The Hinge of Fate - Development Thread

JPetroski

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Well, I've been dropping enough hints in other threads that I suppose it's time this one has it's own. I've been building a scenario called The Hinge of Fate ("HoF") for the past several years that details the European Theatre of WW2. I'd argue it is pretty darn close to being completed, and I thought I'd start a thread now for preliminary feedback and also, hopefully, to give you all something to look forward to this winter.

HoF is a SP-only scenario that is playable, at this time, as only the Germans. It takes place from May 1940 - Winter of 1946, with each turn representing 2 weeks.

It is a four-map scenario, with true east-west movement (human) and west --> east movement (AI), so there's a vigorous Battle of the Atlantic. The other two maps are high-altitude daylight, and high-altitude night maps where the Luftwaffe faces off against the Allied air forces as they did in OTR, with @Knighttime 's strategic bombing mechanism put to full use.

The Two Main Maps
upload_2021-12-10_22-7-4.png
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156 Unit Slots & Over 500 skins
You didn't read that wrong - there are 156 unit slots "of sorts" in this scenario. No, they aren't simply reskins. With lua's ability to transform, delete, and teleport units, I've brought minor nations to life for the short time they exist and managed to reuse slots with multiple nations. Further, I've done my best to make Patine's requests not go down in vain :p by using as many skins as possible throughout the scenario from our great artists.

The Battle of the Atlantic & The Skies Over the Reich

In many prior WW2 scenarios, the Battle of the Atlantic was hard to represent properly. Most of the time, the German player might get a cash bonus if they sunk a freighter, which was awkward. In HoF, winning the Battle of the Atlantic is crucial if you want to have any chance in the skies over Europe and Malta. When Allied freighters make it to Europe, they spawn bombing raids that will attack your cities and units. Thus, your industry and ability to wage war will depend on shutting these down at the source.

Fuel
Gold represents fuel in this scenario, as in OTR. While you start with very large reserves, these will dwindle as units are activated. The Reich will need to pursue rich oil fields in the Caucuses to fuel their economy, or invest in synthetic fuel refineries to up with demand.

Dunkirk & The Battle of Britain
Taking a page from @tootall_2012 's Napoleon, you'll need to do your best to annihilate the BEF at Dunkirk to make an eventual invasion of Britain possible. Even so, you cannot attack until you've gained air superiority and have driven the RAF from the skies of Southern England.

Malta and the Afrika Korps
The island of Malta is very much a thorn in Rommel's side. The Afrika Korps reinforces via cargo ships from Taranto. When Malta is neutralized, these can cross the Mediterranean freely, but when Maltese defenders have strength, submarines and aircraft are a grave threat (the cargo ships suddenly have trireme characteristics and must stay near land).

Barbarossa
In the spring of '41 you'll be prompted each turn to launch Operation Barbarossa or not. You can delay it as long as you'd like, but every turn that you do, the Red Bear grows stronger.

The Resistance and Commandos
You'll want to keep strong forces in occupied Europe, lest the Resistance or Commando raids take over your cities and cause sabotage. The stronger your occupation, the less chance of danger.

Dynamic, Random Invasions
Just as in history, Germany could never be quite sure where the Allies would land. Will Normandy still be the target, or will they take a different route? Likewise, will they attack Sicily first, or land in Sardinia, or Greece?

And oh, so much more...

Playtesting is currently going forth. I'm still at the stage where each 20 turns brings dozens of necessary changes so we're in for a bit before I can release it to others. However, most events with the exception of events for the invasion of the U.S. are complete, and most of the scenario is "finished." I am also debating whether or not I leave in Allied aircraft carriers (which would require scripting to make useful, and probably isn't worth it in Europe) or if I simply use the slot for a recon of some sort as there currently is none (this is probably wiser).

More posts to follow with the unit art but here's a few to start:

Units below
Spoiler :


Summer, 1940
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Winter, 1940-1941
upload_2021-12-10_21-56-18.png


Summer, 1941
upload_2021-12-10_21-56-46.png


Winter, 1941-1942
upload_2021-12-10_21-57-7.png


Summer, 1942
upload_2021-12-10_21-57-32.png


Winter 1942-1943
upload_2021-12-10_21-57-53.png


Summer, 1943
upload_2021-12-10_21-58-37.png


Winter, 1943-1944
upload_2021-12-10_21-59-2.png

 
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Reserved

Questions, comments, or proposed different art is all welcome!
 
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Hi John,

I'm looking forward to your scenario with great anticipation.

