Bru's Scenarios

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bru888
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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:10 am

So here are the liberties that I have taken so far in Battle of the River Plate.

Liberty 1
The Graf Spee is approaching Río de la Plata, the estuary separating Argentina and Uruguay. It is on a mission of commerce raiding. While in real life it had already sunk eight or nine merchant ships, in the scenario it is still looking for them. Every merchant ship in the scenario is one that the Graf Spee destroyed in real life but some of them were actually sunk out in the South Atlantic or off the coast of Africa.

Liberty 2
In real life, the Graf Spee was deprived of aerial reconnaissance just before the battle when it's Arado 196 floatplane went out of commission. In the scenario, it is still functioning. The map is too large and the cruiser moves too slow for it to go around hunting blindly. Boring!

Liberty 3
After the real battle, the Graf Spee took refuge in Montevideo but was not welcomed there. The captain believed that he faced overwhelming British forces if he left port. He did not in fact, at least not right away; he could have escaped if he sailed promptly but instead he chose to scuttle the Graf Spee. (He subsequently committed suicide which was a sad end for a decent man. I explain my opinion of him in the scenario.) In my Battle of the River Plate, the Graf Spee is required to visit Montivideo but not to stay there. Getting there may be a bit of a challenge, though; something about a small craft evading Uruguay gunboats to deliver bribe money...

Liberty 4
As always, one of the toughest things to do in an AI scenario is balance the gameplay. Ajax, Achilles, and Exeter are all coming. I've already tested; the Graf Spee cannot defeat all three in combat at once which it came close to doing in the real battle. Something will be done to give the Graf Spee a chance to accomplish its mission and escape if it moves fast enough (of course, the implication is the same as in real life in that even more British warships are also on the way). The liberty here is that in OOB, one cruiser against three is not going to be a winnable challenge, so only if the human player is dumb or slow will he get into a battle like that.

That's it for now.
- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:09 pm

I had a scenario-threatening episode today, once again. My scenario designer career flashed before my eyes, once again. Fortunately, I was able to salvage a working copy and resume work.

Three lessons repeated to myself, once again (and to anybody else who may benefit):

* The editor crashes frequently, especially when Launch Scenario is repeatedly used to test it. Save the scenario often as you are working on it and once in a while, close the editor and even the program itself to refresh it. The time spent is well worth it.

* Always, always, always back up your scenario as it is being designed. Here's a twist on that, however: Don't back it up right away over your last fully functional save. Why? Because when the scenario file gets corrupted, sometimes you don't know until the next time you call it up. It may have been working when you saved it but not necessarily when you call it up again.

* Try not to make changes to alliances after you have been designing the scenario for a while. In particular, this means deleting alliances, rearranging them, switching human and AI, and reassigning team numbers. More than once this has caused file corruption in my experience and the game designer has confirmed in the past that the scenario editor has had issues in this regard.

Disaster averted. Let me continue whilst figuratively walking on eggshells.

EDIT: It was not in fact a problem with alliances this time, but a conflict in one of the triggers that would crash the scenario on start up. I found it and corrected it. The thing about changing alliances is still good advice but the first two lessons are all the more important. So is a fourth piece of advice: When dealing with a corrupted scenario, try to look at what you just did and reverse it bit by bit, from latest to earlier. One thing at at time, take it out, test again. This procedure may save the time and effort of reverting all the way back to the last functional backup.
- Bru

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Re: Bru's Voyage of the Bismarck

Post by rangeview » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:53 am

Can anyone please help me. I have downloaded this scenario but cannot work out where to put it in the OOB game setup. I have tried various locations, such as scenarios and also in the main folder but nothing seems to bring it up on screen to play.
Your help would be much appreciated because I have been waiting for a game like this ever since the SSI version back in the late 80's.
cheers
Bill

bru888
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Re: Bru's Voyage of the Bismarck

Post by bru888 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:22 am

rangeview wrote:Can anyone please help me. I have downloaded this scenario but cannot work out where to put it in the OOB game setup. I have tried various locations, such as scenarios and also in the main folder but nothing seems to bring it up on screen to play.
Your help would be much appreciated because I have been waiting for a game like this ever since the SSI version back in the late 80's.
cheers
Bill
Please see this thread:
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 74&t=81795
- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by rangeview » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:32 am

Thank you very much, works great.

