Campaigning

Armored Brigade is a real-time tactical wargame, focusing on realism and playability
exsonic01
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RE: Campaigning

Post by exsonic01 »

ORIGINAL: Veitikka
It is a fact that it's impossible to meet all expectations. The system we will have is very different to what I was planning in the past. It's much more 'dynamic', not a structure of pre-made scenarios, and it's a generator, just like currently we have the battle generator system, so you can generate campaigns with a few mouse clicks, and save them for later use.

The basic idea is that the 'front line' moves back and forth, depending on the battle end results.

Thanks for the answer. Campaign generator sounds great, I can't wait for demo or at least screenshot. You mentioned that the 'front line'. Is this frontline means the frontline from campaign map? I remember you guys don't have any plan for operational layer. 'Generator' means the AI will decide the battlefield based on campaign front situation, is this correct? Is this something similar with Graviteam operational map? Or any other example?

On the other hand, I'm a bit worried about campaign generator, that this might be similar to current battle generator, but just with multiple missions... This will make campaign

This is my personal taste, but I value the contents which help and boost the immersion & motivation for players. This differs by players, but usually, for strategy games, the element of immersion and motivation is:
- nicely detailed realistic briefing with map.
- major storyline/storytelling part, which is synced with campaign progress & ending.
- detailed explanation about situation before the battle and consequences after battle.
- Doesn't stick to core units, but at least better AAR with merits, honors, killcounts, citation about bravery and sacrifice.
- Good/bad ending with detailed explanations and consequences, with nice epic background music.
- etc.

I'm not sure how the campaign generator will depict such elements for immersion and motivation. Because, I'm not sure how you will automate such contents. I get that campaign generator will automate the process of campaign and setting for each battle, but things like briefing, explanation, narrative elements... are hard to automate in "generator" style campaign.

If current "campaign generator" can't depict the element of storytelling or narrative contents, then I'm not sure if I feel attractive to campaign. Some player will like this, but maybe some or not. Any plan to introduce "storytelling type campaign" in the future as well? Or is this possible to introduce "storytelling campaign mode" in the future?
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nikolas93TS
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RE: Campaigning

Post by nikolas93TS »

Indeed, we have considered the option of additional campaign modes in the future, in order to satisfy different tastes.

What you propose is actually likely less demanding to implement from technical point of view, but it requires an incredible amount of VERY creative content, time-consuming balancing etc.

I think that in this crucial period it is better to invest that time in some more pressing issues...
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exsonic01
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RE: Campaigning

Post by exsonic01 »

ORIGINAL: nikolas93TS

Indeed, we have considered the option of additional campaign modes in the future, in order to satisfy different tastes.

What you propose is actually likely less demanding to implement from technical point of view, but it requires an incredible amount of VERY creative content, time-consuming balancing etc.

I think that in this crucial period it is better to invest that time in some more pressing issues...
Yeah, I know, they are not easy options to achieve. But "some" players really consider immersion/reality and motivation factor importantly. So... I wish if we have that factor in the future.

Also, what I'm also worrying is, what if this "generated" or "automated" campaign is just repeating of skirmish games against AI. Campaign might be repetitive, and might become boring or less attractive as campaign process. I wish you guys think about this factor as well. Thank you.
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Perturabo
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RE: Campaigning

Post by Perturabo »

ORIGINAL: exsonic01

ORIGINAL: nikolas93TS

Indeed, we have considered the option of additional campaign modes in the future, in order to satisfy different tastes.

What you propose is actually likely less demanding to implement from technical point of view, but it requires an incredible amount of VERY creative content, time-consuming balancing etc.

I think that in this crucial period it is better to invest that time in some more pressing issues...
Yeah, I know, they are not easy options to achieve. But "some" players really consider immersion/reality and motivation factor importantly. So... I wish if we have that factor in the future.