Sounds like you have the play testing well in hand. I'm sure I'll have my share of questions and feedback once you release it! :)
 
Sounds like you have the play testing well in hand. I'm sure I'll have my share of questions and feedback once you release it

Yes, it's at the point now where I'd only drive people nuts handing it to them so I'm doing things in house, but it's also at the point where most of what remains to be done is "cosmetic" or a "tweak" so I figured it was time to start a thread.
 
Would you folks be offended if there weren't AI aircraft carriers in this one? I'm thinking it probably is necessary to have some sort of recon unit and need a slot, and I don't really know that they're necessary in this scenario. If in, I'm going to need to figure out a way to make them actually work (which might be better served for a Pacific scenario some day).
 
That looks gorgeous !

Maps look incredibles.
Gameplay ideas each more wonderfull than the other are brought together.


I'm quite curious about your units evolution process ?

The unit.type change shall be brought with Lua.
What about the pictures ? Are you using a delevent, or some incredible new feature with the lua civ.ui library I missed ?

Truely impressive indeed.
 
I'm taking the wife to the movies (first date in about 2 years) but I'll explain the process later so others can use it.
 
Looks excellent JP. A few minor pedantic quibbles over some of the units:

Use Cruiser IV in place of Cruiser I in winter 40-41

Crusader AA tanks were only used in NWE from Normandy '44

BT-5 and BT-7 were 30's - early war tanks. They, and most T-26s had been destroyed by mid/late war. You probably want T-60s or T-70s as your Soviet late war light tank

Probably want a Hurricane IID or IVD in place of the Typhoon as a ground attack aircraft in Summer 42

The Heavy Panzer Abteilung were all Heer when the Tiger was introduced, and subsequently all became SS units by 44(?) - there were no Army Tiger units in the late war. I would use the medium German tank progression with PzIV -- Panther for the SS panzer divisions and just rebadge the Tigers with an SS badge for later in the War
 
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Looks excellent JP. A few minor pedantic quibbles over some of the units:

See, this is why I post this. I figured you'd have some advice. I rally appreciate your taking the time to catch the issues and am glad there weren't too many! I'll make most of the changes. The only one I am going to have to resist is the latter, simply because in this scenario the Waffen SS Division is a special/unique unit built in very low numbers, so I think it'd confuse everyone to brand the Tigers with SS badges. Remember, this might be a world where the industries aren't smashed, massive losses haven't been incurred, and the entire Wehrmacht can afford to outfit their panzer divisions with whatever tanks they want! Even so, I can throw in a season or two of Panther time for the SS divisions as well.

I'm quite curious about your units evolution process ?

So I'm using a batch file to swap out all of the art, rules files, etc. Not sure if they're still necessary or not (I mean, if you really wanted to, I think you can switch the art with lua as we did it in Caesar and you could, at the least, change whatever attributes you needed in lua too, such as unit name, attack etc., but I didn't do this). Given this, the process to change units over and get new slots is as follows.

Suppose you're going to instruct players on turn 10 to use the batch file, and you want, say, a Hurricane, to become a Ta152. Obviously, without doing some busy work behind the scenes, on the next turn, you'd have Britain with a ton of Ta152s, which you don't want. So...

On turn 9, I take every Hurricane in the game and "upgrade it" to a Spitfire.
On turn 10, the batch file changes the Hurricane slot into what I want.
Also on turn 10 (or 9 if you want), I do a for loop for all cities in the game that might be building the Hurricane, and make them build a Spitfire (or whatever) instead. This means that going forward, the British civ won't accidentally build any Ta152s.

It's a pretty simple process but it would allow one to basically have many more units. I think a similar process could also be used to get more than 7 civs if you wanted to build some long scenario where you intend to have certain ones die out. You'd just recycle one of the slots over and over again. I have a Roman scenario in the "dreaming stages" where I'm thinking of turning, say, Carthage, into Parthia eventually. Basically, just do just this with the units but also recycle cities. If some Carthaginian cities are still around at a certain time, make an excuse like "The Carthaginian society has entered a dark age as their government breaks down and their towns decentralize." Move the current Carthaginian cities into barbarian cities, and take over some barbarian cities out east to create Parthia.

In sum, lua is frigging cool, but then you know that :)
 
I think you can switch the art with lua as we did it in Caesar and you could, at the least, change whatever attributes you needed in lua too
That was my big interrogation.
Considering the civ.ui.loadTerrain function, I was wondering if @TheNamelessOne or @Prof. Garfield displayed a kind off civ.ui.loadUnit function in the same idea.

I was indeed dreaming of avoiding batch files (pretty conservative obsession from mine there).

Anyway, that's still an incredible creative developpement of lua uses you are demonstrating there !
Much thanks on this pioneering.
 
