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Thread: Is a scenario editor possible?

  1. #1

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    It looks to me that a historical battle/historical campaign editor may be possible. A historical battle/historical campaign editor is not the same thing as a campaign editor, such as the promising one that has just been created. Historical battles are the packaged battles found in both STW and WE/MI. Historical campaigns are the new linked battle campaign type created in WE/MI. I believe that both historical battles and historical campaigns are currently limited to single player play. What is far less certain is if such an editor could ever be used for multiplayer battles.

    There are three text files that are associated with scenarios: a .bdf (battle description) file, and two .adf files (army description) files. The .adf files include provisions for setting up odd sized units and for specifying initial deployment locations. For historical campaigns there are some .hcf (historical campaign) files; text files that apparently describe the scenarios included in the historical campaign.

    This leads to some questions.

    1) Is it possible to modify a scenario file to make it multi-player rather than just single player? The .bdf files have definitions for AI and active players but does changing an AI player to an active player in those files work or simply crash the program? Could a predefined historical battle be modified to be hosted on a LAN or through the EA servers?

    2) There are several folders containing different .adf and .bdf files. These folders have names starting with "MO_" and are not clearly associated with a scenario. They appear to be older files and are probably of little use, but what are these files for?

    3) I have not been able to find text files associated with Custom Battles, the standard format used for multi-player play. Do they exist or are they unfortunately binaries?

    I know that these files are not of as great interest as those for adjusting unit stats or creating new strategic campaigns. However consider this:

    If there was a way to create an edited file that could be hosted for multiplayer tactical play, then with a lot of effort it would be possible to create a new multiplayer strategy game that linked to the existing multiplayer tactical play in the Total War system.

    How? If scenario conditions for MP games can be saved and then loaded by all players then a separate program, a strategic game, could genarate the scenario data. How do the battle results get loaded back into the strategic game? Our good old friend, the logfile, could have its data read back into the strategic game. Such a strategic game would have no relationsship to the STW strategic game but at least it would provide an interactive strategic background for tactical play.

    I don't recommend going to such an effort unless one is a fanatic and it has become certain that EA/CA has completely dropped doing their own multiplayer STW campaign game. I also point out that at this time EA/CA themselves are not certain that they will finish a MP campaign.

    However, it may make sense to whisper into EA/CA's ears that if they do not end up doing the MP campaign that at least they leave some hooks for someone else to do it. The hooks that are needed would appear to be an inclusion in the next patch that would allow multiplayer play of created Historical Battles. This would be a long desired feature improvement anyway and it might be considerably easier for EA/CA to do than a full MP campaign game. Another route to the same goal would be to ask EA/CA to have Multiplayer Battle setups be saved and loaded from a text file.

    Having said this, I am certain that everyone of course would prefer that CA includes a full multiplayer campaign in the patch. I know that I do.

    -Tangent

  2. #2
    Nur-ad-Din Forum Administrator TosaInu's Avatar
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    Konnichiwa,

    There are 2-8 adf files. One for every army.
    Custom scenarios can be found in the demo-editor section (http://www.totalwar.org/maps). I can recommend Kasin's Sekigahara.

    Historical campaigns are new and haven't been made yet.

    As far as I know campaigns/scenarios are sp only.



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  3. #3
    Senior Member Senior Member Kraellin's Avatar
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    interesting ideas, tangent.

    one thing that 'might' facilitate some of the things you're talking about would be a direct ip mode. i 'think' it might be easier to do some of that if we could bypass the ea servers.

    a number of the things you're talking about though are a bit 'deep' for the current level of modding going on and i'm fairly certain would take re-working the main exe. things like the .bdf's and .adf's are really only data files which the program reads and currently only applies to single player. ostensibly, the main program has a main loop and many sub-loops for things like single player battles, campaigns, online stuff and so on. it would take a fair amount of re-programming to get the current program to read .bdf's and .adf's for multi games, but, it is conceivable that a hooked text file could be done for multi, much the same as it's been done for other aspects of the program so that it had its own .bdf's and .adf's that were in addition to such things as the troopstats file, but that would almost certainly have to be done by CA.