Also, what I'm also worrying is, what if this "generated" or "automated" campaign is just repeating of skirmish games against AI. Campaign might be repetitive, and might become boring or less attractive as campaign process. I wish you guys think about this factor as well. Thank you.
Not if there will be mountains of corpses and wrecks scattered all over the place.
Mutunus
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RE: Campaigning

Post by Mutunus »

ORIGINAL: Veitikka

It is a fact that it's impossible to meet all expectations. The system we will have is very different to what I was planning in the past. It's much more 'dynamic', not a structure of pre-made scenarios, and it's a generator, just like currently we have the battle generator system, so you can generate campaigns with a few mouse clicks, and save them for later use.

The basic idea is that the 'front line' moves back and forth, depending on the battle end results.

Very excited to hear you are implementing this! Really enjoying the game and am really looking forward to a campaign feature.
exsonic01
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RE: Campaigning

Post by exsonic01 »

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

ORIGINAL: exsonic01

ORIGINAL: nikolas93TS

Indeed, we have considered the option of additional campaign modes in the future, in order to satisfy different tastes.

What you propose is actually likely less demanding to implement from technical point of view, but it requires an incredible amount of VERY creative content, time-consuming balancing etc.

I think that in this crucial period it is better to invest that time in some more pressing issues...
Yeah, I know, they are not easy options to achieve. But "some" players really consider immersion/reality and motivation factor importantly. So... I wish if we have that factor in the future.

Also, what I'm also worrying is, what if this "generated" or "automated" campaign is just repeating of skirmish games against AI. Campaign might be repetitive, and might become boring or less attractive as campaign process. I wish you guys think about this factor as well. Thank you.
Not if there will be mountains of corpses and wrecks scattered all over the place.

Repeating game over the same region, despite of debris and corpses, still might have a chance of becoming boring game. But I admit that the expression of debris, wrecks, damaged buildings and burnt woods... would be great and would help to solve the repetitive issue in some degree.

In reality, it is possible scenario to see the battle in the same region, in the same place, over and over again. But in gaming fun perspective, those situations are not always great.

That is another reason why "narrative" campaign is one of the good way to solve this issue. On top of the immersive elements like briefing, explanation about situation and detailed strategic map, creative intervention from campaign designer can prevent any repetitive issues. For example, campaign designer can set up unique mission targets (save the civilians, escape before "pocket" close, or etc...) for each missions, so that the every mission of the campaign can be an interesting storyline of the war. This will help immersion + realism + gaming fun perspective, as well as solve the repeating issue.

I wish AB also consider such part in the future. Or, provide a tool for campaign generators to implement a immersive environment, such as briefing and strategic maps... maybe? This is not an easy part to solve but IMO it is an important one.



exsonic01
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RE: Campaigning

Post by exsonic01 »

ORIGINAL: Veitikka

It is a fact that it's impossible to meet all expectations. The system we will have is very different to what I was planning in the past. It's much more 'dynamic', not a structure of pre-made scenarios, and it's a generator, just like currently we have the battle generator system, so you can generate campaigns with a few mouse clicks, and save them for later use.

The basic idea is that the 'front line' moves back and forth, depending on the battle end results.
One more question, is that 'front line' a factor from strategic map? Is this means that players of AB campaign will have some degree of freedom in operational layer, or something similar concept? I'm not saying operational layer is poor, I'm just curious. To me, either ways (operational layer or not) are fine.

Can players or AI play under unique situation, such as totally surrounded, or rescue friendly in the "pocket", or fight against the 2 enemy units from 2 directions (against pincer move)?

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Veitikka
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RE: Campaigning

Post by Veitikka »

ORIGINAL: exsonic01

ORIGINAL: Veitikka

It is a fact that it's impossible to meet all expectations. The system we will have is very different to what I was planning in the past. It's much more 'dynamic', not a structure of pre-made scenarios, and it's a generator, just like currently we have the battle generator system, so you can generate campaigns with a few mouse clicks, and save them for later use.

