From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
Coder Diary #22 -- Dynamic Sides (Whose Side Are You on Anyway?)
The concept of Sides -- Axis or Allied? Side A or Side B? -- is intrinsic to the Campaign Series. In JTCS, a nation is either Axis or Allied. In the newer Modern Wars series, either Side A or Side B. Never both.
Unless you go to the trouble of creating, for example, Finland & "AlliedFinland", each with its own set of OOB & ORG files, quite possibly identical in every respect other than the sidedness.
In the forthcoming Middle East game, the conflicts depicted are usually Israel on the one side (Side A) vs. one or more Arab foes on the other side (Side B). So in Middle East, the Side B nations include:
and still others, some of them lumped together in the catch-all "nation" "Muslims" or "Islamics".
In Middle East, most of the scenarios are Israel vs. the "Arabs". But sometimes Arab fought Arab, for example:
Egypt vs. Yemen, 1963
Jordan vs. the PLO, "Black September", 1970-71
Libyan-Egyptian War of 1977
So, until recently, we have had in Middle East the Side A counterparts
to make such Arab vs. Arab fights possible.
It gets to be confusing. Is XEgyptNation Side A or Side B? Same question for XEgyptianNation? Hard to keep straight the sidedness of XEgyptNation vs. XEgyptianNation.
It adds to the work. Having to maintain essentially identical OOB & ORG files for both XEgyptNation & XEgyptianNation, same goes for the others.
Confusing, and more work. Until recently. In Middle East, we will be introducing a new feature: Dynamic Sides. See the screenshot:
In Middle East, in the scenario editor, you have the menu option: Scenario > Sides... In the Sides Dialog, you have the capability to assign nations to one side or the other. Any such reassignments will apply to that one scenario only. If you don't invoke the Sides Dialog, if you don't change any nation sides, the game will go with the standard defaults, in the case of the Muslims all of them by default assigned to Side B.
Look again at the screenshot. You see "33 Egypt" (33 being Side A Egypt's nation ID#) and "23 Egypt". With Dynamic Sides implemented, we are now in the process of redoing the nations list (and the nation ID#s), eliminating the redundancies. So in future, XEgyptNation only, no more XEgyptianNation. Same goes for Jordan & Iraq: currently having both Side A & Side B incarnations, but in future just one of each (Side B).
After the nations list is redone, and with just one Libyan nation, in order to make possible scenarios for the Libyan-Egyptian War, we would reassign XLibyaNation to Side A, for example. Or maybe XEgypt. Doesn't really matter, just so that XEgyptNation & XLibyaNation are on different sides.
But what's that? East Germany assigned to Side A -- i.e., the West Bloc side (because the Middle East game shares in common the nation list with the Vietnam game and other future games in the Modern Wars series)? And in the box to the right, the United States on the same side (Side B) with Communist Vietnam?
Those two nations boxed in red have been reassigned from their usual defaults, i.e.,
East Germany, Side B (standard default) >> Side A
United States, Side A (standard default) >> Side B
In the days leading up to the 1973 Yom Kippur War, King Hussein of Jordan secretly cooperated with Israel. See, for example
On the night of September 25, Hussein secretly flew to Tel Aviv to warn Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir of an impending Syrian attack. "Are they going to war without the Egyptians, asked Mrs. Meir. The king said he didn't think so. 'I think they [Egypt] would cooperate.'" This warning was ignored...
Here's an interesting what-if: What if beyond mere hints, what if Jordan had fought alongside Israel in the Yom Kippur War?! See the screenshot:
Jordan fighting alongside Israel vs. the Iraqis!
Who knows? Could have happened! Remember also that Jordan had fought the PLO in the "Black September" conflict two to three years earlier.
With Dynamic Sides, the doors are wide open for you (and us) to explore some interesting historical what-ifs.
And foolish fantasies also.
Will we be implementing Dynamic Sides in EF, WF & RS eventually? Yes.
Will that enable us to merge (Axis)XFinlandNation with XAlliedFinlandNation into one? Or (Axis)XBulgarNation with XAlliedBulgariaNation into one. Yes, and yes.
Will you have the opportunity to do crazy things like create scenarios, in Rising Sun say, pitting Russia & Japan in alliance vs. China? (Crazy? Maybe. But remember how the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact enabled Russia & Germany to set aside their differences and carve up Poland between them in 1939.)
Hey, who's up for a game of Axis US vs. Allied Italy/Hungary?
Now understand: We on the Dev Team will not be creating such scenarios, committed to historical plausibility and "realism" as we are.
But if you want to create crazy fantasy scenarios in the privacy of your Man Cave, er, Modder Studio, what's to stop you? Nothing!
In the second screenshot above, the sharp eyed among you might have noticed several new screen elements, spied things suggesting several new game features. For now: No comment.
Until the next time...