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Tutorial: Making new units from scratch

 
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Tutorial: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 10:35:50 PM   
tweber

 

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One of my favorite aspects of the game is to create scenarios. One of the biggest challenges in making scenarios, especially if you are making scenarios outside the WWII era, is in designing the units. The following is a walk through on how to make a unit set from scratch.

Before you begin, you should plan the units. You need to understand how they move, fight, any particular special attributes they might have, and how much they cost. I am going to model units from Starship Troopers, partly to avoid any complaints about realism ; )

I counted 15 steps required to make a unit set. It is involved, but you have a high level of flexibility. Note that making a new unit set is much easier if you modify an existing one.

Step 1 - Make a clean slate.

a. Set up a random game
b. Go into the editor
c. Go into the map and erase all units and set all territory to neutral
d. Go into sftypes and erase units (unless you want to simply modify them)
e. Go into research and erase the research tree
f. Go into itemtypes and erase items (except supply and political points which we will still use)








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< Message edited by Vic -- 11/10/2007 1:23:00 PM >
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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 10:42:22 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 2.  Making labels.

We need to make labels for the different groups and types that we will use.  To set the labels, go into editor - settings - group names.  There are lots of different types of groups that have names: 

1. Pick movegroups names (theses are used to set how units move).  I pick bugs, people, and Tac Air.
2. Ignore Landscape group as we are not changing land
3. Set names for people groups.  You can have all have the same type of people.  Most of the WWII scenarios use the label universals.  It is often nice to split to do things with production and combat modifiers.  I choose 2 people names - bugs and people.
4. Set up item group names.  Items are things that can be produced.
5. Set sftypegroups names.  These are categories that will be used for combat modifiers.








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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 10:55:27 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 3 - Build a research tree.

I decided to let the bugs research beetles. In the movie, these were giant plasma shooting bugs. The people can research Tac Air. They are combination drop ships and dive bombers.

For each:

- Set the cost for the people group. I set research to 10. Note that setting the cost to -1 prevents a people from researching the technology. So, people cannot research beetles.
- Put in a description
- Link the research picture to the sftype picture (you will have to come back in do this since we have no defined the sftype yet)
- Set pre-reqs. This lets you build a tree (e.g., you need rigle 2 to build rifle 3)
- Set blocks. This prevents you from buying a lower level research (e.g., you cannot build rifle 2 once you research rifle 3)
- Set tech level. When defining a regime or setting up a random game, you can set a tech level (you can only choose level 1 in a random game).








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< Message edited by tweber -- 11/10/2007 7:03:40 AM >

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:11:21 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 4. Setting the cost

Go to the item type screen. Here is where you set the cost of the different units. A unit cannot be produced if it does not have a cost:

- Set which people are allowed to build. I let people build mobile infantry and tac air. Bugs build the other units. Note that we will later go into the loctype screen and set which location is allowed to build.
- Set the item group number. This is a category of builds. In WWII; rifle, smg, staff, engineers, etc... are all infantry.
- Set the cost. Bugs will fight poorly but bet 10x less costly than mobile infantry.
- Set research if applicable
- set Issftype. This deposits the right sftype in an HQ for each unit produced.







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< Message edited by tweber -- 11/9/2007 11:12:18 PM >

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:14:11 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 5 - Make the sftype shells

This is a simple step. Go into the sftypes menu and add units (either blanks or copies). Making a copy is a good way to make a unit upgrade (e.g., make rifle 1, make a copy for rifle 2 and then make the appropriate minor adjustments)





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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:18:36 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 6 - Add graphics.

Find the pictures you would like to use. There are 2 pictures - the image and the symbol. The symbol is used on the counter and the combat screen. The image is used in the unit container, for the unit description, and for research.

Here is Mobile Infantry.

Note that the symbol weight is used to determine what the dominant symbol is for the counter. In WWII, tanks have a weight of 20, infantry have a weight of 1. The counter will be armored if, for example, you have 10 infantry and 1 tank.






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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:25:19 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 7 - Statistics 1 property sheet.

Now we are geting into serious unit design.

