Need help with a scenario concept - Drole de Guerre remake

Civoleon

Chieftain
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Dec 31, 2021
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Hi. Long time lurker here, and long-time civ2 player. I had trouble getting into my old account so I made a new one.
I need a little help from the community for one of the scenario ideas that's been bouncing round my head for eons. This is a bit of a long post so bear with me!

The scenario Drole de Guerre by Javier Arriaga was made 20(!) years ago. It's a good FW scenario, with a very fun & compelling concept (controlling the French forces in May 1940 and trying to resist German blitzkrieg). The idea of rushing to the Albert canal, a special terrain with high defense values, is brilliant.
But it has many flaws which ruin the realism & gameplay of the scenario, which I thought I might use the power of TOT & its patches and beautiful, growing collections of new graphics to rectify with a new scenario in the spirit of the original. I have no idea if the original creator is still active in the civ community, but I assume a spiritual remake is free game to publish - it's not a 1 for 1 remake I have in mind, but a new scenario retelling the same story.

The issue I have is that I've never completed a scenario of my own before (I've made a few attempts in MGE), and need a lot of help & assistance to create something playable. I have had trouble getting the TOTPP to work on my computer (I need the extra units.gif slots!). The technical help would be really appreciated.

As far as the scenario details go, I have a few ideas for making it more exciting & realistic than the original Drole.scn:

1. In the original scenario, there were a few things which didn't work, like the partisan slot being occupied by Italian Inf. units, which created weird things when you captured German-held cities. The mechanic of events.txt giving you colonial troops is nice, but you can build them, and they are totally superior to French metropolitan inf, which creates an unrealistic situation. Obvious fixes.
2. Another obvious fix is that the original designer did not do his homework and included inappropriate units, such as Lancaster bombers and Hawk 75 fighters for Belgium. Another easy fix. He also did not use the full number of unit slots, and I made an attempt ages ago to add a few units in but never finished. Just one example, the French & Italian players do not have any bombers at their disposal, which stands out as something to rectify.
3. Gameplay - the scenario has France, Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy & Switzerland as civs. My revamp would ditch the separate British civ, as the BEF forces just wander around and get in the French player's way while you're trying to move up to the front. The player controlling both allies allows for more coordinated action, as well as the potential to simulate stuff like the Dunkirk evacuation (which the AI could not pull off). I'm not sure whether to include the Belgian civ as part of the Entente civ also, that might be too much. I'm also debating whether Italy and the entire southern front need to be included at all, as including Italy means I have to add a bunch of Italian units when I want to really expand on the detail of the main battles & western armies.
4. Refugees - one aspect of the Battle of France was the gigantic numbers of refugees fleeing from German advances and clogging up the roads, hampering the Allies from reaching the front. I'd like to simulate this by using events.txt to spawn barbarian refugee units after each German conquest that the player has to 'kill' to advance, sapping movement points for your forces.
5. More gameplay - I'd like to make the German paratrooper units destroyed after attacking, owing to their rather specific & limited use during the campaign. They will be powerful enough to blow up Eben-Emael and then exit stage left.
6. Naval units - to give more space for tank, aircraft, and artillery variety, I'm limiting naval units to nearly nothing. The original scenario has an excessive number, and the Battle of France was mainly a land battle. Eliminating southern France from the map could help me cut the navies down even further. I would like to include units like the little ships of Dunkirk, their DD escorts, and the German E-boats harassing them, but no battleships or subs that don't really belong in this scenario.
edit - 7. I have been researching ww2 a lot in preparation for this, with an eye towards orders of battle that I've found online, and presumably improvements can also be made to the distribution of units at the beginning.

I hope this sounds like an exciting scenario idea. If anyone wants to collaborate on it with me, I would be very appreciative. Since 2001, the evolution of civ2 graphics has matured into really beautiful art, and there are so many new unit graphics that have yet to see the light of day in a scenario. So part of my goal also is to highlight the beautiful graphics people have been making. Let me know what you think!
 
