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> Battle Of Quebec Project, A detailed, long-term map project
Cycophant
post Jul 7 2006, 12:34 PM
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Hey everyone!

I'm a fellow mapper who's been doing small project for clans and individual servers for a little while now; I just came back to HL2 after a good 8 month hiatus, and with another 2 months to kill until I return to college, I felt a good map project was in the works. I was always a big fan of BG2, so this is partly my way of helping the mod out too. Espescially since it's one of only a few mods for HL2 that actually seem dedicated, so I know the map won't be useless in 2 months time because the mod went belly-up.

Here's my idea thus far:
A map based off of the Battle of Quebec; the scene of General Montgomery's death and one of the few battles fought on Canadian soil in the Revolutionary War. I'm a fellow Canadian, which is partially why I chose the battle, but also because it offers some things unique to BG2. For one, it offers the possibility of "urban combat" (and I use that term loosely - don't think I'm turning BG into Counter Strike) while still immersed in the historical atmosphere. As well, after playing gRanTeLbArT's snowlake map, I feel BG could do with more snow maps. Plus some other secrets I'll reveal in time.

I've got sketches on paper. I've worked out some initial problems (like how the original battle wasn't really conducive to an online multiplayer game...), but I want to do some more "research" before I start working on it in Hammer.

I want this project to be different. I'd love fellow mapper support (since I want this map to be polished and playable, and I'm a little rusty with some of the details of mapping), and more importantly, I want feedback from the community (the players). That way, once the map is done, people will WANT to play it, and it might be fun right from the beginning.

So, from a player perspective: looking at the current crop of maps for BG2, list some things you really like. List some of the things you don't like. List some ideas you have, but haven't seen yet. Heck, even just chime in and say "Yeah, this sounds like a good idea.", or "I don't think this map will work, and here's why...". That's the kind of stuff I'm looking for. So post your opinions and thoughts, and help me make this one of the really good BG maps. Thanks everyone.
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gRanTeLbArT
post Jul 7 2006, 12:46 PM
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there are a lot of useful new snow props in .17. yes, battle of quebec is pretty promising topic, gl with your map


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tomdon
post Jul 7 2006, 01:04 PM
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QUOTE(gRanTeLbArT @ Jul 7 2006, 01:46 PM) [snapback]22595[/snapback]

there are a lot of useful new snow props in .17. yes, battle of quebec is pretty promising topic, gl with your map


Its only taken me the best part of a year to add those to a release.
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Cyris
post Jul 7 2006, 01:25 PM
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yeah i think this will be a very good project. I was working on some detailed house prefabs so if i finish them and u want any u could have em, might even make some snow/roof textures for em.
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Cycophant
post Jul 11 2006, 05:52 PM
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Well, I've got a good start on the map. I've got the layout the way I want it, the timings from either spawn seem to be even, and the map has a nice flow to it.

As I was doing the timings though, I began to wonder - is the map too big? I'm used to making larger maps for high amounts of players, but the BG community isn't that large and except for one or two servers, the number of players rarely goes above 10-12.

I don't have any screenshots yet to give anyone a sense of scale, but the timings are available. The Brits (defending) take 15 seconds to get to the first flag, and upwards of 45 seconds to reach the final flag in a dead sprint. The Americans (attacking) reach the first flag after 30 seconds, but the final flag takes almost a full minute in a dead sprint. To me, this seems a little too long, and I feel players will get frustrated and bored.

Depending on the feedback here, I can try to shorten the distances to run. But I'd much rather implement moveable spawns; the word on the forums though is that they're broken. But after playing the Powderstores map, it does appear that it's doable. What's the final word on moveable spawns as of .17?

Oh, and to Cyris: I'd love some prefabs (super-mega-bonus points if it's got snow on it) if you're willing to donate them to the map. I'll be sure to give credit where it's due.

