however unless you have actually captured BOTH island buildings, the game will carry on !
Fixing this means fiddling with the Events (victory points), which I couldn't be bothered to do
A nice naval battle, you might think. However, since NONE of the buildings has access to the sea, this means no boat Repair (despite the fact the both HQ's have 100 crystals !). Add this to the fact that the 'neutral' buildings are stuffed with aircraft and this quickly turns into an air battle (at which point the 'mega structure' buildings start to become a real 'blocking' annoyance)
So, step one, turn all the 'mega structures' into single tile 'entrances', provide direct sea access to the entrance and add some docks etc. to make it 'look good' Step 2 is to note that boats can't do deepwater and troopships (and submarines) can't do shallowwater .. so a little bit more water needed to 'link up' the islands
Each side starts the game with 1 Troopship and 3 infantry. Each will reach the nearest accessible island before they can be stopped, so will gain a Transport plane and an extra Infantry unit, plus some useful air units. The game then becomes one of sink the enemy Troopship and shoot down his Transport aircraft to stop him winning - whilst you hide your own Troopship and Transport plane inside a buildings where they can't be touched
To liven things up a bit, I gave both sides an extra Troopship and each HQ 'factory' capability
LakeYukarwa (The Shores of)
A nice little map with all the usual defects = lake shore buildings with no water access, docks with no ships (the FNA even seems to have 'tank-trapped' it's own HQ docks !) and a rather odd road 'route plan' on the FNA side. At least the Empire forces seem to be arriving along the road from the north, however the FNA seems to be deploying from their HQ. Both sides have overlooked 'depots' containing a shed load of kit 'just along the road' ...
Finally, there's the 'non-bridge' (grass+track tile) blocking the 'channel' (which even I would have problems allowing boats to pass over :-) )
So, rework the roads and assign the depots to the side that obviously 'owns' them. Buildings that are close enough to the water get access and docks, plus add in some boats and Transport ships (to explain how the FNA forces arrived where they are). Finally, fix the bridge (so you CAN pass under it) .. As usual, I reduced the factory 'start' resources and added a 'crystal generation' rate to all buildings (this is higher for the Empire factory, so it puts the FNA under some pressure)
You can play either side (when I have time I'll add a human player 'handicap' to make it more challenging)
Well, the road builders really went to town on this map ! No wonder the FNA Infantry has become so confused that they had to leap out of their transport Hovercraft (on the south west edge of the map) in the middle of nowhere.
As usual, step 1 was to consider the buildings, to which I added some 'crystal generation' (to make them worth attacking and holding) I left the map and roads 'as is', since the map plays quite well despite the 'spaghetti' tracks One change was to place the AA guns inside their transport units (APC's)
This map has all the usual stuff (huge building complexes on islands with no access to the sea, poorly planned roads and the added bonus of a railway (that just links two buildings - what's the point of that ??) a Port with no docks, and an Airport with docks but no runways
As usual, step 1 is to replace the 'mega structures' with single tile entrances. This then lets me tidy up the roads and add a railway linking all the land-side buildings. With the roads and railway in place, next I add some terrain to 'explain' the road/rail construction paths.
The biggest problem is that the AI is quite unable to transport crystals from the 'storage depot' to the island factories. This is annoying, because that means the human always has to play FNA, and I quite like playing the Empire side :-)
One way to 'fix' this is to set up a 'handicap' Event so, if the human plays Empire, the FNA (AI) gets immediate control of the island factories and (say) 50 crystals per turn in each. However this doesn't really work either == the AI just builds (expensive) ground units in the Tank factory (like Artillery) and never works out how to move them to the 'mainland'.
If the human player plays the Empire, it is necessary to 'force' the AI to build Troopships, Hovercraft and a mix of ground units - bit only when the AI is playing the FNA. I achieved this by creating multiple 'Shop Factories' under the 'normal' (Marsh) Terrain tiles on the islands, setting each to build one unit type and a 'crystals per turn' rate that limited the actual build. Lacking entrances means a human player can't 'open' the building, so can't access the contents, but the AI has no problems. Using 'marsh' for the hidden factory means when the human 'captures' the building, it turns into a 'water filled bomb crater'
This 'sort of works' - the AI does build the units and even 'deploys' the aircraft as soon as possible, however it's very slow to load ground units onto Troopships, and even then tends not to 'concentrate' it's forces (leaving more units behind than actually shipping off) = still it's better than what we had before
NOTE, after doing this (using CoMET) you CAN'T REBUILD FROM THE SOURCE (you get an 'error' when you try), however CoMET will 'save' to a .lev (and even 'export' to .src) just fine. To get a 'rebuildable' .src, just replace the Marsh with building entrances (and, after rebuilding from .src, use CoMET to restore the Marsh tiles and save as .lev before playing the map)
It's a rather funny 'defense' = no trenches, no wire, no tank traps, not even any mines = still at least the roads look like they are going 'somewhere' and the builders of the access road have employed a 'switch-back' approach that makes it quite defendable.
