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ModAAR: American Front, a CSA v USA WIP mod

 
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ModAAR: American Front, a CSA v USA WIP mod - 3/8/2020 1:59:24 PM   
FOARP

 

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Hi All,

I thought I'd write a sort-of AAR on modding this game. I hope this will be helpful for anyone else thinking of starting their own Strategic Command mod.



The Concept

For a long time I've wanted to create a mod based on the Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191/Southern Victory books, where the CSA won the US civil war and became a great power on the North American continent. The first series of three books in the this timeline deals with a WW1-like conflict featuring an Entente-aligned CSA and Canada battling against a Central Powers-aligned USA, and that's what I'm going to focus on in this mod.

One of the problems with Timeline-191 for me is that it depicts the CSA as powerful enough to be able to challenge the USA in industrialised warfare. In our timeline, the states that made up the CSA have, since the Civil war, always been less economically powerful than their richer northern neighbours so this seems a bit unlikely at first. However, it can be explained by technological superiority and foreign aid, and indeed this is how the books explain it. As such, in this mod, the CSA will have significant foreign trade and start with more advanced technology. Mexico will also provide assistance.

Another thing that has to be dealt with is Canada, historical sparsely populated and having an extremely long border with the USA, being able to survive years of 20th century-style warfare with their Yankee neighbours. In this mod they will receive substantial British reinforcements and help, and the St. Lawrence will be uncrossable for most of its length giving them a strong rampart against the USA.

However *Spoiler Alert* in the books the USA does eventually win the war so the US will have a significant numerical advantage and, as the war goes on, be able to mobilise massive resources from its vast interior towards crushing the CSA and Canada.

Next up: creating the map




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Creating the map part 1 - 3/8/2020 2:19:53 PM   
FOARP

 

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Creating the map: part 1

The Southern Victory stories mostly play out on the North American continent. None of the other Strategic command mods I've seen actually have a sufficiently large and detailed map of North America for my purposes so for this mod I was going to have to create my own.

Luckily the "extras" folder in the game directory (Strategic Command World War I\Extras) contains a map-scanning app which can generate a land-and-sea map by scanning an ordinary image file and recognising the colour blue (0000ff in binary) as sea and includes a pre-prepared map of the continental US, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada as far north as Hudson Bay (look in Strategic Command World War I\Extras\Map Scanner\SC3 Map Scanner_Data\Resources).

Unfortunately, the map scanner creates mis-aligned coast-lines (see image for an example of what Vancouver Island and its surroundings looked like), so although it save a lot of time in getting the basic proportions and land-masses correct, the coastlines had to be corrected by hand in the campaign editor. This requires going through every hex having a misaligned coastline, going through the 600+ potential coastlines, selecting the correct one, and then moving on to the next bad hex. As you can probably understand, this took a long time to get right, especially in regions with lots of islands!






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< Message edited by FOARP -- 3/8/2020 2:24:08 PM >

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RE: Creating the map part 1 - 3/8/2020 11:36:02 PM   
BiteNibbleChomp


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LOVE the idea of a TL-191 mod!

Looking forward to see where this goes :)

- BNC

_____________________________

"Moves and counter-moves, that's all we've got to look at." - Plutarch Heavensbee
SC2 American Civil War 1861-1865: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4504986
SC2 Napoleonic Wars 1798-1815: https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4732971

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RE: Creating the map part 1 - 3/9/2020 4:30:18 AM   
eightroomofelixir

 

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Long time fan of TL-191 series here, very looking forward to this mod.



I am also curious about several aspects:


1. In the original book, the trench warfare mainly happened in the Kentucky Front (stable) and Virginia-Maryland-Pennsylvania Front (lots of back and forth), and I wonder how their scale will correspond to the in-game hex numbers. Currently the in-game Western Front trenches are about 20 hexes long (as in the 1917 campaign).


2. USA and CSA had lots of "naval" fights on the Mississippi. How will this part of the naval campaign represented in the map? Turn the Mississippi into sea hexes with the same width as the Red Sea?


3. I love your idea that the wartime economics of CSA and Canada will based on significant foreign trade. However in the original books Turtledove overlooked the convoy and commerce raiding part of the war.

In the books, the CSA only had a small navy which focus on coastal defense and commercial raid, mainly composed of cruisers and submarines. If the Royal Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy did not get the main USA naval vessels into large scale battles, the much larger USA Navy can easily annihilate the CSA fleet. How will this balance of the fleets represented in a North America only map, not resulted in the USA Navy destroy the CSA Navy and raiding all the CSA convoy lines at ease?