The basic idea is that the 'front line' moves back and forth, depending on the battle end results.
One more question, is that 'front line' a factor from strategic map? Is this means that players of AB campaign will have some degree of freedom in operational layer, or something similar concept? I'm not saying operational layer is poor, I'm just curious. To me, either ways (operational layer or not) are fine.

The 'front line' moves along a pre-defined path, or very close to it, depending on the battle end conditions. Currently there's no player involvement after the campaign has been generated.

The old Combat Mission games had something quite similar, and Close Combat 3, I think? It's a long time since a player these games, so I don't remember too much of them. In our game we have the huge maps where the campaign can move seamlessly, and realistic day and night cycles that depend on the map location and the month. The time of day changes and the weather changes, so even a single map location can be a very different experience every time if played more than once.

Can players or AI play under unique situation, such as totally surrounded, or rescue friendly in the "pocket", or fight against the 2 enemy units from 2 directions (against pincer move)?

Currently the system doesn't remember the exact unit locations, so it's not possible to end up in situations where some of the units are separated from the others and must be 'rescued'. It's a very interesting idea and could be doable, but I think it can work in very static situations only, and usually the location moves a long distance between the battles.
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exsonic01
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RE: Campaigning

Post by exsonic01 »

ORIGINAL: Veitikka
The 'front line' moves along a pre-defined path, or very close to it, depending on the battle end conditions. Currently there's no player involvement after the campaign has been generated.

The old Combat Mission games had something quite similar, and Close Combat 3, I think? It's a long time since a player these games, so I don't remember too much of them. In our game we have the huge maps where the campaign can move seamlessly, and realistic day and night cycles that depend on the map location and the month. The time of day changes and the weather changes, so even a single map location can be a very different experience every time if played more than once.
OK, I can get the feeling. I can expect that there will be no operational layer control of players, but can players still see the strategic map or campaign map, which showing the situation of operational area and 'front line', right? I like the point that the campaign will use the huge map. Maybe will the campaign use the entire regional map? I hope so.

Is the campaign use the concept of 'battle group' or 'enemy formation' on the regional map? (like we see from games with operational layer like recent Close Combat or Wargame franchise, but just showing, not to control) If yes, I'm also curious how do you plan about enemy and friendly battle groups: minimum or maximum point size of units on campaign map, and how they are being generated on the map. I wish any battle during campaign can be asymmetric, like 2 divisions vs 1 regiment situation, and also I wish if there are any concept of reinforcement (in strategic level) during the game. Plus, I really hope that campaign use the historical or realistic unit/formation of PACT or NATO, or close to it as much as possible.

Those are just my wishlists, I'm just curious how it looks like.
Currently the system doesn't remember the exact unit locations, so it's not possible to end up in situations where some of the units are separated from the others and must be 'rescued'. It's a very interesting idea and could be doable, but I think it can work in very static situations only, and usually the location moves a long distance between the battles.
Hmm ok, well, that is sad to hear. But maybe in the future? Also, how about implementing 'bubble' type 'front line' available? That would make some interesting situations like being surrounded.

Maybe, in the future, how about increasing the mission type or more various victory condition? Here are my brainstorming efforts:
1) Rescue friendly civilians
- Beginning from typical meeting engagement, enemy from the east, and friendly from the west, or any direction. Game is 'linear'
- But in the middle, there are civilian population and vehicles, which are modeled with infantry / car graphics.
- Civilian group have their own independent AI. Civilian AI command civilian units to run west, in 'cover' path finding, Civilian morale and mental properties are very low, they are easily scared or pinned down.
(In this case, there should be a consideration in the game source code, to enable 'multi-AI' from a single game. I know you guys don't have enough time and budget for such work, and I think those works won't be easy at all. But I truly believe that such 'multi-AI in single game' feature will flourish AB so much. With 'multi-AI in single game' feature, players can design multi-nation-game of NATO vs PACT, and this can be a good preparation phase for 2v2 or 3v3 human MP game in the far future. )