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Dadais

King
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Oct 20, 2010
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Location
France
4. In relation to 3., why not using a civ slot for a "stucked"-allied civilians civ to French/Britain ?
French/Britain would have difficulties reaching front (yet won't be able to destroy them), while german could "destroy" them in exchange for a bonus ?
You may could make them food caravans to let AI grant them a half-correct behaviour ?

Good luck !
Make sure you have the bible under hand while desining :
Tips
Explanations for TOTpp when launching it, in the right frame.
exemple.png

If you are interrested in Lua :
Learning Lua uses Thread
Lua Resources
Overall, learning is a very fun part :D .
 

JPetroski

Deity
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
4,536
Welcome, @Civoleon ! It's great to have a new poster about this wonderful game. I'll try and help you as best I can:

I have had trouble getting the TOTPP to work on my computer (I need the extra units.gif slots!). The technical help would be really appreciated.

I'm not the most technically savvy however here is the installation instructions I've been passing along in different scenarios (originally from @tootall_2012 who has a much better grasp on this than I do):

Spoiler :


1. This scenario requires Civilization II Test of Time. If you don’t already have it, you may purchase it on ebay or Amazon.

2. You must install the Test of Time v1.1 patch before installing this scenario. You may download it here: http://forums.civfanatics.com/downloads.php?do=file&id=59

Note: For those users who have the "Sid Meier's Civilization® Chronicles" version of the game installed on their computer, you may use the " CivChroniclesPatch.exe" included in the ZIP file to install the patch.

3. You must install version 0.17 of the Test of Time Project by TheNamelessOne. You may download it here https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/the-test-of-time-patch-project.517282/page-59#post-16182245

4. VERY IMPORTANT: You must install the lua folder, which is included in the v 0.17 ZIP file (and which includes the civlua.lua, functions.lua and init.lua files), in the root directory of your Civilization Test of Time folder.



As you have never built a scenario before, can I suggest that you review this page in its entirety before commencing? This is the best collection of tips and tricks in one place and may give you ideas you hadn't thought of (I see Dadais already linked it but here it is again):

http://sleague.civfanatics.com/index.php?title=Category:Tips

As to getting a scenario up and running... Here's the process I use.

1. I tend to plan out my scenario in excel to some extent, but I used to do it on paper. Attached is the excel sheet I have used for Hinge of Fate (note that I'm experienced enough that I don't use it all the way through, and I don't bother updating it as I go unless I really need to, but you might find it helpful).
2. I make sure my map is in order. ToTPP makes changes on the fly much quicker than before, however it's no substitute for map editor.
3. I build the rules file and art files before I even start a scenario - I make sure they match with ToTPP in terms of extra units and terrain slots. The easiest way to do this is simply to take a rules file and art files from a different scenario that already works and modify that. The reason I build the rules file first is because if you're not using lua, there are certain fields (like native transport) that must be changed before the game is started. Otherwise, the only way to change them is via hex editing (lua solves this).
4. I make a copy of the default rules file for whatever folder I'm working from (extended original usually) and store it somewhere safe.
5. I move my rules file into the main folder I'm going to work from (extended original usually)
6. I start a game on a premade world, which loads the rules and art I had.
7. If you want to have units that have "NONE" as a home city, it is immensely helpful to place them before you build any cities. Otherwise you need to manually go through your units and change the ones you want to "NONE." This saves time but isn't totally necessary if you don't want.
8. I place cities first, and then build them out with civitas. This will save you a TON of time, but you can do it manually if you prefer.
9. Events are done last. If you're going to try lua, I'd strongly encourage you to make use of the template. At this point, a few of us (@civ2units , @CurtSibling and myself) have used this and it will just make it much easier to help you. Also, you can build most of your events with the standard macro.txt and then simply make small tweaks that you'd like via lua. It's a good way to bridge the gap and get more out of your scenario without having to completely reinvent the wheel.
10. playtest, playtest, playtest. Keep a notepad open and jot down what you need to fix. Then go fix it before the next playtest.

Hopefully this wall of text helps get you started. There are other good resources here.

-John
 

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Hi Civoleon,

A few years back I prepared a compendium of resource files and links for John which you can find in the Scenario Creation Excel Sheet thread post located here.