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:59 am

Progress report on Battle of the River Plate:

FINISHED
* Map is done.
* Objectives are finalized.
* Units are selected and located.
* Briefings and introduction are written.
* Event images were obtained and modified.
* Cargo ships are randomly placed at scenario start.
* Uruguay gunboats are on patrol and will attack Germans.
* Ar 196 reconnaissance is programmed for each cargo ship.
* Graf Spee captures and sinks cargo ships according to prize rules.
* Each cargo ship sunk by the Graf Spee is reported by name with details.

UNFINISHED - EASY
* Triggers need to be created to accomplish the objectives.
* Must design the visit to Montevideo either by bribery or by force.
* How to simulate bribing Uruguayan officials if that is the player's choice?
* Need to write blurbs and provide images for scenario victory/defeat outcomes.

UNFINISHED - HARD
* Balanced gameplay. Can either side win? Too easy? Too hard?
* How long is a reasonable amount of turns to accomplish the objectives?
* Is this scenario fun to play for somebody who has not tested it a thousand times?

[Yes, I was going for a captain's pennant effect here with the outlines of my outline. Like it? :wink: ]
- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by GabeKnight » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:54 am

bru888 wrote:[Yes, I was going for a captain's pennant effect here with the outlines of my outline. Like it? :wink: ]
[Sounds rhetorical, but yes ... :) :wink: ]

How's the River Plate project going? And where can I sign up for a beta test?

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:06 pm

GabeKnight wrote:How's the River Plate project going? And where can I sign up for a beta test?
I am hoping to finish and release it this weekend.
- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:06 am

Battle of the River Plate is released. This one is definitely in beta. I need your help in judging the gameplay balance (Germany too much at a disadvantage?) and scenario length (enough turns to accomplish objectives and win?). I believe the details are all in place but I would appreciate your opinions on whether this one is balanced and fun to play. Remember, it's semi-fictional.
preview.png
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- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by GabeKnight » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:30 pm

BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE (1939), v1.0, OOBv5.2.3
*may contain spoilers*

Hi Bruce,

nice one. Played it three times consecutively. Very fast gameplay and short of a scenario, I liked that (like <20min per run). Not much of action going on, though, at least for me. But an excellent mini-bonus-mission type of scenario. A brief summary of the runs:

1.) level3 diff, went at the scenario "clockwise", meaning going west and advancing north to Montevideo from there. Decided the "hostile" alternative and destroyed the 4 boats. Then the three cruisers arrived, I skipped docking at the port and escaped. Started looking for transports from there and went all the way round to Montevideo back to fulfill the prim. obj. to dock (the cruisers stayed at Montevideo the whole time). Couldn't find one transport, nearly destroyed all three cruisers, noticed the repair mechanic at Montevideo by chance only. But the turns ran out, I miscalculated and couldn't make it to the exit hex. (error note: I was awarded a minor victory, still :wink: )
Screenshot 45.jpg
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2.) level5 diff, went at the scenario "counter-clockwise" this time and took the "Kampfschwimmer". I'll attach a replay of that. I suppose, the naval transports were to surrender at any damage done to them. And I didn't check the triggers on the transport ships mechanic this time but I assume you've set the "capture popup" and "kill" event to occur at damage <10 (and not >0) and didn't account for higher difficulty settings. Knowing that I've failed the sec. obj. this way - because shooting twice at a transport (and thus remaining in range) while chased by three ships seemed unreasonably dangerous - I let some of them escape. Otherwise I think I could've gotten a Major Victoy.

3.) level3 diff, went at the scenario "clockwise" again, taking the "bribe" option. And finally:
Screenshot 48.jpg
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Errors:
- the text "event_trigger_84_298_text" is too long, you forgot to crop the double-sentence (you'll know when you read it)
- SS Huntsman, SS Clement and SS Tairoa -> no recon "spotted" message (maybe they even don't leave the map, haven't checked), the destroyed popups and "kill" events are okay
- MV Ashlea gets destroyed the same turn it gets hit
- not exiting with the Graf Spee at turn limit still gives a Minor Victory