The main problem for the FNA defence is that there is just not enough of them. This means even with the track allowing them to shift units from one side to the other, the defenders can't stop the attackers overwhhelming them. Both sides get APC's to carry their AA guns and I couldn't resist adding a couple of SPG to both sides. This map is small enough to make for a reasonable 'play test' of new units
This is (quite) a good 'practice' map. In theory you can play either side, however the AI isn't really any good at defense, so in practice you have to play the FNA side. When I have time I'll add some 'Garrison' FNA units for the AI (and 'handicap' them away from the human player) to make it more possible for a human to play the attacker.
Omyar Gorge (Across the)
The roads on the east side of the map are supposed to be 'damaged in combat', however it looks like the FNA just built trenches over the n-s river bridge road and the road from their HQ was never going to reach 'Womsch' anyway.
The rail line is also a bit of an issue. I have no problem with it starting at the Empire HQ (although a spur running off the north edge of the map to 'somewhere else' would make it more believable), but then it just runs straight down the middle of the map and off the south edge without going anywhere near either the FNA HQ or Womsch (a 'disputed' building) at all.
Most of the tank-traps are poorly placed (the FNA to the east plainly decided the bigger threat was from their own rear as their tanks traps are positioned behind their own trenches, plus plainly the defense planners on both sides never expected any-one to notice they could simply 'walk around' the tank traps placed on the roads :-) ).
The FNA also has no idea of how to build (or defend) trench works, as demonstrated by the two Empire Infantry units that have already 'infiltrated' the trenches in front of Wonsch (no doubt to spy out the lack of FNA defences !)
So, as usual, I started by sorting out the rail, roads and 'defences' It's more logical if the rail goes past both HQ's, especially after I add some woods and extend the mountain range a bit to 'explain' it's path. I then removed the far east bridge = it's just too near to the edge of the map for 'realism' - every combat map needs to be wide enough to allow 'outflanking' maneuvers. I also gave the Empire a canal so their HQ gets access to the river = it seemed fair, since the FNA have access down the stream (at least, they do after I removed the footbridge's that were preventing passage of Boats. Note that whilst AFV's (Tanks etc) can cross streams, this makes them very vulnerable should they get caught up in combat
Next are the 'impossibly neutral' buildings. Despite signs of conflict right in front of them, neither side seems to have bothered to occupy the actual buildings on 'their' side of the Gorge that they have (apparently) been fighting over !!
Worse, neither side seems to have bothered building much in the way of defences (the FNA does seem to have dug some random trenches between 'their' building and the river, however these are so positioned that the FNA only has s single AA Tank 'maning the defences' !).
This is an easy fix. First I assigned the building 'ownership' to the appropriate side. Then I sorted out the defences. Both sides get proper trenches, barbed wire and tanktraps extending along most of 'their' side of the river bank. It also seems reasonable for both sides to have mined both the railway and bridge (I removed the invulnerable tanktrap) Of course, as part of their defence works, both the Empire and FNA have mined their own river mouth (and both FNA and Empire gets a Patrol Boat that they can use to 'sweep' their mines, should they wish to do so = the problem with mines is that you can't cross (or destroy) your own minefield :-) ) In my -3 unit definitions, Mines now have a decent 'attack' value (but rather low defense value), so, if attacked, they will now 'explode'
Next I considered the two Empire Infantry units hiding in the Womsch trench system. It's not 'unrealistic' to assume these have been sent to 'spy out the enemy defences' but there is no obvious way they could have reached this position
Initially gave the Empire a transport aircraft (to the explain how the Empire infantry reached the FNA trenches), however the A.I. is quite incapable of recognising the threat posed by a human player using a transport aircraft to drop infantry right on top of it's (undefended) HQ ! Since a massive Hovercraft is hardly going to go unnoticed, I ended up giving the Empire a Patrol Boat. If the Empire player is fast, their Infantry units can reboard their craft and excape before the FNA manages to wipe them out
You can play either side, although the AI, as Empire, never seems to work out it can 'sweep' it's own mines (despite the placing of a Petrol Boat right next to them). When I have time I'll add a human player 'handicap' to make it more challenging (and remove some of the mines for the AI)
Plowshares (Swords and)
Roads - well at least the north road looks like it's going 'somewhere', however the tracks (to the middle of the map) seem to serve no other purpose than to help the foolish FNA forces move into the obvious trap :-)
The 3 small buildings are supposed to be 'outlying granaries', however two of them are connected by main roads (hardly 'outlying') and the 3rd is actually totally off the road (so grain lorries must have a cross-country capability :-) ). On the other hand, the 'direct route' between the two main building complexes (the rival HQs) is a simple track !