As for Canada, IRL, the main port for British sending supply into Canada is Halifax. In both War Plan Red and Defence Scheme No. 1, both American and Canadian war planners had considering the control of Halifax a crucial part of the war, as if Canada lost her Atlantic ports, her economic strength of continuing an all-out war with USA would be fatally reduced.

However, Turtledove wrote that the USA took the Maritime Provinces at the beginning of the war, and reach to the south bank of St. Lawrence River before 1915. The Canada in his works continued to fight till 1917 even without sufficient British supply, but I doubt that this scenario will happen in the game (unless turn Canada into a MPP powerhouse). How will you address the importance and defense of Maritime Provinces in the mod?


< Message edited by eightroomofelixir -- 3/9/2020 5:16:06 AM >


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RE: Creating the map part 1 - 3/9/2020 8:58:19 AM   
FOARP

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: BiteNibbleChomp

LOVE the idea of a TL-191 mod!

Looking forward to see where this goes :)

- BNC



Hey BNC, glad to see a fellow Paradox forumer over here. As you might remember I’ve previously tried to do this with various editions of HOI, but the frequent DLC and patches makes it a thankless task - you get most of the way to making one and then the game changes. SC is way more stable so it should be easier.

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RE: Creating the map part 1 - 3/9/2020 9:19:47 AM   
FOARP

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: eightroomofelixir

Long time fan of TL-191 series here, very looking forward to this mod.



I am also curious about several aspects:


1. In the original book, the trench warfare mainly happened in the Kentucky Front (stable) and Virginia-Maryland-Pennsylvania Front (lots of back and forth), and I wonder how their scale will correspond to the in-game hex numbers. Currently the in-game Western Front trenches are about 20 hexes long (as in the 1917 campaign).


It’s about 30 hexes from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi.

quote:


2. USA and CSA had lots of "naval" fights on the Mississippi. How will this part of the naval campaign represented in the map? Turn the Mississippi into sea hexes with the same width as the Red Sea?


I considered this but in the end concluded that it would look bad and that the monitor combat is not something that the game can model well anyway. I’ll probably include some colour events about it though.


quote:

3. I love your idea that the wartime economics of CSA and Canada will based on significant foreign trade. However in the original books Turtledove overlooked the convoy and commerce raiding part of the war.


It’s briefly mentioned by other characters, though the Roger Kimball submariner character (and to a lesser extent George Enos destroyer man character) centres around it. In game terms, though, it has to be in-game otherwise you wouldn’t really care about the naval war.

quote:

In the books, the CSA only had a small navy which focus on coastal defense and commercial raid, mainly composed of cruisers and submarines. If the Royal Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy did not get the main USA naval vessels into large scale battles, the much larger USA Navy can easily annihilate the CSA fleet. How will this balance of the fleets represented in a North America only map, not resulted in the USA Navy destroy the CSA Navy and raiding all the CSA convoy lines at ease?


I basically consider the CSA to be a more technologically advanced version (in military/naval terms) of France. The CSN will therefore consist of about the same size of force as the French navy in the base game, but with more subs and dreadnoughts instead of pre-dreadnoughts. The main threat to the USN, though, will come from the Royal Navy.

Mexico will also have a small navy (a pre-dreadnought and a cruiser squadron at most) built with CSA support similar to that which the Ottomans built with German support.

quote:

As for Canada, IRL, the main port for British sending supply into Canada is Halifax. In both War Plan Red and Defence Scheme No. 1, both American and Canadian war planners had considering the control of Halifax a crucial part of the war, as if Canada lost her Atlantic ports, her economic strength of continuing an all-out war with USA would be fatally reduced.

However, Turtledove wrote that the USA took the Maritime Provinces at the beginning of the war, and reach to the south bank of St. Lawrence River before 1915. The Canada in his works continued to fight till 1917 even without sufficient British supply, but I doubt that this scenario will happen in the game (unless turn Canada into a MPP powerhouse). How will you address the importance and defense of Maritime Provinces in the mod?



New Brunswick and Quebec south of the St. Lawrence should fall quickly. From memory the books do discuss Nova Scotia as still being partly Canadian-held a bit later (1915?) so it should be possible to hold up the US on the Isthmus of Chignecto (eg Amherst may be a fortress). PEI will not be that important but may require a naval invasion to take.

Ultimately, though, the St. Lawrence line, which will be impassable along most of its length (by making it sea hex if there is no other way) will be the key position for Canada east of the Great Lakes, and Quebec City will be main trading port.