If you are going to design your scenario with Test Of Time and ToTPP, I strongly recommend you download the "TOTPP v017.pdf" reference guide found in the same post. It outlines all the amazing features that are available.

I've also attached a basic project plan that I always use when working on my projects. It helps to establish the work that needs to be done and at a high level track my progress.

With regards your Battle of France scenario, I think one of the most important aspect you are going to have to determine is it's scale.
  • What size do you intend each unit to represent, i.e. regiments, divisions, corps?
    • The smaller the size the more overall units the scenario will need. For example, each side had roughly 140 divisions. If your scale is at the regimental size, were talking at the minimum 420 regimental units (as there are typically 3 regiments per division) not counting artillery, armour, engineers, naval and air units. All put together a player might have to manage over 600 or more units. That's definitely what you would call a monster game.
  • Do you want to include all of France, including the Italian front?
    • The bigger the region you cover the bigger your unit scale will have to be because there is a definite limit on the map size (32600 tiles).
    • Given the limited impact Italy had on the battle do you want to exclude it from the scenario and just concentrate on the far more important sector of northern France and the Benelux countries?
  • With the new 189 unit limit that will become available with v0.18 of TOTPP, I'm pretty certain you won't have to worry too much about what unit types you can add to your scenario.
  • If you aren't familiar with programming, I would recommend you start with the basic macro language for your events. Afterwards, if you are interested in implementing some lua code, you could always convert your events with Prof. Garfield's lua Legacy function and then had a few extra events with lua that you think would had some extra benefits.
As your are just a the beginning stages, it's not possible to give you too many specific directions as any advice we can give will depend on your choices.

Finally, to be successful in any design you have to be passionate about your subject and you have to have a lot of patience and dedication because they can take a lot of time to complete.

I hope this helped.
 

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JPetroski

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Tootall's great post brings up more thoughts:

1. Bear in mind that the AI handles smaller maps much better than large ones. While everyone wants a gigantic map, the larger you make it, the more difficult it is to control the AI.

2. As to scale, Tootall has great points. I'd throw out there however that you also need to contend with two things: (1) In Civ2 combat (at least without lua), one unit always dies when it would be unusual for a division to be destroyed in each action. (2) You need to give the AI some sort of edge to make it challenging. Neither of these considerations wed themselves easily to precise OOB (in MY opinion). I tend to favor gameplay vs. realism and go for approximations in force size that don't shock the conscience. I know this is an age-old debate and whatever you decide is fine is the way the scenario shall be! There are certainly some designers (Techumseh springs immediately to mind) who strive for hyper realistic scenario OOB and his scenarios are fun to play, so what do I know. I'm just giving you another perspective.
 

Civoleon

Chieftain
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
Messages
14
Wow. Thank you guys for all this info. It's clear you guys are eager to help a 'newb' (I've been playing civ2 for about a decade). It will take a while for me to read a lot of this stuff.
Tootall's great post brings up more thoughts:

1. Bear in mind that the AI handles smaller maps much better than large ones. While everyone wants a gigantic map, the larger you make it, the more difficult it is to control the AI.

2. As to scale, Tootall has great points. I'd throw out there however that you also need to contend with two things: (1) In Civ2 combat (at least without lua), one unit always dies when it would be unusual for a division to be destroyed in each action. (2) You need to give the AI some sort of edge to make it challenging. Neither of these considerations wed themselves easily to precise OOB (in MY opinion). I tend to favor gameplay vs. realism and go for approximations in force size that don't shock the conscience. I know this is an age-old debate and whatever you decide is fine is the way the scenario shall be! There are certainly some designers (Techumseh springs immediately to mind) who strive for hyper realistic scenario OOB and his scenarios are fun to play, so what do I know. I'm just giving you another perspective.

Techumseh's more recent ww2 scenarios are definitely an inspiration to me :smoke:

I plan on making all ground squares on the map stackable. That way more realistic military engagements will happen. Still not sure how to implement the Maginot forts but perhaps a special fortress terrain type takes the place of the usual civ2 fortress.