    the multiplayer campaign seems to be what hung CA up and yer right that it's likely to never be done by them. in a way, this is kind of strange because the campaign game could easily be done from a web page if you just auto-resolved all battles. the trick seems to be in combining the camp map with the tactical, real-time battles. the funny thing is, i think they tried to do it backwards and this is perhaps why they got hung up. i'm guessing they said, ok, we need an online game server for the tactical but where do we put the camp map then. had they said, ok, let's put the camp map on as a web site, done a direct ip link with stw running in the background, it would have been much easier to program, but i'm guessing they tried to put everyone on the server and then try to link it up with web pages or something else for the camp map. they also could have made use of irc or mirc type servers for both....or even telnet servers. ok, i'm stretching the limit of what i really know here, so i'll shut up.

    i do hope they do leave some more hooks for us to play with and it would really be great if they include a direct ip connection or at least a hook for it. it actually may already exist, but my knowledge of tcp/ip protocols and ports and links and sockets and all that is quite limited, so someone else with more knowledge in this area will have to check this out. one thing we do know...we can alter the port numbers and there are some more internet type files in the main dir that someone can check out.

    i'm really out of my element here, but thought i'd at least throw what little info or insights i might have into the fray. not sure it will help at all, but there it is.

    K.


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  4. #4
    Senior Member Senior Member Krasturak's Avatar
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    Gah!

    Krast offers this idea:

    When the online multiplayer game is set up, and players pick units, the program must be creating some kind of temporary file with the list of units in it.

    Now, if we can figure out how to modify it to include variable numbers of soldiers per unit (and possibly other changes) we can then go on to build an amateur campaign game.

    Krast doesn't know enough about programming to do this, but is fairly sire that it *can* be done with the correct information about the temporary file and a programmer who can make a utility to modify the contents of the file at the appropriate point in the game-loading cycle.

    With this tool, the players could generate armies and strategic situations in some kind of 'campaign' setup like the Clan War we've already seen operating ... and fight battles with armies carried over from one battle to the next.

    This would take a lot of effort.

    But there is a similar campaign game in progress using the 'Combat Mission' game. It is fairly successfully using that game in combination with sophisticated rules to provide players with a lasting campaign-style game.

    Krast, for one, would be interested in taking part in a campaign of this sort.

    But we would have to take the important step of coming up with a 'scenario editor' like the one Krast describes above.

    Any idle programmers handy?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Senior Member Kraellin's Avatar
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    krast,

    that's the 2nd time i've heard someone reference 'combat mission'. what's the addy for info on this game?

    K.


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  6. #6

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    Combat Mission: http://www.battlefront.com/products/.../cm/index.html
    The best WW2 tactical combat game out there and also a highly realistic historical simulation. The game has graphics that are 'open format' for some excellent mods. The designers have retained control over the gameplay engine however so any changes require players to back up any suggestions for changes with historical evidence. They are very responsive to input and have released about 5 or 6 'patches' that are 'accuracy enhancements' rather than bug fixes. Uses a simultaneous movement phase system similar to some miniature wargame rules.

    A game that proves historical accuracy can be fun and immersive...


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  7. #7
    Senior Member Senior Member Kraellin's Avatar
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    thanks roman,

    i got the demo. god, i love broadband downloads...30 megs in 3 1/2 minutes :) and that was somewhat slow :)

    K.


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  8. #8
    Summa Rudis Senior Member Catiline's Avatar
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    Don't remind me of what I loved and lost Kraellin-san :0

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Senior Member Krasturak's Avatar
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    The 'combat mission' Campaign thing is called the 'Combat Mission Meta-Campaign', or CMMC for short!

    It's at http://www.combatmission.com/CMMC/cmmcfront.htm

    Take look. It's very detailed.

    Even if you don't play 'combat mission', you might like to see how they have structured their campaign.

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