See below:

- Set move type. Mobile Infantry moves like infantry. We will define what this means in the land screen.
- It carrys 10 supply and only consumes 1. So, MI can get cut off for a bit. In WWII, ships can carry 20x their supply consumption. Note that I will make bugs consume 0 supply so they cannot get off.
- Theater determines if the unit is land, air, or sea
- Weight and carry determine how many units can be carry at sea, by truck, or by air. MI weights 1, tac air carries 10 so 10 MI can be shipped.
- Power points is used to set the experience an enemy gets for a kill, also is the starting point for the number you see on the counter. You want power points is general to be align to the relative strength of the unit. I initially set MI power points at 1 but then upped it to 4.
- I will let MI parachute. I also went back and gave them engineering points. MI is a combination of infantry, para, and engineer.
- I also set the kills to retr to 50%




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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:29:33 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 8 - Statistic II property sheet

Here we continue:

- MI will have looks of hit points and go initiative.
- They will be able to do multiple attacks per round (which is good given the number of bugs they will face)
- They also have RPGs similated as both artillery and AA capability






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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:32:30 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 9 - Combat stats

Here we set how the unit fights againts other sftype groups (remember our labels above).

- Set favorites. This determines how likely the MI will attack a type if it has a choice.
- Set offensive and defense combat power and artillery power.

If you look at the bug combat sheet (not shown but in the scenario file), the MI has significantly more hit points and firepower against bugs than vice versa.






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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:35:16 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 10 - Set landscape combat modifiers

Here we adjust how the unit fights in different landscapes. You set an attack and a defense modifier. For simplicity, I keep all attack mods 1 and adjust the defense modifier to the terrain.




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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:40:05 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 11 - Modify movement

We are now done with the sftype tab. A few more steps and we are ready to play.

Next go to the land tab and into the movement sheet. Here we set how the movement type moves. In this simple unit set, we have 1 infantry movement type and 1 infantry sftype. In WWII, we have 1 foot movement type and it is used by rifle, smg, mg, mortar, staff, etc.. (plus upgrades).

The number is the cost (in ap) to enter the hex. Units at full readiness get 100 ap. I want mobile infantry to be mobile so I give them a movement of 10 in the plains so they can go 10 hexes. Tac air has a range of 50 since it's movement cost is 2.





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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:41:29 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 12  - Entrenchment

Also in the land tab is the cost to entrechment.  The first number is how many entrenchment points increase each turn the unit does not move.  The second is the maximum entrenchment.






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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:45:55 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 13 - Modify rules

We now are down with the land tab and go into settings - rulevars.  There are many sheets here.  One of the things we must do is set the movement type for transfers and supply (since it was previously erased).  I want supply to flow easily so I give it the movement of tac air.

Note that the action cards are disabled in the generic master.  Go to the 'disable features' sheet and enable action cards if you decide to use.






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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:49:32 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 14 - Make location type adjustments.


In the items sheet, we set which people group can make a unit. Now, we have to adjust which location can make a unit. To do this, go to the I set up towns to make people units. I add a new type called a 'bug hive' to make bug units. The bug hive will use the blue town hex.




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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:51:18 PM   
tweber

 

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Step 15, Make the scenario and play

The unit set is complete. I make a scenario by setting up some production and an order of battle on a map. It is important to test the units and then make fine tune adjustments.




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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/9/2007 11:59:16 PM   
tweber

 

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I am attaching the scenario. It has not been tested for balance. The bugs have very weak units but enormous production capability and do not need supply (they can not be cut off).

The Mobile Infantry have awesome fire power and mobility but limited numbers.

If there is any interest in extending this, it would be interesting to:

- adjust graphics
- add / adjust units
- build scenarios / stories


If you want to make a unit set to cover a different period (e.g., ancients, 18th century), I would make the unit set and then test with a simple map with varried terrain (make it a proving grounds). This is a good way to work out the kinks before making any more elaborate scenario.