One thing I hope to do extensively in this mod is to provide substantial numbers of Canadian militia/ CSA state militia whenever the USA penetrates into a new area. Anyone playing as the USA should never feel that they’ve won simply because they’ve moved the front forward a bit, and the war should definitely carry on longer than 1916 in any event.


< Message edited by FOARP -- 3/9/2020 9:41:31 AM >

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RE: Creating the map part 1 - 3/9/2020 9:41:21 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp


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quote:

ORIGINAL: FOARP


Hey BNC, glad to see a fellow Paradox forumer over here. As you might remember I’ve previously tried to do this with various editions of HOI, but the frequent DLC and patches makes it a thankless task - you get most of the way to making one and then the game changes. SC is way more stable so it should be easier.


I'm not actually on Paradox, I think it is more likely you remember me from this PzC thread instead: https://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=147&t=69858

What HQ stat were you thinking of giving Custer? 'Hopeless' and 'Brilliant' both fit him pretty well :)

- BNC

_____________________________

"Moves and counter-moves, that's all we've got to look at." - Plutarch Heavensbee
SC2 American Civil War 1861-1865: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4504986
SC2 Napoleonic Wars 1798-1815: https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4732971

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RE: Creating the map part 1 - 3/9/2020 10:43:27 AM   
FOARP

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: BiteNibbleChomp


quote:

ORIGINAL: FOARP


Hey BNC, glad to see a fellow Paradox forumer over here. As you might remember I’ve previously tried to do this with various editions of HOI, but the frequent DLC and patches makes it a thankless task - you get most of the way to making one and then the game changes. SC is way more stable so it should be easier.


I'm not actually on Paradox, I think it is more likely you remember me from this PzC thread instead: https://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=147&t=69858

What HQ stat were you thinking of giving Custer? 'Hopeless' and 'Brilliant' both fit him pretty well :)

- BNC


Ah! Thanks for the correction!

You’ll be glad to know that, once I’ve got the American Front mod out of the way, I’m planning to make a Settling Accounts mod for WIE and will re-use the graphics from the Panzer Corps mod which I never finished.

Custer is very obviously Turtledove’s take on Joffre/Foch and so will have similar stats


< Message edited by FOARP -- 3/9/2020 10:44:42 AM >

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RE: Creating the map part 1 - 3/9/2020 7:11:03 PM   
eightroomofelixir

 

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Thank you for your reply. These are all really thoughtful considerations; I also assume that a USA push towards the Gaspé Peninsula and north New Brunswick will be limited IRL due to low supply situation there (northern part of Maine and New Brunswick are generally thick forests), the Canadians can probably held the banks of the Lower St. Lawrence, therefore the Lower St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence should be relatively safer for Canadian commercial trades. (Although in the books the USA effectively reached at least Rivière-du-Loup.)

Looking forward to your results.

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Creating the map part 2 - 3/12/2020 9:05:45 PM   
FOARP

 

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Creating the map: part 2

So after ~10 hours of work, I've managed to at least fix all the coastlines so they align. Vancouver Island now looks like the attached picture. This is not particularly great but I think it's good enough to be getting on with. I may go back later and try to fix the coastlines a bit better. The islands and lakes in the game particularly take a lot of work to get right.

As a general comment, I think it would be great if there were some way of drawing the coastlines free-hand, or even a routine in the map reader app that recognises and corrects coastline misalignments.





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Creating the map part 3 - 3/13/2020 8:07:56 AM   
FOARP

 

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Creating the map part 3

As fans of the Southern Victory series will know, Hawaii (known as the Sandwich Islands in this timeline) is the site of important actions early on in Timeline-191's version of the Great War. Unfortunately the map included with the map reader app's resources doesn't extend that far west - so I'm going to have to fix this one myself.

The first step is to resize the x-axis using the map size editor (Map-> Edit Map Size) of the game from 270 hexes to 400 to make extend far enough to fit Hawaii in. Unfortunately you cannot choose where the extra sea hexes this adds go, and they are added on the eastern side of the map, so the next task is using the shift function (Map-> Shift contents) and then use the first and third columns to select the sea hexes to be moved to the western side of the map.

The final step is to use the land/coastline editor to add in the islands by hand - and hey presto! The islands of Hawaii are now there for some gruelling amphibious battles.