General observations and suggestions:
- great overall storytelling. That's a real strong suit of yours. Seeing all the pics in the scenario folder, I kind of regretted not being able to see all possible outcomes and branches (like when this is supposed to happen: photo_oberleutnant_overboard :D )
- BTW, if taken the "bribe" option and then shooting at the gunboats, the "Dummkopf" and the sec. obj. fail happens. Nice!
- the turn limit was tight for Major Victory, but doable at a second attempt. The RPs for mines and such are ok, too, IMO.
- the visible explosion of the merchant ship was a great feature, liked it. It's a pity that most of that occured in the fog-of-war...
- and I kind of killed my support ship every time being bait and distraction. Don't know if you'd want to "punish" that in later versions.
- the gunboat crews supposedly "protecting" Montevideo's port are leaving their post and should be disciplined for insubordiation :wink: :)
- noticed a strange behaviour of the cruisers, one time chasing me all over the map the other time staying near Montevideo port. Some turns being idle and "sonaring" or moving just one hex then suddenly attacking full force. I don't get the AI, but that's what makes it so interesting at times!
- the transport ships shouldn't be able to escape in just one turn after being spotted (see the northern ones)!
- and I don't want to sound presumptuous, but I could help with some of the (minor) German text spelling errors, if you'd like
- This happened while placing mines, and it's NOT a replay error! Don't know if it's a bug in the game or the scenario's map.
Navallandmines.jpg
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So thanks again and keep up the good work! :D
Last edited by GabeKnight on Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by GabeKnight » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:31 pm

"Only 3 attachments allowed"...
Attachments
ReplayRiverPlate_GK.rar
(12.27 KiB) Downloaded 30 times

bru888
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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:33 pm

Gabe, you're priceless. Thanks. Let me look at all of this and get back to you and anybody else who is interested.
- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:04 am

You know, I would fire the guy in charge of Quality Control here if he were not me! :x :roll:

I found the problem with the "not exiting with the Graf Spee at turn limit still gives a Minor Victory" issue. Basically, this trigger:
Capture536.jpg
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was supposed to look like this:
Capture537.jpg
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and if you look really close, you will see what it was doing is sweeping the seas of German units, thereby fulfilling the Graf Spee objective of leaving before scenario end when it was supposed to be failing it!

There's a complication involved. Basically, I wanted one objective to be the Graf Spee escaping before scenario end (implied is that more Allied warships are on the way and the Graf Spee would be doomed once they arrived) but the problem was, once the Graf Spee left, the scenario did not end! Even if the Altmark and Ar 196 were removed (which explains the bad trigger above), the scenario would continue for the rest of the 35 turns and end in a draw.

The complicated triggers in the "Exit the Map" folder are designed to look at all other open objectives and fail them if they have not been completed. Then, there is a trigger to end the scenario, period, one way or the other, once the Graf Spee is gone.

The difference is subtle, but if the Graf Spee cravenly leaves the scene early, before achieving its objectives, it will look like this:
Capture539.jpg
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If the Graf Spee slovenly does nothing while the scenario runs out, it will look like this:
Capture538.jpg
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It could affect whether you end up with a Major or Minor Victory or Defeat, as intended. Also you are not sitting there clicking the hourglass over and over again to end it all!
- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:04 am

Below is that message (the second one), now fixed, and yes, it contains some crucial information that you need!

First, you must accomplish the related secondary objective, be it bribe the Uruguay admirals or destroy the Uruguay navy. This is successful bribing (notice the Graf Spee in hiding momentarily):
Capture540.jpg
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This was the message that was goofed up and now is fixed; it's shown when the Graf Spee can waltz past the Uruguayan gunboat and dock in Montivideo. From that point on, the Graf Spee can return at any time and enjoy immunity and a supply boost (by that, I mean restored strength):
Capture543.jpg
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Note that the second message will not show, nor the hospitality be given, if the player goofs up the mission. Like firing upon the idle gunboat when moving past it (by stealth mission) or merely docking in Montevideo without destroying the Uruguayan navy first (by force mission).