2) Surrounded - 'Alamo' type game.
- Eneny AI starts from multiple locations on the edge of the map, from any directions.
- Tactical level reinforcement of enemy units during game.
- Player units are defending small town or small-sized city, or well-fortified hills. They should defend the assault from all directions.
- Player forces should withstand against enemy for limited amount of time, until friendly AI tactical level reinforcement arrives. Or, one can make this friendly units as player control.
- After friendly reinforcement arrives, then player unit should escape to the location where friendly units appeared.
- Totally epic music during entire process (briefing, in-game, de-briefing) is must.
(In this case, the concept of tactical level reinforcements should be introduced. Again, I know it won't be easy, but this will make AB much more interesting, both for modders and players. If you guys open Patreon account, I'm willing to invest)

Some other ideas are SF / lightinfantry only infiltration missions, circumvent and surround the enemy forces or enemy-occupied city, or etc...

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Redmarkus5
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RE: Campaigning

Post by Redmarkus5 »

ORIGINAL: Panzeh

Operational/strategic layers tend to make a tactical game worse because the scenarios they create are worse and the operational aspects are always worse than an actual operational game.

It can work well if the tactical battles are essentially pre-defined with, say, 20% of the force being 'core' units that are carried over from previous engagements and resupplied/reinforced.

Even the operational/tactical layers in Close Combat were acceptable and fun to play, in my opinion. I'd be happy with something as simple as that. I get bored very quickly when battles have no context.
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Perturabo
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RE: Campaigning

Post by Perturabo »

ORIGINAL: Redmarkus5

ORIGINAL: Panzeh

Operational/strategic layers tend to make a tactical game worse because the scenarios they create are worse and the operational aspects are always worse than an actual operational game.

It can work well if the tactical battles are essentially pre-defined with, say, 20% of the force being 'core' units that are carried over from previous engagements and resupplied/reinforced.

Even the operational/tactical layers in Close Combat were acceptable and fun to play, in my opinion. I'd be happy with something as simple as that. I get bored very quickly when battles have no context.
Operational layer in Close Combat IV and V has ruined everything and was also an expression of utter stagnation of the series where they failed to improve the main game so they slapped a minigame on it.

There can be no sensible context with player being both in control of tactical and operational layer.
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nikolas93TS
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RE: Campaigning

Post by nikolas93TS »

Currently, the greatest obstacle to plot-driven campaign is not technical implementation (at least compared to dynamic campaign system we have now) but the lack of proper campaign maker. I can make a scenario or two from time to time, and I do have a few ideas as well to increase scenario variety in terms of victory types, but I am afraid making a quality full-fledged campaign with immersive narrative is beyond my creative talent. And time, to be honest, as I spend most of my working time on AB on research and expanding the database.
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exsonic01
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RE: Campaigning

Post by exsonic01 »

Well, for small short campaigns, you could start from battles from famous WW3 novels? I'm not saying it is OK to copying them, but you can get some hints about story of scenario, backgrounds of operation and etc. But ultimately, for grand campaign, you need to make your own WW3 using AB. At this point, maybe it would be inevitable to get some help from scenario writers or etc.
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RE: Campaigning

Post by ETF »

Mutilpayer aspect certainly helps in an operationl/tactial campaign setting. Not much into linear campagins. Playing against an AI is well limited. Player(s) vs Player(s) the only way to go IMHO :)
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DoubleDeuce
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RE: Campaigning

Post by DoubleDeuce »

The custom campaigns created in games like WwinSPMBT and winSPWWII seemed to work pretty well and be pretty popular. I think if you can get close to that same kind of concept it would be a great achievement.

On a side note, has anyone played with the Campaign Generator Tool? Any feedback?
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Re: RE: Campaigning

Post by CSO_Talorgan »

mekanopsis wrote: Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:52 pmI really do like the idea of something like a hex and counter operational level boardgame design as a generator of AB tactical battles. I believe this should be a different game, a meta-game if you will, and not necessarily integrated into AB.
I did wonder if Unity3D could fulfil this need. More recently AI has seemed to hold some promise but have not had time to fully investigate it.
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