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Creating the Map part 4 - Borders - 3/15/2020 9:43:08 AM   
FOARP

 

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Creating the Map part 4 - Borders

After creating the sea/land hexes, the most important part of creating the map is putting in the borders. Players generally orient themselves by where the borders they see on the map are, and will then see if towns, rivers, and geographical features line up with them, particularly where the borders follow geographical features. The borders will also determine the placing of fortifications and units later on. As such the next step is to put the borders in.

The first book of Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 series, How Few Remain, describes how Special Order 191, the order from Robert E. Lee which in our timeline was lost and then found by Union soldiers, was instead found by Confederate soldiers. As a result the Battle of Antietam ended in a disaster for the Union, and a Confederate victory in the US Civil War followed. Similarly, Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky succeeded in Timeline-191, meaning that Kentucky forms part of the CSA, as does (under the name Sequoyah) Oklahoma, which in this timeline remains largely populated by Native Americans. West Virginia, on the other hand, remained out of the CSA.

How Few Remain then describes how the CSA bought Cuba (and, I assume, Puerto Rico) from Spain in the 1870s, and then the states of Chihuahua and Sonora from Mexico after a war against the USA (which sought to prevent the purchase) in 1881. The Second Mexican War (as it was called even though Mexico was not involved in it) ended with Britain and France intervening on the side of the CSA in return for a promise to end slavery in the CSA, and the USA being force to concede northern Maine to Canada.

As such in the completed map you can see that the CSA stretches from Virginia in the east to the Sea of Cortes in the west, and from Ohio in the north to the Caribbean islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico in the south.

Canada has part of Maine (the part that the British claimed during the Aroostook War) and otherwise retains the borders it had in 1914 in real life. Labrador and Newfoundland are still ruled directly from London. France holds only St. Pierre and Miquelon on this map.

Some notes:
1) I only discovered late in the process of painting national territory that it is possible to paint large areas of national territory by holding the shift key and clicking and dragging. Knowing this earlier would have saved a lot of time!

2) Colouring on the mini-map seems a bit off. For some reason the UK and the CSA are the same colour, and whilst it was possible to make Canada be coloured by making it a great power (though I intend for it to be a UK-ruled minor) this removed the colour from Mexico (which I intend to be a major power, albeit a weak one).

3) Canada is far too long and thin, so if I get some time I will add further terrain to the north of the map. Cities like Edmonton at present won't fit on the map. I might also add a bit of terrain to the south of the map just so it includes some of France's Caribbean territories, though I don't intend to include any of South America in this map.




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RE: Creating the Map part 4 - Borders - 3/15/2020 4:39:35 PM   
eightroomofelixir

 

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A small suggestion: In terms of add further terrains, I think some degrees of distortion of the map will be fine. For instance Labrador Peninsula and Newfoundland Island does not have an important role map-wise, and the Pacific seems too large for the game play. WiE has certain distortions, let alone WaW.

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RE: Creating the Map part 4 - Borders - 3/16/2020 2:01:17 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp


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quote:

ORIGINAL: FOARP

Some notes:
1) I only discovered late in the process of painting national territory that it is possible to paint large areas of national territory by holding the shift key and clicking and dragging. Knowing this earlier would have saved a lot of time!

2) Colouring on the mini-map seems a bit off. For some reason the UK and the CSA are the same colour, and whilst it was possible to make Canada be coloured by making it a great power (though I intend for it to be a UK-ruled minor) this removed the colour from Mexico (which I intend to be a major power, albeit a weak one).



(1) is actually done by holding down Ctrl, rather than shift. Great find, that will help me a lot too! Many thanks :)

Re (2), the colours are determined by going Campaign -> Edit Major Country IDs and then choosing from the 'Set Display Source' list. Major_01 is UK, 02 is France &c. In my Civil War mod for SC2 I gave the Confederates the Russian colour (a fainter green than the ones the Americans use), which may be a better idea than copying the British graphics set? Seeing as the Empire of Mexico was installed by the French, I was thinking Austria-Hungary's colours (a faint blue-grey colour) would fit them well?

Looking forward to future developments :)

- BNC

_____________________________

"Moves and counter-moves, that's all we've got to look at." - Plutarch Heavensbee
SC2 American Civil War 1861-1865: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4504986
SC2 Napoleonic Wars 1798-1815: https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4732971

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RE: Creating the Map part 4 - Borders - 3/19/2020 7:01:43 AM   
FOARP

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: eightroomofelixir

A small suggestion: In terms of add further terrains, I think some degrees of distortion of the map will be fine. For instance Labrador Peninsula and Newfoundland Island does not have an important role map-wise, and the Pacific seems too large for the game play. WiE has certain distortions, let alone WaW.