@tootall - I think I'm pretty dead set on eliminating the Italian civ from the map. I went back to Mercator's civ2 downloads site http://civ2.mercator.fastmail.fm/mapedit/downloads.html#file0005 and found this European Map Maker, which is a quick & dirty way to make a map with mapedit (there are no good premade maps of France out there). I'm not sure quite how I want it to be scaled.

Regarding the units - I am not sure if I want to adopt a strict one unit = one regiment ratio. Obviously, that's a boatload of units. I have a couple solutions in mind to balance historical detail and gameplay. First, I think it needs to be different for different unit types, to ensure flexibility. So maybe there are more tank units and fewer infantry units than you'd expect with a strict ratio, but that's because I want them to be the focal point of the scenario. I also don't believe in making lighter weapons that were usually an integral part of a regiment or division separate units (such as MGs and mortars, and perhaps smaller infantry or AA guns). It's expected that the infantry units you see in the game 'have' those weapons. Also, there are lots of different weapons/vehicles and infantry types out there with unit graphics, but I really don't want to include too many units which are super similar to each other in capability or were not important to the campaign.

Regarding events, techs, gameplay - I am hoping the basic events.txt will be sufficient for this scenario. I don't really know what lua can do, but really I mostly want events to create units. As this is a scenario measured in days, I think reinforcements will be quite judicious for both sides (i.e. your army at the beginning is about 80% of what you can get, lots of NON units). A few units will be buildable by the Entente player but they will be expensive and limited in scope (i.e. some replacement tanks and airplanes, and maybe a reserve infantry unit with weaker stats). I also want to have a few house rules to maintain realism & fairness, such as not basing Spitfires in France and not building British units in French cities/vice versa.

I'm not sure what to do about techs but I think to add originality, the human player might research some techs that unlock exotic weapons that were in the prototype stage during the battle, or unlock reinforcements that were slated to arrive in France but were stopped because of the armistice.

@Dadais - that is definitely a possibility. The problem is making sure that the refugees are heading in the right direction, i.e. towards the Allied rear. Making them give the Germans a bonus is a little weird as I don't think many of them would have encountered the Boche at all, because they were fleeing west. Maybe making them a German unit will induce them to start 'attacking' the allied player's cities? I want to keep the number of cities on the map low, both to represent the low level of French urbanization and to keep events simple. I am thinking that once the Germans start capturing cities, refugees start appearing behind the frontline.

Another thing - in the original Drole scenario, the railroads and roads make it a bit too easy on the first turn for the Germans to make progress. They can destroy Eben-Emael with tanks on the first turn, negating the paratrooper event. So I plan on making movement even harder in my scenario. Also, in the original scen, antitank guns were useless because they had the defense bonus against units with movement rate of 2 (all the tanks in the game have 3 movement). I plan on making most armor units 2 so as to make antitank guns relevant (I want to highlight the superior combat effectiveness of Belgian 47mm guns:D
 

JPetroski

Deity
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
4,536
Still not sure how to implement the Maginot forts but perhaps a special fortress terrain type takes the place of the usual civ2 fortress.

You could always have them be a powerful defensive unit that a player is best-served avoiding? That is how I'm handling it in Hinge of Fate.

I also want to have a few house rules to maintain realism & fairness, such as not basing Spitfires in France and not building British units in French cities/vice versa.

So, by all means start with the macro, but if you get this scenario "viable" (meaning you're playtesting it, it's working, and you just want to tweak some things) it would not be that hard to implement "canBuildSettings" to make it impossible, period, to build British units in French cities, and vice versa. You can basically build the scenario in macro and deal with little things like this later. Anything you need a house rule for, probably can be handled via lua. So Just build your scenario in macro as you see fit but keep an eye out for that house rule section and if it gets too large, we're here to help.

Another thing - in the original Drole scenario, the railroads and roads make it a bit too easy on the first turn for the Germans to make progress. They can destroy Eben-Emael with tanks on the first turn, negating the paratrooper event. So I plan on making movement even harder in my scenario. Also, in the original scen, antitank guns were useless because they had the defense bonus against units with movement rate of 2 (all the tanks in the game have 3 movement). I plan on making most armor units 2 so as to make antitank guns relevant (I want to highlight the superior combat effectiveness of Belgian 47mm guns

I'm not 100% certain that the x2 vs. horse works as everyone intends it to. Again, however, lua offers solutions. For example, I'm using "combatResolution" to make sure that AT guns do better against tanks than other sorts of units.

