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No.401_Wolverine
Dec-14-2015, 16:35
Hey everyone,

We've been fumbling away at a new map for a while now and we're nearly ready to start full scale tests and release the map. I figured I might post an overview of the map and the systems involved to try and generate a little bit of interest. We're going to need bomber pilots capable of flying both Blenheim's and He111s for our upcoming tests. We intend to release this map to all users to download and operate on their own servers or just tinker around with as they see fit.

First, a few bullet points:
* Persistent aircraft tracking
* Resource management (fuel production, fuel storage, rail, industry)
* Sector divisions for resource management (three active sectors + a 'capitol' sector which produces resources but has no airfields)
* Aircraft production by sector
* Random weather with 5-day forcast to predict conditions for future operations

Now, a few specifics:

Resources: Each sector has various amounts of resources depending on the map itself. These correspond to the factories (large and medium), port cranes, fuel tanks, and rail stations. Some sectors have more of some resource than another, so they are asymmetrical. These various resources interact with each other in interesting ways. Port cranes produce fuel. That fuel is then transferred to the fuel storage tanks which is a fuel cap that limits the amount of fuel a sector can store in reserve. The three active sectors deplete this fuel as aircraft make sorties. The fourth sector stores fuel in reserve on its own. If fuel runs out in a sector, the airfields in that sector are shut down.
All sectors can transfer fuel upon request to other sectors, however the amount that is transferred is dependent on the available rail facilities. Fuel transferred is limited to the lower of the two sector's rail (the transfer from sector and the transfer to sector). A sector that is shut down can be reactivated by transferring more fuel to it, as long as the fuel cap is large enough to accept fuel.
In addition to this system, factory facilities produce aircraft with more advanced or larger (twin engine) models requiring more factory production per aircraft. Each sector can produce aircraft and these aircraft can be set to be delivered to any airfield in the sector OR if the producing sector is the capitol then it can deliver the aircraft to the sector headquarter airfields (which would then require flying out to other airfields to disperse them as needed).
All of these resources can be attacked and diminished with the ultimate goal in being the destruction of the capitol sector.
Production of fuel and aircraft as well as fuel transfer occurs every 30 minutes after mission start.

Aircraft: There are 4 aircraft types per team and all of these types are tracked. Each airfield can house a squadron of 12 aircraft of each type. If 6 of 12 aircraft take off, only 6 aircraft will remain at the airfield. If all of the aircraft at an airfield are gone, that airfield will no longer permit spawning in that aircraft type. Any combination of aircraft can be housed at an airfield. An airfield with no more remaining aircraft is shut down until either an aircraft lands at that field safely or more aircraft are produced and delivered to that airfield.
Aircraft that crash land safely outside of an airfield are transported back to the airfield that they originally took-off from in an unserviceable condition. This means that the aircraft will be repaired upon conclusion of the mission run and added back into the combat ready aircraft at that airfield (up to the maximum aircraft allowed). When the server restarts the map, those aircraft will again be available. This is to encourage returning your aircraft to friendly territory any way you can instead of flying in a suicidal 'take someone with me' manner upon being damaged. As aircraft will be limited, maintaining an active fighting force in all sectors will be key to intercepting attackers and defending your resources. Should all aircraft be destroyed, the map will continue until the next production batch is delivered - with no ability to actively defend your territory. Do not waste aircraft or ignore enemy attacks or you will soon find your enemy has complete air superiority over your territory.
Current aircraft sets are (BUT ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE):
RED) Hurricane I, Spitfire Ia, Spitfire IIa, Blenheim IV
BLUE) Bf 109-E1, Bf 109-E4, JU-87 Stuka, He111H-2

Targets: The objectives for the bombers are not outlined in little briefings designed to tell you exactly where the targets are. Targets on the map are specific building types, including factories (both large and medium sized), all sizes of fuel tanks, port cranes, and rail platforms and station houses. Within the combat area (bordered in the corners by central London and Arras) any building of this type is a valid target and will contribute to the destruction of enemy infrastructure. In that way, making true detailed reconnoitering of the battle area is important to identify areas of high value targets (areas where there is a concentration of the previously mentioned targets). Finding and attacking these in large scale assaults will allow your team to do the most damage within the time allowed per mission. Repairs take place at the end of each mission and will recover from small level incursions fairly quickly.
The most effective means of attacking these targets with (relative) safety is altitude attack. I've tested attacks against a few target areas in a Blenheim and discovered that the best method to achieve a result and still return home (avoiding flak at least) is altitude attack from 8,000ft or higher. Your millage may vary.
Because the ultimate goal is to assault the capitol sector (London or Arras), one of the easiest ways to reach those targets is to neutralize one of the outer sectors and use that gap as a corridor to access the capitol. A neutralized sector has no airfields to launch attacks from. As such, response time from defending fighters may be lower. Tactics will be open to improvisation and I'm interested to see how this map develops as teams fight it out.