The Canada issue isn’t really solved by distortion as the lack of depth would still be there. - the US can still simply advance a cavalry division in a gap between cities to the top of the map and cut the link between east and west Canada. Making Canada deeper makes this a trickier prospect as it becomes easier for the Entente to close the gap behind any US advance. The books describe the possibility of railway lines connecting east and west Canada being built north of Lake Winnipeg so the map needs to go that far anyway. I’ve extended the north of the map by another 22 hexes to fix this - I’ll post a proper update about this when I get time.

If the Pacific turns out to be too big for play there are a number of possible fixes to this problem including changes to naval move ranges. However for the moment my intention is that combat in and around Hawaii should take place as though it were in a different compartment of the map - moving units to Hawaii, at least for the Entente, should primarily be via movement from the Atlantic using designated hexes. As the books describe, the USA should open the game in a position to attack the “Sandwich Islands”.

In terms of general scale, I’m thinking of pitching it somewhere between all-corps-scale and all-division-scale. The CSA should start with an army similar in size to that of France but with more divisions/detachments/cavalry divisions to cover the west. The USA should have an army similar in size to that of Germany. Canada will have lots of smaller units but relatively few Corps-sized ones. Mexico should have an army similar in size to that of Serbia but again with more small units.

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Creating the Map part 5 - Blame Canada - 3/19/2020 6:40:17 PM   
FOARP

 

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Creating the Map part 5 - Blame Canada

As Canada was looking a bit on the thin side I've opted to add a further 22 hexes of depth to it. This has the added advantage of extending the map far enough that the southern end of the Alaskan panhandle fits on the map. In TL-191 Alaska is still "Russian America" and relatively undeveloped, but you should see some Russian units showing up to oppose any US advance in the Rockies.






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RE: Creating the Map part 4 - Borders - 3/19/2020 8:03:15 PM   
eightroomofelixir

 

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quote:


Making Canada deeper makes this a trickier prospect as it becomes easier for the Entente to close the gap behind any US advance.


Sure, Canada should be think enough as kind of "defense in depth." I was wondering if the size of Mexico and Caribbean can be reduced in order to leave more space for Canada on the map (as I don't really remember any major actions happened in Mexico proper or south of Cuba in the book - again my memories may go wrong).


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RE: Creating the Map part 4 - Borders - 3/20/2020 8:11:30 AM   
FOARP

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: eightroomofelixir


quote:


Making Canada deeper makes this a trickier prospect as it becomes easier for the Entente to close the gap behind any US advance.


Sure, Canada should be think enough as kind of "defense in depth." I was wondering if the size of Mexico and Caribbean can be reduced in order to leave more space for Canada on the map (as I don't really remember any major actions happened in Mexico proper or south of Cuba in the book - again my memories may go wrong).



Mexico saw an invasion of Baha California, and Hispaniola saw a Confederate conquest of Haiti (the books don’t say anything AFAIK about the Dominican Republic but I’m going to assume they were involved given how much they sometimes dislike the Haitians).

But mostly it is included because it was on the automatically-generated map. If it becomes cumbersome or leads to excessively long AI turns then I’ll definitely cut down a bit.

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Creating the Map part 6 - Sandwich Islands 5-0 - 3/20/2020 5:52:41 PM   
FOARP

 

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Creating the Map part 6 - Sandwich Islands 5-0

The US pacific campaign in TL-191's version of WW1 opens with an attack on the "Sandwich Islands" (as Hawaii is known). The US navy has safely decoyed away the Royal Navy dreadnought that protects the islands, and its attendant escorts, leaving the islands protected only by an armoured cruiser and a few weak detachments of troops, although the fortifications at Pearl, with their "Concrete Battleship", might prove a challenge.

Oddly it does not seem possible to pre-position US ground troops next to the islands so hopefully some events can be used to fix this by spawning US troops in the right place.




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Creating the Map part 7 - Cuba (no es) Libre - 3/23/2020 6:03:40 AM   
FOARP

 

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Creating the Map part 7 - Cuba (no es) Libre

So a quick update to let you know what I've been working on lately. First the map, where I am now slowly working on city, river, road, rail, and terrain placement. It seems easiest to work out the co-ordinates on which to place cities and then try to work everything else in around them, as they are the focus points of the game. I've used this approach on Cuba as a test case and it doesn't seem to be working too badly (see photo for details).