Basically, build your scenario the way you're comfortable but anything that either annoys you or makes you compelled to write a house rule, lua can likely address and enhance. If you build this out you'll probably want to explore it eventually, but it's completely unnecessary to get a fun and functional scenario up and going.

Just as an FYI to demonstrate its power - in Hinge of Fate I use lua to "trap" the B.E.F. and render it impotent, and then I use lua to evacuate it if it isn't whittled down within 3 turns. The kind of stuff you can do with it is crazy. But, these kind of "nice to have" events are also things that can be added later.
 

Civoleon

Chieftain
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
Messages
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You could always have them be a powerful defensive unit that a player is best-served avoiding? That is how I'm handling it in Hinge of Fate.

I plan on making this a single player scenario for the Entente side. So the goal is to make sure the German player doesn't waste time attacking Maginot and goes the right way through the Ardennes. In the original Drole the German side will attack the Maginot line and eventually break through, but it doesn't slow them down much. I want to have them attacking it even less in my scenario, and so maybe have some hidden ocean squares to stop them? Maybe it's a non-issue. I do plan on making this single player at first though, because I have no experience with multiplayer :shake:

Basically, build your scenario the way you're comfortable but anything that either annoys you or makes you compelled to write a house rule, lua can likely address and enhance. If you build this out you'll probably want to explore it eventually, but it's completely unnecessary to get a fun and functional scenario up and going.

Just as an FYI to demonstrate its power - in Hinge of Fate I use lua to "trap" the B.E.F. and render it impotent, and then I use lua to evacuate it if it isn't whittled down within 3 turns. The kind of stuff you can do with it is crazy. But, these kind of "nice to have" events are also things that can be added later.

That is truly nuts! I guess I want to achieve that the poor man's way by making the Allied player human.

What I'm having trouble figuring out is giving the player a good reason to evacuate the BEF and not just keep them in the fight til they expire. Perhaps there's a chance for the human player to reuse those forces to re-deploy in Brittany if the French can hold the Germans longer. Also, to add to the difficulty of the game, I just thought of an idea - the human player in Britain has to balance what the cities are producing between military units and transport ships (to represent the difficulty of scrounging together the little ships for Dunkirk). If the player feels like he can beat the Germans on land, then he could forgo rush building a bunch of transports. If he's more conservative and wants to trade space for time, he might build up a fleet early on & prepare a Breton redoubt.

Also not sure about the government/gold situation. I don't think the economy should be super healthy. Maybe 'killing'/disposing of the refugee units could give a little gold boost?
 
Joined
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818
Hi Civoleon,

Based on some of your comments above, I've attached version 0.17 of the ToTPP reference guide to this post. Some of your concerns can be handled by ToTPP itself.

I plan on making all ground squares on the map stackable. That way more realistic military engagements will happen. Still not sure how to implement the Maginot forts but perhaps a special fortress terrain type takes the place of the usual civ2 fortress.

With the No Stack Kills feature (item #41 in the guide), there is no need to make your tiles stackable anymore. When you activate this feature, an attacking unit no longer elimnates the entire defending stack when victorious but merely the defending unit.

This applies to land, air and naval combat.

Another thing - in the original Drole scenario, the railroads and roads make it a bit too easy on the first turn for the Germans to make progress. They can destroy Eben-Emael with tanks on the first turn, negating the paratrooper event. So I plan on making movement even harder in my scenario. Also, in the original scen, antitank guns were useless because they had the defense bonus against units with movement rate of 2 (all the tanks in the game have 3 movement). I plan on making most armor units 2 so as to make antitank guns relevant (I want to highlight the superior combat effectiveness of Belgian 47mm guns:D

With the Movement Multipliers feature (item #46 in the guide), railroads no longer need to give unlimited movement to units travelling along them. When you enable this feature you can set the multiplier for your railroads, rivers, alpine, just like you do for roads.