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I mean, if there was a load unit function, you could set unitType name, attack, defense, attributes, etc. "OnTurn" (or whatever) and avoid batch files altogether. I think the art swap is the only thing holding this back at this time--the text files can mostly be changed.
 
Would you folks be offended if there weren't AI aircraft carriers in this one? I'm thinking it probably is necessary to have some sort of recon unit and need a slot, and I don't really know that they're necessary in this scenario. If in, I'm going to need to figure out a way to make them actually work (which might be better served for a Pacific scenario some day).

I think this wouldn't be a problem. The AI isn't capable to use the carriers like they should, so why wasting a free unit slot for it.
 
Hi John,

I don’t intend to flood you with questions prior to your release but since you asked I have some preliminary feedback:

As we know American light and escort carriers played a vital role in reducing the Atlantic air coverage gap and formed the backbone of the ASW hunter groups that ultimately defeated the German Wolf packs. How do you intend to simulate this important aspect of the naval battle?

British carriers played not only an important supporting role in controlling the Atlantic but in hunting down German surface vessels. They also played a key role in keeping Malta supplied (having to fight many air battles in the central Mediterranean against the German and Italian air forces to do so). How do you intend to simulate this important aspect of the naval battle?

You indicated that invading North America is one of the decisive victory condition requirements. Without carriers, how will the Luftwaffe be able to support any such invasion without a carrier force? Assuming Germany successfully invades the continent, how will it be able to transfer air units there?

What made you decide to include the conquest of the North American Atlantic coast as a requirement for a German decisive victory? As far as I’m aware this was never a Nazi war aim and seems somewhat out of scope for Germany to achieve within the game's timeframe. The conquest of Europe itself was Hitler's true aim and he believed would have been sufficient to force America to sue for peace in the event he was successful.

Finally, you indicated that each turn will represent 2 weeks, which in my opinion is a good decision for such a large map. Though in terms of the historical 6 week French campaign this would only represent 3 turns to defeat that nation. In your testing so far, is this feasible or does it typically take longer?
 
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I don’t intend to flood you with questions prior to your release but since you asked I have some preliminary feedback:

Oh by all means - I'd rather have it now when there's time to consider it. Fire away.

As we know American light and escort carriers played a vital role in reducing the Atlantic air coverage gap and formed the backbone of the ASW hunter groups that ultimately defeated the German Wolf packs. How do you intend to simulate this important aspect of the naval battle?

British carriers played not only an important supporting role in controlling the Atlantic but in hunting down German surface vessels. They also played a key role in keeping Malta supplied (having to fight many air battles in the central Mediterranean against the German and Italian air forces to do so). How do you intend to simulate this important aspect of the naval battle?

Frankly, I'm proposing throwing in the towel with AI aircraft carriers in this scenario and perhaps focusing on that more when I make my Pacific War scenario, The Sleeping Giant. This isn't to downplay the importance of the escort carrier in the Atlantic, however, in game play purposes, what is really necessary is simply having U-Boats die, which they do very well via destroyers attacking them, and also simply from losing hit points attacking freighters over time. While getting an aircraft carrier to work would be good, I don't need it for the BoA to play out in a nail-biting way, so I just don't know if it's worth keeping that unit when I could sorely use the slot for a camera/spy unit.

My other option would be to ax the French BBs, but in this scenario Germany can't build BC or BB's ever, which makes the units important. Capturing the French and Italian Fleets is a big deal if you want to invade America successfully some day.

As to Malta, it's simulated by having freighters get close to it. If they make it to Malta, two things happen:

1. They get actual air units to attack German shipping with;
2. German shipping gets the trireme flag if there are too many air units near Malta.

The second is important because Italy is a distinct faction. If Germany chooses to intervene in Africa, they take over the African cities plus Taranto and get an airbase for X. Fliegerkorps in Sicily. Taranto is one of two cities that can produce the cargo ship, but this doesn't actually carry units. Instead, if it makes it to Africa, and presses "k" in an African port such as Tripoli, reinforcements for the Afrika Korps arrive. Hence, if Malta is not neutralized, reinforcements will dry up, and Afrika will be lost.

So, I don't really need an aircraft carrier for this to play out when the Allied freighter suffices.


You indicated that invading North America is one of the decisive victory condition requirements. Without carriers, how will the Luftwaffe be able to support any such invasion without a carrier force? Assuming Germany successfully invades the continent, how will it be able to transfer air units there?

Germany can build aircraft carriers as a human is quite adept at them. Also, later in the game German bombers can fly from Europe to America if Germany gets the Ho229 ("Amerikabomber").