Cuba in TL-191 is ruled by the CSA as its most populous state and as an important naval base. I've also include the historical mines at Moa and Cobre in the south, so this is an important piece of real-estate (though I may have to tone down Cuba's economic importance for balance purposes later). I've also very liberally interpreted "Bocage" to include the kind of dense farmland found in the Caribbean - I think the effect it gives on the map actually looks more correct, but please let me know if you disagree.

Actually the biggest challenge from a technical point of view in recent days has been modding in the flags and roundels for the CSA. If you're interested the graphics files that have to be modded to do this are: Flag_sprite and game_screen_flag_sprites in the interface folder, and the files morale_flag_sprites, resource_flag_sprites, unit_counter_flag_sprites, unit_counter_flag_sprites_zoom, unit_nato_flag_sprites, and unit_nato_flag_sprites_zoom, and unit_activation_sprites in the bitmaps folder. To create the transparent icons needed for that last one you can paste whilst using the layer feature opacity slider (accessible via Ctrl-L) in GIMP. I still need to come up with some appropriate unit graphics though.







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Creating the Map part 8 - Hispaniola and the Lesser Ant... - 4/1/2020 7:57:07 PM   
FOARP

 

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Creating the Map part 8 - Hispaniola and the Lesser Antilles

Hallo all! I've steadily been working on this in dribs and drabs but not much more of the map really feels ready enough to show you. However Hispaniola is now in pretty good shape.

In the books Turtledove let's slip that Haiti has been occupied by the Entente. I'm going to interpret that as meaning that the Dominican Republic, who for more than a century were adversaries of the Haitians, sided with the Entente. The CSA will therefore get an event allowing them to bring the Dominicans into the war on their side for a modest outlay of MPP and the deployment of a division of CSA marines to support the Dominican invasion of Haiti. The USA will also get a corresponding event allowing them to deploy a detachment of US Marines to oppose the invasion.

Hispaniola itself is not that rich, but the gold mines at Pueblo Viejo, the largest in the Americas, will be an asset worth grabbing.

Further to the east is the Danish Virgin Islands. Historically these were bought by the US in 1917, but in the much different history of TL-191 they may serve a different purpose...






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Creating the Map part 9 - Florida and the Bahamas - 4/11/2020 1:17:57 PM   
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Creating the Map part 9 - Florida and the Bahamas

Hi again. Steadily working on this all over the map. Here's another part that's more or less finished. Florida at this time was not historically a centre of industry, and it won't be in this mod either, but there are still some areas worth capturing if the war gets this far south. Similarly the Bahamas are not key to the British war effort but they are a useful base for British subs and light naval forces going out into the Atlantic to do battle with the Yanks and Germans.




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Creating the Map part 10 - Georgia on my mind - 4/12/2020 2:19:48 PM   
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Creating the Map part 10 - Georgia on my mind

Next up is the great state of Georgia. This is home to one of the Confederacy's major industrial powerhouses - the city of Atlanta - as well as the mining complex at Battle Branch. Atlanta is also a major blocking position for anyone trying to advance through the Appalachians - as the Union found out to their cost at battles like Kennesaw Mountain in our timeline.

For anyone wondering what my general methodology is for building up the map when it's so big, particularly to get cities and other geographical objects in more-or-less the right location, it's as follows:

1) With the coastline finalised, try to locate geographical features (islands, inlets, peninsulas etc.) on the coast, and use this as a "fix" to determine where nearby cities should go.

2) With the cities on the coastline positioned correctly, then try to use their position as a "fix" to find where cities inland should be - ideally find one city that is on the same latitude and another than is on the same longitude, then use their lat/long co-ordinates to determine where the inland city should go. Cities should be labelled as you create them.

3) With the inland cities positioned correctly, lay down rivers. As the rivers flow along valleys this makes positioning hills, mountains, and lakes easier.

4) Connect the cities with roads based on maps that can be found online. The roads generally advance through clearings in the forests, valleys etc. I'm following the rule that cities which are now connected by majors roads should have major roads in-game, but minor roads should be dirt-tracks (this is 1914 after all).

5) Search for maps of railways (e.g., this one) and add them in.

6) Do an online search of city-lists to see if anywhere is missing. Search for important mines in that region and add them in. Sense-check the cities you have - you'll be putting them down on different days and may not be applying the criteria in the same way so check that e.g., you don't end up with Memphis and Atlanta on the same latitude. Try to fill open gaps on the map with little settlements if any existed so that the player has something to fight for in that region.

7) Label geographic features (e.g., prominent peaks, historical battle-sites etc.).