This map has been designed as a 'semi' persistent campaign style map. It will retain statistics, damage, and aircraft tracking over map resets to allow for an extended battle and the evolution of tactics based on new and evolving situations. Hopefully, after a few tests and trials, we will be able to present this map to everyone with a sign-up sheet to participate in weekend war. Ideally, pilots would sign up to the various sectors and dedicate themselves to operations from their own locations. This can be as organized or as unorganized as people want, really.

A FEW NOTES ON TESTS: I get it. Testing is boring. It feels pointless and it often is frustrating. People log into the game in the evening and want to have fun shooting and flying and playing with friends. Please understand that testing is CRUCIAL to making detailed and ambitious maps like this one. The previous campaign we ran (Finest Hour) required more time testing than it did coding and it was not a simple campaign (it's free to download from the downloads section btw). Testing maps like this one are the only way to make sure that the systems involved make sense and are fun to play. Testing is not only required to iron out bugs that 'break' the map. Some things that might seem like they're working perfectly still need to be tested to ensure that they are balanced properly or designed in the best way possible to ensure everyone has a good time.

So please, if you're someone who says "that sounds like fun, I might sign up for that when it's finished" I implore you to be prepared and willing (and even excited!) to help test the map to get it to that finished state. If nothing else, you'll have an advantage over someone who didn't test. This stuff doesn't make itself.

ATAG_Torian
Dec-15-2015, 06:36
Hope to be able to help with testing. Am on extended holiday atm so not sure if times will line up but if I'm free I'll try to be there.
So glad to see u are still putting in the hard yards. Thx for all your effort Wolvie.

1lokos
Dec-15-2015, 08:08
I have time do participate, no bother in fly instead "fight".

But if this involve instruction via TS - I dont speak or understand spoken English. :D

Cassius
Dec-16-2015, 12:50
Nice to hear any news from No.401-th :thumbsup:
Have some questions.
About testers.
Do you really need the pilots can fly both Blenheim and He111, not only one of both? Ready to tests on He111 and I hope our pilots too. (gone to tell about good news to the our forum thread)
About resource.

Port cranes produce fuel.
It's like a simulation of fuel supply by convoys. Will be there real convoys in the future? May be? :recon:

No.401_Wolverine
Dec-16-2015, 13:58
Nice to hear any news from No.401-th :thumbsup:
Have some questions.
About testers.
Do you really need the pilots can fly both Blenheim and He111, not only one of both? Ready to tests on He111 and I hope our pilots too. (gone to tell about good news to the our forum thread)
About resource.

It's like a simulation of fuel supply by convoys. Will be there real convoys in the future? May be? :recon:

Mostly, for the first tests, we will need He111s (or Ju88s or Stuka). Blenheim pilots will be required once the complete working map is ready to deploy. Those tests will be more like actual gameplay in an attempt to stress the system and work out problems in it.

There's no reason we couldn't use actual fuel ships for the convoys. Ships are somewhat problematic at the best of times, in CLoD, unfortunately. Resources get produced every 30 minutes as well, so it would be resource consuming to deal with ships appearing and disappearing etc. Also, it would be adding another object which would essentially be accomplishing the same task. If I can think of a good way (interesting, fun, efficient) to use ship convoys then I'll take a look at adding it in. First thing first, though: make sure the basic map works.

Cassius
Dec-17-2015, 00:42
Thx for answer. We ready for tests. ( we mostly out of action with X-mas vacation on SoW)And I have some difficult with translations to Russian...Next points...About limit of the fuel transfer...about "fuel transferred is limited to the lower of the two sectors rail" from one sector to other...what does it mean?
Some minimum volume of fuel could be transferred?

ATAG_Colander
Dec-17-2015, 08:00
It feels pointless and it often is frustrating. People log into the game in the evening and want to have fun shooting and flying and playing with friends.

Sounds like working for TF :)

No.401_Wolverine
Dec-17-2015, 10:14
Thx for answer. We ready for tests. ( we mostly out of action with X-mas vacation on SoW)And I have some difficult with translations to Russian...Next points...About limit of the fuel transfer...about "fuel transferred is limited to the lower of the two sectors rail" from one sector to other...what does it mean?
Some minimum volume of fuel could be transferred?

