Good to see it's still alive!

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by Alexander Seil, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. ewilkie

    ewilkie Member

    Oct 31, 2014
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    The forward observer may be up front where he can see the lay of the land but if he can't correlate the slopes, saddles, draws, peaks, etc depicted by the contours on his map to the view before him he is lost. I would really like to see better contours on 2D maps; a transparent overlay with more contour detail would be a great improvement. 3D draped maps with contours might help one learn to read 2D maps. While the generals might have had the luxury of jumping in a helicopter to get a bird's eye view of the front, the average Joe, given a mission, had to find his way around with a map!
  2. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

    May 20, 2015
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    That is correct. Talkin' bout Joe ;) , the historical events at Joe's Bridge would be an example for a commander checking out the layout of defensive positions, terrain and viable positions for covering fire, before ordering an attack, IIRC.

    EDIT: Prior to the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, the planners did not have maps with sufficient levels of info at their disposal, so that they were not aware that the infamous Kall trail could not support large scale supply missions, and that its narrow sections appeared to be a bottleneck for tank reinforcements. Also, quite some field commanders were issued maps that looked like hand-drawn maps without contour lines, forcing Coy or Bn Commanders to send out scouts and gather more info about the layout of the terrain. This was also true for quite some sectors in the Ardennes, plus many situational maps of Allied Divisions and Korps were pretty dated: The map material was a wild mix of maps derived from civil road maps issued by automobile clubs in Germany (eg. ADAC) in 1936 or 1938 or even earlier, military maps from WW I, hand-drawn maps, maps based on actual aerial (recon) pictures, and captured maps.

    In the Wehrmacht, German Senior officers inspected the front quite often, which resulted in the Germans having to cope with the highest casualty rate (in the officers Corps) of all warring parties in WWII. Particularly, officers in the ranks of Hauptmann (Captain, usually Coy commander) and Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant), usually deputy Coy commander or - like the Leutnant - platoon leader, were affected the most, which led to numerous situations where less experienced First Lieutenants or even Lieutenants had to lead a Coy as acting officers. In theory, this was not a problem, as officers were trained to fullfil the duties of the nearest rank above, in war academies or training courses, so that a First Lt. and even a Lt. could fill the role of a Captain, and a Captain the role of a Major, for example.

    Anyway, back to the 3D thing:
    If you "just" provide a 3D-view in an additional window, ppl will ask/wish for more, means they will want a fully rotatable 3D-map, and counters/flags on the map, and not just a 3D-popup showing the layout of the terrain. But if you go that far, you will have to offer a free-cam, means a cam that can fly/rotate on the map freely, too. At that point, the AI and mechanics will have to be ported to a full 3D-engine. If you go that route, you'll definetly attract a lot of new customers, but it will involve either the creation of a custom 3D-engine (which could be sold or licensed to other developers, without AI-code, for some additional revenue, of course), or the purchase of an existing engine. It would be easier to port existing AI/game mechanics to the former, as the latter may create some serious trouble when it comes to implementing this game's gem, the AI (+ current bells and whistles), in an existing engine.

    Visually, in a 3D version, flags would be a must, as unit counters would be barely readable (if at all, depending on cam angle), so a unit's flag would have to hold the counter information as well. Another solution would be to draw a 3D counter (pretty much like in Civilization erm.. IV i think?), and have the unit display its flag/counter only when the user activates/hightlights the unit. Mounted Inf units would be drawn as soldiers with a 3t truck, for example, German Mech units would boast halftracks, Recon elements would be represented by wheeled scout cars or Pumas, for example, heavy tank units would show Pershings or Tigers (yummy). Ok, dream-mode off.

    But, with the current version it would be sufficient to have some contour lines, at least. As a first measure, the outer line of a terrain layer could be highlighted, for example, pretty much like an outline in a vector paint/creation program (say 1 or 2 pixels, black or grey colour), which would add a better level of terrain info, already.

    A better solution would be something what i would call "native contour calculation", performed by the map maker. The map maker would calculate contour lines according to the structur/array of terrain layers and would then save it either as a vector overlay, or as a bitmap with transparency information inside the map file or in a seperate Contour.XYZ file. The game engine would then load the map and simply display the contour information as overlay, accordingly.
    It would then be pretty simple to offer an option to turn contour lines on/off, too.

    Additionally, shadow could be added by simulating 2 imaginary light sources (say from the West and the North of a map) and by implementing a function that would create shadow layers from (behind) the highest point of a mountain/ridge to the center tip of the next highest elevation, following the direction of the imaginary beam of lights, of course. In order to keep load off the CPU, this task could be performed by the MapMaker as well.

    Question: Is Battle Command real-time?
    #22 GoodGuy, Jun 20, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  3. gabeeg

    gabeeg Member

    Oct 21, 2014
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    I would have to be convinced that a 3d map would be better, not saying it is impossible but I have not seen a 3d map I liked more than a good 2d one. I would love to see an implementation to change my opinion, but I am skeptical.
  4. Rob

    Rob Member

    Oct 22, 2014
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  5. Kurt

    Kurt Member

    Jan 4, 2015
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    Most of that technical IT stuff goes over my head but overall I am in agreement with you on future possibilities, sehr gut

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