By the way, I also noticed the omission of a popup message for when the Uruguayan navy is destroyed. I included this one:
Capture545.jpg
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- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:07 am

Regarding this: "SS Huntsman, SS Clement and SS Tairoa -> no recon "spotted" message" I was not able to find an error. All three responded with the generic popup message when detected by the float plane:
Cargo Ships Spotted.jpg
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- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:52 am

Regarding this: "MV Ashlea gets destroyed the same turn it gets hit," as you now know, this is the proper sequence of events:

1) The "captain's order" when the first cargo ship is sighted (he's talking to the executive officer):
Capture552.jpg
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2) The "warning shot" (inflicting damage but not sinking the ship immediately):
Capture551.jpg
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3) The "capture" which pops up in the same turn:
Capture553.jpg
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4) And on the next turn, the "sinking" which happens automatically based on the merchant ship being damaged:
Capture554.jpg
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All of this is meant to be a tribute to Captain Hans Langsdorff's obeying his orders to "to strictly adhere to prize rules, which required raiders to stop and search ships for contraband before sinking them, and to ensure that their crews are safely evacuated." He did that for every one of the merchant ships which were sunk by the Graf Spee before her own scuttling in Montevideo; nine ships in total, I believe. Eight of them are represented here along with their registry, cargo, and the fate of their crew. Not one merchant seaman was killed by the Graf Spee which I thought rather commendable (it was also early in the war).

Anyway, you Dummkopf! (Just kidding. :wink: ) The Graf Spee packs a wallop! Yes, if you start a turn near a cargo ship and don't move, you will have maximum destruction value:
Capture549.jpg
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Normally, I noticed, this usually inflicts only 9 damage but you must have blown the poor Ashlea away with your "warning shot"!
Capture547.jpg
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Fortunately, you still get credit for the "kill" even though the fate of that crew was decidedly unfavorable.
Capture548.jpg
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You do make a great point, though, in that the difficulty setting may make a difference. I did the above on middle difficulty where AI units are strength 10. If one plays on lesser difficulty levels, will the Graf Spee merely disintegrate cargo ships on the first shot, even from a distance? I hope that is what this "Difficulty bonus compensation" setting is for, which I have on now for each cargo ship:
Screenshot 8.jpg
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- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:26 am

bru888 wrote:You do make a great point, though, in that the difficulty setting may make a difference. I did the above on middle difficulty where AI units are strength 10. If one plays on lesser difficulty levels, will the Graf Spee merely disintegrate cargo ships on the first shot, even from a distance? I hope that is what this "Difficulty bonus compensation" setting is for, which I have on now for each cargo ship:
Well, that does work! Without it, on Difficulty V, the cargo ships start with strength 13. I had to blast two warning shots at one of them to get them to "heave-to" (strength below 10). With the "Difficulty bonus compensation" on, the ship surrendered on the first shot, as intended (strength reduced from 13 to 11). That's what I want.

Now, the only downside is, it does not really compensate well in the other direction. On Difficulty 1, cargo ships start with strength 6 and the Graf Spee is fully capable of sinking a cargo ship from a distance on the first shot in that situation. My thinking is, leave it be. It does not affect gameplay in that the player still gets credit for sinking the cargo ship and actually does see the surrender and sinking popups on the same turn, I believe.

On all higher difficulty settings, one must look at the damage estimator and obey the captain's orders not to sink the ship right away!

Wow, did I rumble and ramble tonight or what? 'Nuff said and done for now. Version 1.1 coming up.

Thanks again, Gabe. I will address more of your comments and suggestions tomorrow or in coming days.
- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:38 am

Battle of the River Plate new version 1.1 uploaded:

- Fixed trigger error whereby not exiting with the Graf Spee at turn limit still gave a Minor Victory.
- Corrected copy and paste error for Montevideo Arrival popup message (repeated sentences).
- Adjusted tolerance for cargo ship damage, leading to surrender, by using "Difficulty bonus compensation."
- Improved scenario outcome messages.
- Bru

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by GabeKnight » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:42 am

bru888 wrote:4) And on the next turn, the "sinking" which happens automatically based on the merchant ship being damaged:
Don't you blame the destruction of the poor "Ashlea" on me! :) It was just a warning shot:
Trigger1.jpg
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bru888 wrote:Anyway, you Dummkopf!
:wink:

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Re: Bru's Scenarios

Post by bru888 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:52 am

Whoa! You are good. Stick around, will you? Yes, that could have been it in itself. So who's the Dummkopf here, eh? :oops:

Anyway, that's version 1.2! :)
- Bru

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