It means that if Sector A has 50 rail 'points' and Sector B has 25 rail 'points' then only 25 fuel 'points' can be transferred between those two sectors. It means that attacking the rail system is an effective way to isolate a sector from being resupplied.

III./ZG76_Saipan
Dec-17-2015, 15:21
I salute you for the innovation of this map but i worry about the rendering problem this game has. Bombing from alt you can hit airfields easily but now if we are talking buildings thats another matter.

do you think it will be an issue or will the target areas be large enough?

No.401_Wolverine
Dec-17-2015, 17:28
I salute you for the innovation of this map but i worry about the rendering problem this game has. Bombing from alt you can hit airfields easily but now if we are talking buildings thats another matter.

do you think it will be an issue or will the target areas be large enough?

Target areas we are talking about are rail stations, ports, fuel storage areas. It will be a mix of targets. Some will require precision and low level flying. Others can be successfully taken out from altitude. It will be up to the players to decide which is the most economical means of attacking.

Large oil/fuel storage areas can easily be taken out from altitude as they tend to chain react, even if you only hit it with one bomb. Those fires do a lot of damage to objects in the area. Similarly, larger rail yards are well defined and can successfully be targeted from altitude. The targets are designed to allow for a margin of error in bombing, but at the same time there is historical realism in the inaccuracy of altitude bombing. Player bombers tend to be pretty precise as our game can only simulate a few things an thus you can learn to adjust to those things and be pretty good at it. So, something like a train station, if you have 3 bombers all attacking that one spot, that's a good number of bombs (if you're a lucky luftwaffe pilot anyway with all your kgs of bombload) on a smallish area. Odds are you're going to get at least part of the target. If you've got good recon of your target, you should be able to drop you bombs without having to see individual objects drawn on the map. As long as you hit the general area, you should get something. Obviously, more bombers dropping more bombs will mean more damage.

Remember, you don't need to obliterate the target to have an effect. Every single target object you manage to hit will have an immediate effect on the related resources. If you only hit 15% of the train station, you still get 15% reduction of rail resources for the enemy. Unlike your traditional targets that are all or nothing or other targets that have 'degrees' of destruction (light, moderate, heavy, etc.).

That's part of why we'll be doing testing. Testing attacks, tweaking the targets, tweaking the attacks, etc.

Dropping bombs from altitude and hitting (or more often NOT hitting) buildings is a part of WWII. Hitting a mile wide circular area and calling it a direct hit is a gameplay design conceit to try and get people to bomb from higher up in Cliffs of Dover. My goal is to try and marry the two things together.

Something else to think about as well is that traditionally, map targets have been created using objects and placed on the map. That means, the actual map textures and map design has not been made with them in mind. These targets have just been plopped down onto it. This is why the draw distance of objects has traditionally been so key to bombing and why airfields as targets has worked. Airfields work because they're part of the map and you can see them from up high. You can see the textures of the other map features I'm using as targets as well, meaning you can get a bearing on an object on the ground presuming you've done your low level recon to see what it looks like and then can translate that into the high level view using textures and geographical features as reference - exactly in the same way you use the textures and geographical features as reference to hit airfields.

No.401_Wolverine
Dec-31-2015, 12:55
The first beta of the map is ready to test openly now.

I will occasionally have the mission running on my computer as an open test. If you see it on the server list, feel free to jump in. If the name is 'open test' then there is no password.

I'll see if I can schedule a more formal testing period soon.

ATAG_Bliss
Dec-31-2015, 20:44
The first beta of the map is ready to test openly now.

I will occasionally have the mission running on my computer as an open test. If you see it on the server list, feel free to jump in. If the name is 'open test' then there is no password.

I'll see if I can schedule a more formal testing period soon.

Sounds like fun. Wish I had any time to fly.

If you are looking for a host, I don't see why it couldn't be put on the second server when it's not being used. Get with PanTast, and I'm sure he could host for you if you wanted.

PanTast
Jan-02-2016, 13:35
Map runs without password on server 2

Have fun testing it :thumbsup:

No.401_Wolverine
Jan-02-2016, 13:40
Many thanks to ATAG admin for putting the map up on the 2nd server!

The map can now be tested quite thoroughly!

There are two main things to be tested and these are:

Player count. The map needs to be stress tested to find out what the realistic maximum number of players for the campaign would be. I have worked out some theoretical limits based on the fact that there is no AI and on the number of static objects, etc., but these numbers are never quite certain until players join until they start seeing rubber banding or lag. The map can be edited down without sacrificing too much if this limit is discovered at too low a player count, but I'm hoping to get some numbers to help with future projects as well first.