What made you decide to include the conquest of the North American Atlantic coast as a requirement for a German decisive victory? As far as I’m aware this was never a Nazi war aim and seems somewhat out of scope for Germany to achieve within the game's timeframe. The conquest of Europe itself was Hitler's true aim and he believed would have been sufficient to force America to sue for peace in the event he was successful.

To be honest, simply because it's there. Germany wins a marginal victory if they subdue Britain and Russia, but a total victory if they conquer America as well.

Finally, you indicated that each turn will represent 2 weeks, which in my opinion is a good decision for such a large map. Though in terms of the historical 6 week French campaign this would only represent 3 turns to defeat that nation. In your testing so far, is this feasible or does it typically take longer?

Yes, actually. I've playtested the Battle of France, Battle of Britain, and Operation Sea Lion 4-5 times now. It is absolutely possible to conquer France in 3 turns (you only need to capture Paris, Cherbourg, and Brest - much like the victory requirements you have in Napoleon). However, you may find it challenging to conquer France that quickly and annihilate the BEF at Dunkirk during the same time (and you must - you only have 3 turns to destroy the BEF or else England gets bonuses that make Sea Lion much more difficult).

As to the Battle of Britain, it also took inspiration from Napoleon (honestly, playing your scenario and getting my butt handed to me by the AI was "the" inspiration to really get cracking on this scenario). You must reduce the RAF. Right now I'm playing with how to balance that. In my first few play tests I was able to beat the RAF most times, so I've added 1+ hurricane per turn to force the Germans to shoot down at least 2 to make progress. We'll see how that goes in the next few playtests.

If you don't beat the RAF in 1940 you do lose the opportunity to invade Britain until Russia is dealt with. Conquering Russia does allow Germany the tech to invade Britain later. However, a Britain that remains alive is cumbersome and challenging for Germany as they need to keep troops in the west to guard against Commando Raids, and, of course, there's the the RAF and later USAAF bombing campaigns to contend with.

Hope this all helps you understand the gameplay/mechanics/choices better.
 
That was my big interrogation.
Considering the civ.ui.loadTerrain function, I was wondering if @TheNamelessOne or @Prof. Garfield displayed a kind off civ.ui.loadUnit function in the same idea.

I was indeed dreaming of avoiding batch files (pretty conservative obsession from mine there).

This would indeed a dream, if it would be possible to switch art like units or maybe city styles completely via LUA.

I mean, if there was a load unit function, you could set unitType name, attack, defense, attributes, etc. "OnTurn" (or whatever) and avoid batch files altogether. I think the art swap is the only thing holding this back at this time--the text files can mostly be changed.

At the moment, the names of unit types, improvements, and advances are only 'get' fields, so they can't be changed with Lua, in addition to the art. I did suggest this to @TheNamelessOne , around the same time I suggested making the spaceship fields setable. Since the latter was done, I presume that there is some sort of technical difficulty with changing names.

Interestingly, the city art styles can be changed between the 7 available art styles using leader.cityStyle, but, based on a quick test, not for the human player (and also not after industrialization triggers new city style).

so I just don't know if it's worth keeping that unit when I could sorely use the slot for a camera/spy unit.

If you just need to investigate cities, you can achieve that with events.

Code:
gen.isCityInvestigated(city)-->boolean
gen.setCityInvestigated(city)-->void
gen.clearCityInvestigated(city)-->void
 
Hi John,

Thank you for taking the time to reply as I'm certain the play testing is undoubtedly keeping you extremely busy.

I'll wait and see once I get my hands on the scenario to see how the whole invasion of America aspect of the game works out before making any further judgements.

I fully understand the whole aircraft carrier dilemma. It's a well know fact that the AI simply doesn't know how to use them and more often than not is likely to disembark its air units to base them on land. On the other hand just throwing out a quick idea, in case it might be of interest to you:

How about using lua to inflict hit points on any German, or Italian (provided it is at war), naval or submarine unit that is on an ocean tile within x number of tiles of an Allied carrier unit. For example:
  • Any Axis surface vessel that starts the turn on an ocean tile and is say within 8 tiles of a carrier could randomly suffer between 10 to 30 hit points damage
  • Any Axis submarine unit that is within 5 tiles of a carrier could suffer 0 to 20 hit points damage to reflect the more stealthier mode (Type XXII submarines could be even harder to hit).
Distance and damage could also be changed based on the season (higher distance and damage rates in summer versus winter time).

This isn't a mechanism I would favour for a Pacific scenario but for the war in Europe I believe it could work relatively well.

Finally, you may have already indicated so but I'm uncertain, will there be summer/winter seasons?
 
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