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Creating the Map part 11 - The Carolinas - 4/13/2020 4:44:49 PM   
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Creating the Map part 11 - The Carolinas

Hi again, a bit more of the map has now been more-or-less filled in. This time we're in the Carolinas. North and South Carolina were not the most populous or the most powerful states in the Confederacy, but they were home to numerous sizeable cities and also large amounts of agriculture. Mining in Gem Hollow near Winston-Salem adds to this economic importance.

Speaking of agriculture, I've decided it might be a good idea in this mod to make plantations their own terrain-type. As such any part of the south with substantial tobacco or cotton growing will highlighted as "plantation", with bocage terrain standing in for this. If it makes the map too busy or slows up advances too much then I'll switch back, but for the moment I think the effect is not too bad, and its good for the player to see variation over the map.

Also, the plantation areas are those most likely to see uprisings in 1915, but more about that later....

BTW - I very much encourage anyone who sees anything they disagree with in these posts to point them out to me. It can only improve what I'm doing here. This map is intended as a general map usable by anyone planning a mod involving North America.






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Creating the Map part 12 - Virginia Plain - 4/15/2020 5:45:44 PM   
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Creating the Map part 12 - Virginia Plain

Hello, and now for the biggest state in the Confederacy and its main political centre, the state of Virginia. Despite losing West Virginia in this timeline the same way it was lost in real life, Virginia is still home to the capital city of the CSA (Richmond) and the major naval ports of Newport News and Norfolk, VA. Crimora Mine, historically the largest Manganese mine in North America, was also located in this state.

This is also where one of the most dense parts of the map in terms of cities and resources starts, as Virginia borders Washington, D.C. (no longer the de facto capital of the USA in this timeline), and Maryland with the major city of Baltimore, beyond which is the de facto capital of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. In the books this is one of the most fought-over parts of North America, and as such I'm making sure that there are plenty of physical barriers, towns, fortifications, rivers etc. to slow down any advance. Essentially, since the two capitals of the main combatants in this scenario are located so close together (Richmond and Philadelphia are only about 210 miles apart as the crow flies, compare this to the roughly 550 miles that separate Paris and Berlin) there has to be a lot of stuff to slow down the players otherwise this scenario is going to be over very quickly.




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RE: Creating the Map part 12 - Virginia Plain - 4/15/2020 6:43:02 PM   
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Virginia looks realistically dense, definitely like the full-of-towns-and-fortifications design here.

Some small things (again; I think I am a little bit picky about these details):
- Didn't the town of Roanoke still named "Big Lick" in the novels, and it's also described as a major railroad junction as well as an iron mining center? (The Pocahontas Coalfield is also near Roanoke.)
- There are probably some fortifications north of DC: Featherston mentioned that there are fortifications on the heights outside Washington DC, protect the city and its hinterlands from a southern invasion.
- Later in the book, Baltimore remained in Northern hands and became a strong bulge in the frontline; according to Featherston, the Confederate army were unable to cut off rail connection into Baltimore the whole time. The Union army were even able to launch a major attack from the city (although failed). I assume that Baltimore and the rail connections behind it are also fortified as well; the Yankees won't let the biggest city between DC and Philly undefended anyway.

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RE: Creating the Map part 12 - Virginia Plain - 4/16/2020 12:01:49 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: eightroomofelixir

Virginia looks realistically dense, definitely like the full-of-towns-and-fortifications design here.

Some small things (again; I think I am a little bit picky about these details):


Not at all. The pickier you are, the better for this mod!

quote:

- Didn't the town of Roanoke still named "Big Lick" in the novels, and it's also described as a major railroad junction as well as an iron mining center? (The Pocahontas Coalfield is also near Roanoke.)


Ach! *slaps head* I'd looked for Big Lick on the map and, not having seen it, just assumed it must be a small village or something. I hadn't realised that it'd changed its name! I'll change it in the next draft.

Additionally, I'd been under the impression that the Pocahontas field was all in WV, but part of it is in Virginia so I'll probably put three mines in total - one in Virginia and two in West Virginia - lots of stuff to fight over!

quote:

- There are probably some fortifications north of DC: Featherston mentioned that there are fortifications on the heights outside Washington DC, protect the city and its hinterlands from a southern invasion.