Spawn points. Some of the airfields selected may have bad spawn points for the larger aircraft. Sometimes the aircraft get moved to accommodate the larger aircraft when they spawn, but perhaps not in every case. In such an event, I can create more customized spawning points for the map. This requires some script changing as well, so hopefully we can keep these changes to the minimum.

Please jump in and test away! The map is persistent, so damage you do today will still be around tomorrow. Your goals are to destroy port cranes, medium and large factories, rail yards, and fuel silos. The playable area of the map is AN 27 to AN 13 and every grid square east of that line. There are no targets outside of that area. As for where the targets are, you'll have to find them. Every object listed above is a target, so don't feel that something looks like its part of the map and not a target. If you see a medium factory, it's a target!

Note, there are some debug messages to help with the testing. The following objects correspond to the various targets:

2-Gallon_20 = Part of a Medium Factory
4-Gallon_20 = Part of a Large Factory
TelegaBallon_UK1 = Part of a Rail Station
PortCrane = Part of a Port
FuelDrum = Part of a Fuel Storage Facility

There are systems to move fuel between sectors on the map, to produce aircraft, to deliver aircraft, etc. Feel free to play around with these and suggest menu clarifications or changes.

Every 30 minutes during the mission, production will flow. Here is a brief overview of the system is as follows:
Factories allow the team to make more aircraft. More complicated or sophisticated aircraft require more factories to produce (Hurricanes are cheaper to make than Spit IIas for example)
Ports allow the team to collect more fuel
Rail allows the team to transport fuel between sectors (the lowest value between the two sector's rail is the amount of fuel transferred)
Fuel storage allows the team to keep fuel in reserve and provides a 'cap' on the total fuel that can be stored. Destroying these facilities removes the empty cap first, then takes out cap AND fuel.

NOTE: Airfields are not targets in any way other than to suppress their use.

Good flying!

No.401_Wolverine
Jan-02-2016, 19:56
I've identified an odd issue where the hosting of the map locally on my PC has produced a different result from hosting on a Dedicated server system. Going to be doing some tests to see where the problem lies, but it impacts the detection of destroyed objects. Will update asap on the issue.

ATAG_Colander
Jan-02-2016, 20:25
I've identified an odd issue where the hosting of the map locally on my PC has produced a different result from hosting on a Dedicated server system. Going to be doing some tests to see where the problem lies, but it impacts the detection of destroyed objects. Will update asap on the issue.

The issue has been identified and corrected.
The map should be working now.

No.401_Wolverine
Jan-03-2016, 00:07
Thanks Colander, fixed it right up.

Good test run tonight. Handled 14 players no problem. Hoping to see the numbers increase as we go.

A couple of bugs logged so I'll fix those up and send a new .cs file through to update the map before next weekend.

All in all, very good so far! We had a lot of fun on our raid to Dunkirk and Hesdin.

Several bugs fixed:

Aircraft/Fuel production and Fuel Transfers should now correctly take place at the half-hour marks of each hour from mission start.
The Blue team aircraft production menus now function as intended.
The debug messages about objects destroyed should be more clear now about what is being attacked.

No.401_Wolverine
Jan-05-2016, 02:39
Bug fixes for next upload:

-Aircraft production should now take place correctly and produce aircraft up to the squadron limit of 12 aircraft per type per airfield (factories will not produce additional aircraft for airfields that already have 12 aircraft or more of the type and the production cycle for that sector will be lost)
-Unserviceable aircraft are now repaired at the end of each 4 hour server run and added to the combat ready aircraft for when the server reloads the map
-It is now possible to have more than 12 aircraft per type per field, but this must be accomplished by one of the following:
* The aircraft can be flown to the base from another airfield
* Unserviceable aircraft can be repaired to combat status and push the total aircraft of type higher than 12
-Repair to team resources was incorrectly occurring 4 times per mission run - this has been corrected to only once at the start of the map
-Debug messages on destroyed items should also correctly report the names of other objects that aren't part of resources tracking instead of just being blank.

No.401_Wolverine
Jan-09-2016, 14:10
Bug fixes for the next upload:

- Fixed an error in the Hornchurch sector report where the Spitfire IIa counts were showing Hawkinge Spitfire IIa counts instead
- Added Ground Observer station for Luftwaffe that covers all land territory and small coastline areas in addition to the FREYA stations that can observe further out into the channel
- Unserviceable aircraft counts will now properly reset when repairs occur at the end of the mission