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Thread: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

  1. #1
    EBII Bricklayer Member V.T. Marvin's Avatar
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    Default Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    Hello friends,

    I am starting this thread with the intent to scratch a particular itch I am having all those years I am playing EB, that is the, in my opinion, over-abundance of trees on many battlefields and over-exaggerated slopes.

    I mean, what are EB battles supposed to represent? Mostly major battles with big armies of large empires clashing over control of vast swathes of land; not day-to-day skirmishes and low-level violence. What are the battle maps supposed to represent? Not the whole territory of an in-game tile, which would be some 50 times 50 kilometers big, but rather a particular spot within this larger area that the commanders have chosen to do battle on. Now, in real life, most of big military encounters were not done in the middle of a dense forest nor on a rugged mountainside with 60° steep slopes and deep gorges. Rather in order to exert at least some control over the army, the commanders tried hard to chose some level or slightly rolling terrain that could be conveniently over-viewed to maintain awareness of position and situation of both own and the enemy forces. Thence the word "battlefield".

    So my concern and question is - how will the majority of prospective battlefields look like in EBII? Will those be "field-like" or "rugged wildernes-like" as we know them from current EB?

    Sure, I am not arguing for all-out level grassy plain, that would be boring as hell. I would rather like to see mostly some rolling or slightly sloping clear terrain with additional features allowing for some tactical creativity, e.g. if the battle is done if "woody" game tile, the forest would mostly along the margins with big clearance in the middle and perhaps some small groves scattered here and there, a foothill might dominate the center to provide a focal spot the armies are trying to take, and so on, you have got the idea...

    The Getai vs. Boii preview video, that is apparently happening in a Central Europe area appear to have precisely such terrain I am having in mind.

    Now, will that be the general rule (of course, some exceptions are necessary where appropriate) or rather an exception that was chosen just to show-off the new beautiful units that are otherwise simply impossible to notice in regular battlewoods and battlegorges?

  2. #2
    Member Member Ailfertes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    Now, in real life, most of big military encounters were not done in the middle of a dense forest nor on a rugged mountainside with 60° steep slopes and deep gorges. Rather in order to exert at least some control over the army, the commanders tried hard to chose some level or slightly rolling terrain that could be conveniently over-viewed to maintain awareness of position and situation of both own and the enemy forces. Thence the word "battlefield".
    Well, this is actually not very true. To take one example, the battle of Philippi was fought on a huge slope, with marshes to the south.

    Example from the battle of Mutina: "Antony had disdained to occupy the defile as it served no other purpose than to hinder the enemy; but, eager to fight, and having no chance to win distinction with his cavalry, because the ground was marshy and cut by ditches, he placed his two best legions in ambush in the marsh, where they were concealed by the reeds and where the road, which had been thrown up artificially, was narrow." (App., BC, 3.66)
    "The other troops divided themselves into two parts and advanced into the marsh on either side, the one commanded by Pansa and the other by Carsuleius. Thus there were two battles in two marshes, and neither division could see the other by reason of the elevated road, while along the road itself the praetorian cohorts fought another battle of their own." (App., BC, 3.67)

    To have a reasonably flat terrain was something rare, and with the battle of Orchomenus Plutarch specifically notes the flatness of the terrain: "Nevertheless, Archelaüs was much encouraged by the nature of the country about Orchomenus, where they were encamped, since it was most favourable as a battle-field for an army superior in cavalry. For of all the plains of Boeotia this is the largest and fairest, and beginning from the city of Orchomenus, it spreads out smooth and treeless as far as the marshes in which the river Melas loses itself." (Plut., Sull., 20.3-4)
    But in Medieval II the terrain was much better than in Rome, so we can suspect the battle maps in EBII will be of better quality as well.
    Last edited by Ailfertes; 11-28-2012 at 11:01.

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    amrtaka Member machinor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    As V.T. Marvin stated, it's not about having a flat grassy plain all the time. But the battlemap in EB oftentimes had steep terrain as if fighting in the High Alps. And no commander up until World War 1 would fight in that terrain. Especially Greece and Anatolia are a pain in that regard.

    I'm rather optimistic in that regard though as MedievalII-battlemaps usually are bigger and less slopey than RTW, at least that has been my experience most of the times.
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    mostly harmless Member B-Wing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    I tend to agree with the OP's sentiments. I have no idea to what degree battlemap generation is customizable, but I think it would be nice if battles prompted by ambush on the campaign map tended to feature less idealist settings like woods and mountains, while most regular battles took place on more suitable terrain.

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    Member Member Red_Devil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    impossible : the battlemap is linked to a campaign map tile. this is why if you always fight at the same place on the campaign map, you will have the same battlemap appearance. The only thing that can change that is a custom tile (limited by the engine).

    To make sure all campaign tiles are tactically "viable" it takes hours of testing on different sensitive spots (such as the alpine passes).