This post has been edited by Cycophant: Jul 11 2006, 05:54 PM
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gRanTeLbArT
post Jul 11 2006, 06:00 PM
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are there alternative routes? It appears to be a battle in a city, so there could/should be some


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Cycophant
post Jul 11 2006, 07:19 PM
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Yes - the general shape of the map is a "W"; the Americans start on either side, while the British defend from the center. On top of that, each path has a few little "offshoots" that give a little bit of variety, hopefully without diluting the fighting.

Also, while I've got you here Grantelbart, I'd like your permission to use the snow textures you used with your snowlake map. Finding some good snow textures is proving to be more difficult than I thought and the ones in snowlake look good.
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gRanTeLbArT
post Jul 11 2006, 07:28 PM
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you can use them, I dont mind, but they are custom textures so dont forget to make a .res file for the map

the snow, dirt and ice textures are directly ported hl1 textures edited by myself (and jackhammer) with my limited texturing skills, but they somehow do work okay with snowlake


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Cycophant
post Jul 26 2006, 03:16 PM
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All right, a quick update time! I've finally got the map close to the point where I'm ok with presenting it to the public tongue.gif. I'd say the map is about 80% done for an initial beta test; most of the visuals are in place, I'm just solidifying the sounds and other ambience, and then I'll go back and add little bits of detail to finalize the map. After that, I'm hoping to get a test with a few players to see how it works, and to hopefully find any remaining bugs.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Onto the screenshots (I've kept them as thumbnails - click for better detail):

IPB Image
This is a quick shot of the American spawn. Although not historically accurate, in this map the Americans start in an underground tunnel, allowing access to two different paths they can take. The British start in-town, and must defend the Americans from the two seperate paths. This creates some interesting challenges for both teams. (Note: the shot looks darker than it actually appears in-game, but nonetheless there won't be any fighting going on here anyway, so it's not a big deal)

IPB Image
This is a view as the Americans leave their tunnels and take the route through town. Off to the left is the St. Lawerence river, while Lower Town begins on the right.

IPB Image
This is the other path the Americans can take: up the side of the cliff, past the palisades and past the blockhouse, a great defense/chokepoint for the British. A well-organized American force can find a quick way of overcoming the Americans in the blockhouse and avoiding the deathtrap, however.

IPB Image
This is a shot looking up one of the back roads of town towards the church. This is about halfway through the town path.

IPB Image
A shot looking up the main road. The final flag will be placed in the courtyard up ahead, and past the wall and up the hill lies the British spawnpoint. This will be the final battleground; should the Americans take the final flag, the British will lose.


Anyway, that's enough for now. Comments/suggestions are very much welcome. Off to continue working on the map...
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Nathan Hale
post Jul 26 2006, 04:28 PM
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That looks really nice so far. How big is the size, would you say, for maybe 18-20 people? The thing about maps with streets and such is that they have to still be big enough to host large numbers without bogging down with deathmatch spawn killings and the like. I know you said the player numbers usually are fairly small. The problem in the past with basing maps on small player sizes is that they end up bogging down when more players jump in. I think I would actually err on the size of a little bigger. If the map is too big for the number of players, then most servers let them vote onto another map anyway. With too small you get that New_England problem where it turns to free for all chaos. I suppose you could do a large and a small version, but that's a lot of time too. If you want it to be played in a competitive setting like a ladder or a league then you have those concerns as well- and you'd have to look at the player numbers there.

This is a promising map though for sure. I like it.

This post has been edited by Nathan Hale: Jul 26 2006, 04:39 PM


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Forlorn_Hope
post Jul 26 2006, 05:08 PM
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Map looks lovely smile.gif I'd be careful with all that running though. Remember, most servers only play a map 20 -> 30 minutes. Really, I'd have to play it to see how it feels, though.


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Cycophant
post Jul 26 2006, 05:09 PM
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When I had initially started building the map, I was unsure on how big to make it, but like you, I agreed that we could use some "larger" maps to get away from the chaos that a 15-20 player server can turn into on many of the smaller maps.