I'll try to revise Maryland a bit when I do it, but in simplified terms the Susquehanna south of Harrisburg is a major defence-line for the USA. The idea is that the CSA should advance to Harrisburg to outflank the defences at Alexandria and Newark, DE

quote:

- Later in the book, Baltimore remained in Northern hands and became a strong bulge in the frontline; according to Featherston, the Confederate army were unable to cut off rail connection into Baltimore the whole time. The Union army were even able to launch a major attack from the city (although failed). I assume that Baltimore and the rail connections behind it are also fortified as well; the Yankees won't let the biggest city between DC and Philly undefended anyway.


This is really hard to deal with on this scale - it just doesn't make sense in WW1-style warfare for the CSA to advance to Harrisburg leaving Baltimore in USA hands. I mean maybe I could move Baltimore east one hex so it's easier to go around it but I'm not sure this will look good - I'll give it a try to see how it looks.

Ultimately, though, I doubt the player's going to leave it in USA hands whatever I do with it, and if I make it hard to capture the CSA will never advance to Harrisburg. I think I'll put a US infantry division in there to defend it.

Anyway, many thanks for the feedback, it's very helpful.


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Creating the Map part 13 - "Almost heaven, West Vi... - 4/18/2020 6:00:41 AM   
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Creating the Map part 13 - "Almost heaven, West Virginia"

Another state down, and this time my first inland one - West Virginia. Is the TL-191 timeline West Virginia also split away from Virginia when it seceded from the union, and as such is a border state.

Whilst not exactly an industrial power-house, West Virginia, as was helpfully pointed out above, is home to a major coalfield, albeit one right on the border with the CSA. It is also the launching-off point of one of the USA's opening offensives of the war, directed towards cutting across the Roanoke valley (a major transport route for the CSA) and advancing towards Richmond from the west.






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Creating the Map part 14 - Pennsylvania - 4/19/2020 3:11:34 PM   
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Creating the Map part 14 - Pennsylvania

Time for another look at the slowly developing map for this CSA v. USA WW1 Turtledove mod. The next bit that is more-or-less finished is the US state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is home to two of the Union's industrial powerhouse - Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with Philly also doubling as the capital of the USA. Philadelphia is protected to the west by a line of fortifications along the Susquehanna, but if the Confederate player is willing to advance a bit further to the north, they may attempt to outflank this line by breaking through at Harrisburg.

Pittsburgh also serves as an important transportation hub for the railways running from east to west within the United States, and particularly the lines running from New York through Philadelphia across the Allegheny mountains go through there. If the Confederate player wishes, they can try to take Pittsburgh, but they may well find themselves tied down in street-to-street fighting if they do....








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RE: Creating the Map part 14 - Pennsylvania - 4/19/2020 7:18:39 PM   
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Some possible points about cities and terrains:

Pittsburgh and Wheeling IRL are completely surrounded by mountains. Both cities are on the Allegheny Plateau, this huge mountainous area extended westward till just east of Columbus, with New Castle and Erie at it's foothills. The difficult terrains very much contributed to Featherston's failure to push into Pittsburgh.

Similar situation could be also applied to the Altoona, Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton. The Blue Mountain Ridge next to the Harrisburg is also an obstacle for troop movement, rising from Harrisburg's 322' to more than 1200' within a mile. Also, there is a small mountain range and a gap between Gettysburg and Camp Hill.
(I understand that 1200' isn't too high for a mountain, but I always found that the "Hill" hexes in game are not that much a terrain burden than "mountain" hexes. My personal thought is to make the Appalachia region as a larger version of the Carpathian Mountains in the WWI map. Or to replicate your Virginia part of the Appalachia and Shenandoah Valley in Mid-Pennsylvania, as their terrain are much similar.)

For Philadelphia - I don't know. Delaware River is pretty wide, and didn't have a bridge across till 1926; although as we have discussed before, it's very hard to represent "a wide river with container ship capacity" in this game. Maybe the hex south of the Philly can be a port? (Philadelphia, as well as Camden, NJ just opposite to it, was a major shipyard during WWI.)
I am also unsure about west Philly, west of Schuylkill River. West Philly played a big role in Timeline-191's WWII, but in WWI not as that much. Adding Schuylkill River on the map would increase the defense ability of Philadelphia though. Richmond has Pamunkey River on the map for defense, Philadelphia could use some Schuylkill River, too.

I would also suggest adding Bethlehem, PA, because of the famous Bethlehem Steel and their plants. Both Bethlehem and Trenton are important industrial center at that time. Pittsburgh also have huge coalfields and irons mines outside the town at that time.
Overall, I was thinking a more hilly, a more industrial-powerhouse-ish Pennsylvania. Sorry for these very specific pickings - I once lived in NJ and visited Philly constantly, they feel familiar to me.

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