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    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    True, and I am afraid it would take too much time (if it's even possible) to create unique battlemaps for every campaign tile. However, in my limited experience with M2:TW the battlemaps are much better than in R:TW. R:TW's battlemaps are practically always dominated by a single feature (forest, slope, river) and that makes them bland. M2:TW maps offer more variety.
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    Member Member Cambyses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    Well, a very large number of battles were fought around rivers as well or on "prepared" ground. You wont find this in EB either - and a good thing too quite frankly. Nevermind the whole deal over fighting for superior supply lines intercepting enemy forces attacking your cities or engaging in a scorched earth policy...

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    Member Member I_damian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    Battle maps in RTW are so unrealistic and annoying that I've taken to never attacking the enemy, always marching in to their land and waiting for them to attack me. That way I just need to sit and wait. I mean, it's not like cheating... I'm going to win the battle with less than 10% casualties anyway, I always do, no matter whether I attack or defend, so the outcome is the same... I just don't need to work as hard.
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    TBH this was never a big issue for me. I actually think that most of EB's battle maps were quite well-done, but the funny thing about RTW maps in general was that it always appeared that interesting things were outside the borders of the map you were fighting on........

    Anyway, at least in my experience battles in high mountains were very very rare. Forests were a bit more common, esp. in Iberia, France and Germany, but that's ok. I'm also quite sure that maps generated on the MTW2 engine will be much better.

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    Member Member I_damian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    I don't think they were realistic. I mean, I had a battle today where I was attacked while sieging a town so had to face two enemies. In deployment phase I started just below a slight hill. It would have been perfect to deploy on but the deployment line was stopping me. What sort of commander would start a battle just below a perfectly good vantage point? Oh yes, we'll just let these Numidians WHO ARE FAMOUS FOR ARROWS/SLINGS/JAVELINS take that hill.
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    EBII Bricklayer Member V.T. Marvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    O.K., when I started this thread, I did not know yet how the engine works in producing a particular battlefield map. This thread: http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showth...tga-understood helped me a lot to correct my previous silly assumptions.

    Still, I hope that in EBII it will be easier to maintain clear operational picture than it is in RTW/EB.

  12. #12
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    From my recollection of M2:TW, it will be more difficult, but in a good way. The "field" and hilly maps have more features (ridges, small copses of trees) that block sight. The real offenders in R:TW are the "giant forest" and "giant slope" maps. I don't know if M2:TW still has the "giant forest" maps, but the "giant slopes" that I saw were more varied and interesting than before.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    Battle terrain is often very hilly in EB.

    If the enemy is on very high ground, I won't attack him unless I have considerable superiority - otherwise, I choose not to fight at all and hit the withdrawal icon. I can always fight somewhere else another turn. There is no shame in avoiding battle if the terrain is against you - historical generals did that all the time. If necessary, I can lure an enemy army away from the high ground by putting a much weaker force near him, so he advances and attacks.

    If my army is on very high ground and I have the advantage, I deploy on the lowest ground available as near to the enemy as possible, so he doesn't have to tire his army out reaching me. I believe in giving the AI a fighting chance.

    IMO, the human player should only occupy really high ground if he is the defender and is outnumbered by at least 4 to 1 (even a multiplayer human enemy would attack in that situation, numbers compensate for the terrain disadvantage), or if the player's army is far more mobile than the AI's (e.g. an all-cavalry army against AI infantry, horsemen can generally reach high ground before infantry, because they can move faster.)
    Last edited by Titus Marcellus Scato; 12-12-2012 at 23:11.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    Taking the high ground is one of the most common RL tactics, so I don't see how it can feel gamey for somebody. If the AI is crap, then it's a completely different problem, but the AI gets other bonuses on the strat map to compensate for its stupidity and RL commanders were often hardly better. The real problem is when terrain on the strat map isn't anything like the terrain on the tactical map, as picking your battles become impossible.

  15. #15
    Apprentice Geologist Member Blxz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    It is the battles that are totally forest that annoy me. Realism (or lack there-of) aside, it isn't fun. I can't see anything from any height. The smallest trees are about 5 times the height of my men and the tallest must be over 50metres high. It is insane, impossible to direct the battle and no commander would choose to fight in such terrain.

    It is so bad that when i play barbarian factions I do my best to fight away from their ideal forest area's because of the interface stupidity. I would be much happier dealing with trees that were no more than 2 or 3 times my soldiers height and far, far more sparse. If you want to make it realistic then surely you can use some modifiers to give a very large negative fighting bonus to simulate denser woods while allowing the Sweboz, etc to actually play to their strengths and fight effectively in forest maps.
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    Member Member Leon the Batavian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    Quote Originally Posted by Blxz View Post
    It is insane, impossible to direct the battle and no commander would choose to fight in such terrain.
    A true commander can work with any terrain. Its maybe even preferable to have forest around so u can set up ambushes or screen your flanks.

    Maybe phalanxes don't like forests but a roman manipular legion could cope with it maybe not as good as babarian factions but still. And I love the views you get through the forest.

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    Default Re: Let us discuss the battlefield maps

    You didn't get it. He doesn't like forest maps because he cannot see anything properly on them because of the size of trees and the game's camera. The AI has no issue with that, but for the player it's simply annoying.

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