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/10/2007 11:27:38 AM   
seille

 

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Yes, pls Tom adjust the graphics.
For example there is no graphic for Mobile Infantry in the production slot (empty).
The bug unit show on their counters ww2 graphics (halftrack, mortars and so on).
The cities should not show european cities in the location info screen.

A nice idea and a very informative tutorial.  I like that movie

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/10/2007 11:37:57 AM   
seille

 

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Beatles are shown in the research tab for the federation with -1PP costs.

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/10/2007 12:37:18 PM   
Vic


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great job tom! i am just founding out how time consuming making these tutorials are.

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/10/2007 4:36:38 PM   
tweber

 

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quote:

For example there is no graphic for Mobile Infantry in the production slot (empty).


@ Vic, It looks like the MI graphic comes up in the editor when you set production but not in the game. The bug graphics seem to be fine. Am I doing something wrong?

quote:

The bug unit show on their counters ww2 graphics (halftrack, mortars and so on).
The cities should not show european cities in the location info screen.

A nice idea and a very informative tutorial. I like that movie


@ Seille, I also liked the move. I put this together more to show how this could be done as opposed to making another scenario. I want to work on some other things before getting to this. Hopefully, there are others out there who might be interested in picking this up.

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/10/2007 5:36:25 PM   
seille

 

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Yes Tom, it is a wonderful tutorial and if i would be a potential scenario designer i would eat it up
But i´m more the player and i like the idea very much. I hope others also like that idea, so you can spend some more time on and make a complete masterset with all needed graphics and balanced units. I would LOVE it !

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/10/2007 5:41:27 PM   
tweber

 

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quote:

Beatles are shown in the research tab for the federation with -1PP costs


Setting research to -1 means that the upgrade cannot be researched.

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/10/2007 5:55:57 PM   
seille

 

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Yes, that´s right Tom, but why it is showed in the federation research screen as "not available now"
with costs of -1PP? That simply looks strange. It should not appear at this place for the federation.
Maybe a thing to look at for you, Vic.

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RE: Making new units from scratch - 11/10/2007 7:55:17 PM   
Vic


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quote:

ORIGINAL: tweber
@ Vic, It looks like the MI graphic comes up in the editor when you set production but not in the game. The bug graphics seem to be fine. Am I doing something wrong?



hi tom,

it is because the Extra Graphic of the federation is set to 2. but you only defined default graphics for sftypes so you should set the Federation Extra Graphic variable to -1.

kind regards,
Vic

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RE: Tutorial: Making new units from scratch - 12/29/2007 9:48:12 PM   
TPM

 

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tweber -

I know I'm just missing something, but I'm doing a variant of your Russia scenario (it seems everyone is!) and I'm trying to alter the SFTypes. When I click on the SFTypes button in the editor, I'm shown all the units, but I can't edit any of the statistics...is it because the master file is locked? Or do I need to create a new master file? Thanks.

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RE: Tutorial: Making new units from scratch - 12/29/2007 10:42:03 PM   
T_K

 

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You have to go to settings and click on the masterfile button and then click OK without selecting any file. That will detach the default masterfile and allow you to edit everything.

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RE: Tutorial: Making new units from scratch - 1/24/2008 10:21:24 PM   
Delyn Locksmiths


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In the tutorial it says - step 1 - delete all sft types. But it doesn't say how to do it. I cant find a button anywhere, and delete on my keyboard doesn't seem to work. Anyone know how to do it? I've got the screenshot from the tutorial, but can't seem to find out how to delete the stuff.

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RE: Tutorial: Making new units from scratch - 1/25/2008 12:27:30 AM   
hadberz


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You have to do what T_K said. Once that is done the buttons will be there.

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RE: Tutorial: Making new units from scratch - 1/26/2008 1:54:05 AM   
Delyn Locksmiths


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Will I be able to save the unit types after doing them? And use them for other scenarios. I.e. save them as a masterfile? Or do I have to create them some other way for this?

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RE: Tutorial: Making new units from scratch - 1/26/2008 4:52:07 AM   
T_K

 

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Of course. IMO it's best to start with a clean copy of the original masterfile and add your new units there. Then expand that to a full scenario, traitor.

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