The map more or less evolved into something I really think will work well with a lot of players. I've got enough spawns for 32 (16 on each side), and with the exception of the very end of play when only one flag remains, I feel the map is large enough to comfortably play this many. This is one of the benefits of there existing two different paths for the teams to take; each time a player spawns, they have to make a choice of which direction to go. I'm hoping this leads to a very dynamic battle that moves around as players change routes.

I've also spent a LOT of time optimizing this beast. Outdoor maps don't lend themselves to this, and I've noticed a lot of BG maps run sluggishly because of this. I've kept a close eye on the budget graph to ensure there will be minimal, if any slowdowns. Once I get a server full of people on it, I'll be able to tell for sure, but certainly it has been much better optimized than I figured even I could do.

Ironically, I'm now worried that the map won't play as well as I'd like with smaller numbers (less than 4 or so per team) - this will likely also disqualify it from league games, but since I wasn't too concerned about this from the beginning, I'm not surprised.

But I'll have to see what it plays like on a server, and I'm totally open to the idea of changing things around to suit the community. Whether it be more pathways, less walking, larger open spaces, closer spawns...the possibilities are all there.
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Nathan Hale
post Jul 26 2006, 10:33 PM
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QUOTE(Cycophant @ Jul 26 2006, 01:09 PM) [snapback]23405[/snapback]

When I had initially started building the map, I was unsure on how big to make it, but like you, I agreed that we could use some "larger" maps to get away from the chaos that a 15-20 player server can turn into on many of the smaller maps.

The map more or less evolved into something I really think will work well with a lot of players. I've got enough spawns for 32 (16 on each side), and with the exception of the very end of play when only one flag remains, I feel the map is large enough to comfortably play this many. This is one of the benefits of there existing two different paths for the teams to take; each time a player spawns, they have to make a choice of which direction to go. I'm hoping this leads to a very dynamic battle that moves around as players change routes.

I've also spent a LOT of time optimizing this beast. Outdoor maps don't lend themselves to this, and I've noticed a lot of BG maps run sluggishly because of this. I've kept a close eye on the budget graph to ensure there will be minimal, if any slowdowns. Once I get a server full of people on it, I'll be able to tell for sure, but certainly it has been much better optimized than I figured even I could do.

Ironically, I'm now worried that the map won't play as well as I'd like with smaller numbers (less than 4 or so per team) - this will likely also disqualify it from league games, but since I wasn't too concerned about this from the beginning, I'm not surprised.

But I'll have to see what it plays like on a server, and I'm totally open to the idea of changing things around to suit the community. Whether it be more pathways, less walking, larger open spaces, closer spawns...the possibilities are all there.




Yeah I like the two paths idea. You get hardcore choke downs on some maps that have only one path to take (Ambush comes to mind). Some map makers like this but I think for a Quebec style battle you'd have to have a couple paths as it's supposed to represent a whole city with a variety of streets. As for size- I think that's something that has to be tweaked with testing. Get your best estimate in the making and then run some tests with players. That should give an idea as to how it will work.


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Tront
post Jul 27 2006, 08:57 AM
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Hi, very nice looking project, we have a very popular UK server with fast redirect download, which is full from lunch time till late at night.

At this point we are running 26 slots (plus one for a TV bot) but can easily knock that up to 32 (box connected to the UK internet back bone on a 100mb) so if you would like a public test and a full server we would be happy to help out.

Server ip: 217.158.150.71:27090

Keep up the good work


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Cycophant
post Jul 27 2006, 11:57 AM
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QUOTE(Tront @ Jul 27 2006, 04:57 AM) [snapback]23444[/snapback]

Hi, very nice looking project, we have a very popular UK server with fast redirect download, which is full from lunch time till late at night.

At this point we are running 26 slots (plus one for a TV bot) but can easily knock that up to 32 (box connected to the UK internet back bone on a 100mb) so if you would like a public test and a full server we would be happy to help out.

Server ip: 217.158.150.71:27090

Keep up the good work


Heh, I play on your server all the time actually. It would be much appreciated if you'd let me do a test on it; I'd be quite grateful.