Just to confuse matters, there are 3 lines of barbed wire that someone seems to have built in the open country side for no obvious reason
I decided that both the Empire and FNA 'main' tank forces must be moving along tarmac roads. This means two tarmac roads between the HQ's - one across the center of the map (being used by the FNA) which exits the map to the north (and is thus linked to the northern Granery), and the other to the west (where the Empire forces are advancing) which is connected to the western 'Granary'. The eastern Grannery is now connected to both HQ's by dirt tracks (along which smaller Empire and FNA forces are advancing). I actually re-routed the roads and tracks a bit so all the tank forces are moving 'on-road' (where possible) and I added terrain between the roads and tracks to 'explain' why they were built. Plus, I felt there needed to be a lot more 'farmed land' (where else does the grain come from ?) Finally, if the 'granaries' are to be worth capturing / holding, then they must have some 'crystal production' value ..
Note - this map is not as 'restrictive' as the original since tanks can now 'ford' the streams - however I think I've added enough woods to 'close it down' again - at least it seems to play well
Don't forget = when it comes to fighting, tanks caught fording streams are 'sitting ducks' :-) You should also note that it's worth defending units sticking to the woods and houses (as this will reduce their casualties)
Note: Plowshares is set up as a 'campaign' map.
Rather an odd map, with the FNA attacking in the center at the same time as Empire forces are attacking the FNA HQ.
When you look at the position of each force, and note that there is only one pass through the mountains, you have to admire the 'stealth technology' each side must have employed since each force seems to have moved directly through the enemy force :-)
The FNA force is very badly positioned for an attack on the 'Jamming Station' - however if they were forced to deploy at that position after arriving by Troop-train along a railway line that doesn't get any closer to their 'target', then we have an explanation. Then we have to work out how the Empire forces arrived where they are. They do have a Transport plane but it seems they mostly arrived by Hovercraft, so I decided they must have followed a river / canal through the mountains. All I then had to do is arrange some very careful positioning of river, road, railway and mountain tiles to allow each of the two forces to have passed the other without detection. The stream in front of the FNA HQ must be a real river (else why not just Hovercraft across it ??), however to explain the splitting of the Empire attack (and the FNA's own Hovercraft forces), plainly there must be a 'ford' or bridge that needs protecting to the west, after which point the water becomes shallow enough to allow Hovercraft to cross.
Since both sides are attacking, the AI can play either side (although the AI does a rather a poor job of defending the FNA HQ - and seems to have little idea of the objective of the FNA forces (the 'transmitter station')). When I have time I'll add some 'Garrison' forces (to force the AI to stand and defend in at least some of it's trenches) and maybe a human player 'handicap' to make it more challenging
A large map, with the Empire forces spread all over the place, mostly on or near tracks, which (as usual) run all over the place for no obvious or logical reason - other than, perhaps, to allow the southern sector natives to show off their bridge building ability (the road splits into 3 just in front of a river that splits into two, in order to allow 3 double bridges after which the road is recombined into a single track again = impressive - and pointless when a 'diversion' of 2 tiles to the west would require only a single bridge !)
There is no direct route from south to north - the main path appears to be south-west to north-east - with lines of barbed wire following the same direction. I thus ran a tarmac road along this route with tracks off for 'obvious' reasons. The 'triple-double-bridge' was reduced to a single double .. Assuming the barbed wire has a purpose, I added 'defence works' at the track 'crossing' points Finally there was the railway - if Troop-trains where going to be of any use, then both 'passing-places' and a 'station' were required - also, whilst trains now run faster than tanks, the mega-switch-back to the final building negated the usefulness of the railway - so I fixed that as well.