I'm not 100% certain that the x2 vs. horse works as everyone intends it to. Again, however, lua offers solutions. For example, I'm using "combatResolution" to make sure that AT guns do better against tanks than other sorts of units.

I haven't tested this out but according to TNO this was fixed in version 0.17 in ToTPP with the Pikemen flag feature (item #25 in the guide).

Regarding the units - I am not sure if I want to adopt a strict one unit = one regiment ratio. Obviously, that's a boatload of units. I have a couple solutions in mind to balance historical detail and gameplay. First, I think it needs to be different for different unit types, to ensure flexibility.

If your looking for a selection of unit graphic for your scenario, I strongly suggest you check out Fairline's latest WWII collection which you can find here. With it you should find all the units graphics you need.

I'm not sure what to do about techs but I think to add originality, the human player might research some techs that unlock exotic weapons that were in the prototype stage during the battle, or unlock reinforcements that were slated to arrive in France but were stopped because of the armistice.

As this is a battle scenario covering a brief campaign, I don't think you need to have a particularly complicated tech tree. Besides associating the different combat units, improvements and wonders to techs, probably the majority of advances you won't even need to use (and give them the no, no prerequisites). You probably can use a few extra techs to cover some special events or special reinforcements.
 

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Dadais

King
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654
Location
France
I want to have them attacking it even less in my scenario, and so maybe have some hidden ocean squares to stop them?
ToTpp allows you both :
-To have more terrain type, up to 16 (from the 11 originals).
-To have impassable terrain type.

Guess if needed, one could set up a "Maginot No Man's Land" or sort of terrain type for germans to turn around ?
 

Civoleon

Chieftain
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
Messages
14
@tootall_2012 I am more than aware of Fairline's excellent gfx compilations - they are the reason I embarked on this in the first place! Which reminds me, I may need some new graphics to represent fortifications (there's no fortifications unit compilation I've seen out there)

Can TOTPP allow for no stack kills of ground and air units, but not sea units? I don't want to strand ground units on ocean tiles when their transport is killed.

ToTpp allows you both :
-To have more terrain type, up to 16 (from the 11 originals).
-To have impassable terrain type.

Guess if needed, one could set up a "Maginot No Man's Land" or sort of terrain type for germans to turn around ?

This seems like an acceptable solution. At the very least, I want to slow them down, as it seems that the Germans DID attack portions of the Maginot line, especially after the Dunkirk evacuation.
 
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@tootall_2012 I am more than aware of Fairline's excellent gfx compilations - they are the reason I embarked on this in the first place! Which reminds me, I may need some new graphics to represent fortifications (there's no fortifications unit compilation I've seen out there)

I've attached a compendium of fortifications graphics I gathered over the years. I hope it proves useful to you.

Can TOTPP allow for no stack kills of ground and air units, but not sea units? I don't want to strand ground units on ocean tiles when their transport is killed.

No worries there. Any cargo loaded unto ships also gets eliminated if the transport is sunk. As per the ToTPP reference guide:

41. No stack kills: Enables the @COSMIC2 key 'NoStackKills'
When enabled with value 1, unit stacks are not removed in their entirety after defeat.

The particular mechanics depend on the domain:
- For land stacks, only the defender is killed;
- For ship stacks carrying land units the defender is sunk together with its cargo;
- For ships carrying air units (i.e. carriers or submarines) the defender is sunk and the air units remain.

Defaults to 0, disabled.
 

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Civoleon

Chieftain
Joined
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Messages
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I've attached a compendium of fortifications graphics I gathered over the years. I hope it proves useful to you.



No worries there. Any cargo loaded unto ships also gets eliminated if the transport is sunk. As per the ToTPP reference guide:

41. No stack kills: Enables the @COSMIC2 key 'NoStackKills'
When enabled with value 1, unit stacks are not removed in their entirety after defeat.

The particular mechanics depend on the domain:
- For land stacks, only the defender is killed;
- For ship stacks carrying land units the defender is sunk together with its cargo;
- For ships carrying air units (i.e. carriers or submarines) the defender is sunk and the air units remain.

Defaults to 0, disabled.

Thank you for that forts & ships compilation! Really helpful.
 
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