Don't worry about the 32-player thing. I just put that many spawn points in case at some point a server that supports that many players wants to use it. Plus I figured the map could handle that many without any problems. But the usual server size of 20+ is fine by me.

I'll probably get the map out and released by tomorrow, barring any weird problems. I'll get in touch, and see if we can get a public playtest at some point this weekend. Once again, it's most appreciated.
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jackx
post Jul 27 2006, 02:17 PM
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Looking good, I'm very much looking forward to seeing this released...

one question though: how accessible will the houses along the streets be?


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sigge
post Jul 27 2006, 02:33 PM
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those 2 last pics impressed me, im sure i will like this map


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Cycophant
post Jul 27 2006, 06:44 PM
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QUOTE(jackx @ Jul 27 2006, 10:17 AM) [snapback]23449[/snapback]

Looking good, I'm very much looking forward to seeing this released...

one question though: how accessible will the houses along the streets be?


At the moment, only a select one or two houses are "open" - and they were specifically placed to allow the British to better defend their flags. At the moment, none are really in a "strategic" place for the Americans to use.

Opening up more of the houses was certainly something I considered; however I worried it would offer too great a temptation to lurk in houses rather than attempting flags and such. But realistically, I just want to see how it plays with some people, then I might re-visit the idea and add a few strategic houses to occupy.
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Nathan Hale
post Jul 27 2006, 06:48 PM
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QUOTE(Tront @ Jul 27 2006, 04:57 AM) [snapback]23444[/snapback]

Hi, very nice looking project, we have a very popular UK server with fast redirect download, which is full from lunch time till late at night.

At this point we are running 26 slots (plus one for a TV bot) but can easily knock that up to 32 (box connected to the UK internet back bone on a 100mb) so if you would like a public test and a full server we would be happy to help out.

Server ip: 217.158.150.71:27090

Keep up the good work




I can recommend this server as one of the most reliable out there for the test. I've played on it and despite being in the US, it still runs well.



Cyc: Will there be a download direct or will we have to get it through connection to the test server?

If I recall the Americans attacked primarily a body of New England-based troops, most of which were militia and irregular northerners. I don't have the exact stats and units offhand though. I have them in the book collection somewhere and I'll try and dig up some numbers so in the readme you could have a "historical suggested class limit" for servers out there who want to maximize realism on the map. The map should, as I see it is, be at night and in the winter. There could be a couple of pro-British barracades in the streets as the local residents of the city threw up some small barracades to defend the city. The majority of the fighting was street fighting. I think you're dead-on with the house thing Cycophant. The fighting shouldn't be house to house but should be street-oriented. The British should command a couple defense-friendly houses as they held and knew the city the best.


Here are a few numbers though;
The Americans set out for Quebec in the fall of 1775 with 1000 volunteers. Before reaching the city, probably 350-400 turned back. So American forces, in total should run about 600 or so in Arnold's command. Another 300 were under Montgomery. The vast majority of the volunteers were New England militia. Now in those days different militia units varied between towns and colonies. Some militia were more heavily armed than others. Pure "Continental Army" troops didn't even really exist in this offensive at the time, as the war was quite new. In fact, Washington only took command of a "Continental" force in July at Boston. The American soldiers of the period really only had their basic militia training. I suppose it's tempting to suggest the American side should be composed entirely of "minutemen" because they are the game's militia. That presents a gameplay issue though. Moreover, not all militia carried light duty hunting or fighting muskets. Indeed, many carried heavy duty Bess or Charleville type military pieces. Sometimes the word "regulars" pops up to describe forces in the American side. This is a bit misleading as a "regular" for the Americans in 1775 is just a glorified militiaman. Most of the militia involved could be described as pretty good shots, having to hunt for food often and also having been in service with the militia for most of their lives. In terms of what each and every soldier carried, we'll never know. We can say, however that these militia would not have had the shock charge bayonet power that British regulars had. I think the "suggested historical class" balance should favor the minute man class for the Americans in a slight majority. It reflects the lower charging power of the New England militia on the whole. Their movement is slower, which also reflects the long and tiring march to Quebec through the snow. Many of Arnold's men were totally exhausted from the march to get there alone. There were quite a few heavier militia there too who had true military muskets. So they could fall under the "Continental" class in a sizeable minority. The British/Canadians should have a stronger charge though, being fresher and more confident in their own streets.