The FNA have launched what can only be a 'diversion' (from the lake in the east), although why they deployed from their Hovercraft is beyond me (since 2 lines of barbed wire form a 'bottleneck' and the terrain ahead of them will slow them down considerably, any sensible commander would have run the Hovercraft as far forward as possible before deploying their troops).
To give a human player some choice, I reloaded the FNA forces back into their Hovercraft - a human player can then choose to press ahead with the attack or make a run for it (but watch out for fast moving enemy aircraft !) Hovercraft can no longer transport Heavy Tanks, so I had to add a Troopship - and that in turn required a dock (to explain how they got there) Finally, no one sends off Troopships without some sort of support, so the FNA gets 2 Patrol Boats (and a canal back to their HQ). Since the Patrol Boats are not very useful when restricted to the lake, I expanded the River and gave them a couple of mines each
Meanwhile, in the center, the FNA tank force is advancing up the road whilst their slow moving support Artillery and AA guns appear to have been 'teleported' into the rough ground off the road where they will be nicely bogged down
So, the slow moving units have to be on the main road (move the road), and the tanks on tracks. I then added forest to explain why the roads and tracks run where they do Finally, since the Empire HQ's have defences, it seemed reasonable to add some for the FNA
Play testing shows the Empire has way too many aircraft (and the FNA too few AA defences). These quickly wipe out the FNA aircraft after which they dominate the game (and the FNA don't stand a chance)
So I cut the Empire aircraft numbers in half and added APC's for each of their AA guns (not that the AI is ever going to 'load them up' anyway)
The first battle in the 'series', which 'sets the scene', so what's wrong with it ? (other than the fact that an alphabetic listing puts this map in last place, rather then first place :-))
First notice how nice it was of the locals to build tarmac roads for the sole purpose of 'connecting' the Town to the Barracks - one direct and the other taking the 'scenic route' around the lake ! Lucky, that, since some idiot seems to have built a pointless tank-trap on the direct route that would have forced you off the road and into the grass (wonder who did that and why ?)
I started by considering the tank-traps, which can only be the work of the FNA (since, at this time, the Empire has no reason to suspect the FNA actually has any tanks). So the tank-traps are plainly designed to force the Empire tanks off the road toward the wood to the north, where, of course, the FNA has prepared an ambush .. or maybe not. Note to self = when creating new Unit artwork, use the 'grass' tile as the 'artwork' for an "IED" (hidden mine) :-) So, my first task is to arrange the 'ambush'. To have FNA units 'appear from no-where' would mean adding a building without an entrance, however only the AI can access buildings without entrances. Since that would have forced the AI to play the rebels, I adopted the alternative approach of 'mining' the ground and adding an SPG 'hiding in the woods'.
For a region 'rich in resources' and 'slave mining', there are remarkably few farms or (exposed) rocks and neither Town or Barracks have any 'crystal generation' capability
It's easy enough to add fames and mountains. I then further adjusted the terrain and roads so they look like they are 'going somewhere' other than just between the two buildings - down-grading the 'scenic route' to a track that visits farms etc. and takes the route it does because of woods/mountains etc. Also, I felt the Empire would grab most of the resources, so they get 5 crystals per turn at the Barracks and the Town onlt gets 3.
The FNA have a Town HQ, the Empire only a nearby 'Barracks', however both are depicted with the same sized building !
So I changed the Barracks to a 'bunker' style entrance.
Finally, the biggie = where are all the FNA Infantry ? In any 'rebellion', the one thing any rebel army will always have is plenty of willing 'cannon fodder' = for sure, at the start of any 'rebellion', there will always be a lot more infantry than tanks (and not the other way around :-) )
Obvious really = the FNA Infantry must be hiding in farm-houses and other buildings waiting for the actual uprising to start = so adding them in is easy enough (note - units get a defense 'bonus' when defending a house or other building, so think twice about leaving such cover)
You can play either side, although the AI is a lot more agressive with the FNA Infantry units than it should be. When I have time I'll add a human player 'handicap' to make it more challenging
Next subject :- New artwork - (Units and Tiles)