Casualty numbers I've seen are roughly:
American: 50-60 killed, 350 or so captured (that's a lot considering they started with 1000 men total)
British/Canadian: 5-10 killed, probably 15-20 or so wounded

The numbers there vary somewhat, but the balance always favors the British/Canadian forces strongly. The American side of things ended up a disaster.

The British had a mix of mostly Canadian militia augmented by a minority of British regulars. The Loyalists are the irregular troops of the British side, but they lack bayonets and use rifles. I would actually say the british side should favor a use of regular royal infantry on the map, simply because Canadian militia units would've had British-style muskets with bayonets. But hey a few Loyalists in the mix wouldn't be so inaccurate, especially considering some of the local Canadian militia were just towns people who joined in the defense using hunting type pieces. There were also several points in the battle in which the British mounted street charges to drive back the New England militia. In fact, the deciding point in the battle was when the defenders mounted a solid charge against the Americans after Morgan's men (Arnold's men really, but he was wounded and Morgan in command) took the first barracade. They were successful in the charge (eventually driving the Morgan/Arnold men from the city), so the greater hitting power at close range and speed of the Royal Infantry class wouldn't be bad from this standpoint. Hey we have to balance gameplay in right?

So I think overall, for servers who want hardcore realism in this map, the Americans should have a small majority of Minutemen over Continental Class. The British a strong majority of Royal Infantry over Loyalists. Commanders shoould be small in number but present as well (hey they had officers right?). These are just my rough suggestions, take them for what you will. It's just a loose guide for people who want a historical style battle on this map. I think it would actually be sort of fun to start out with these forces (you take on the handicaps that the actual commanders did) and see if you can do better than Arnold/Morgan/Montgomery did in trying to take the city.

This post has been edited by Nathan Hale: Jul 27 2006, 07:38 PM


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jackx
post Jul 27 2006, 07:06 PM
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The problem with that is that so far, neither side has a musket-armed "irregular" class...


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Nathan Hale
post Jul 27 2006, 07:41 PM
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True- I've edited the post above to that concern- for a few little things to try and balance that issue out somewhat. It's rough because we don't have the dead-on proper classes but I think we can get somewhat closer than a random spawning.

This post has been edited by Nathan Hale: Jul 27 2006, 07:42 PM


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jackx
post Jul 27 2006, 08:03 PM
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Skins should do the trick.
With the Jaeger and Rifleman coming in, we could move the minuteman and loyalist to alternate skins for the regulars, the differences between the revo and cv are minor anyways... then give mappers an option to pick one, and otherwise leave the choice to the players


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Nathan Hale
post Jul 27 2006, 09:03 PM
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QUOTE(jackx @ Jul 27 2006, 04:03 PM) [snapback]23469[/snapback]

Skins should do the trick.
With the Jaeger and Rifleman coming in, we could move the minuteman and loyalist to alternate skins for the regulars, the differences between the revo and cv are minor anyways... then give mappers an option to pick one, and otherwise leave the choice to the players


My thoughts exactly- just some "variety" classes with the standard musket and bayonet arms but different skins to add to the mixture. You'd have what- 4 musket classes (a 'regular' and a militia style on both sides), the 2 commanders, and a rifle class on both sides (Jager and Frontiersman). That actually would work out pretty well I think. I'm iffy on keeping the Revo, much as I like the model and sking that could be ported over from 1.0f. The Revo was a 1777 pattern wasn't it? I mean it wouldn't be really accurate for early battles like Bunker Hill and Quebec.

This post has been edited by Nathan Hale: Jul 27 2006, 09:13 PM


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post Jul 27 2006, 09:15 PM
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Though I gather the map is meant for about 20-ish people, so double the numbers tongue.gif


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Cycophant
post Jul 27 2006, 11:16 PM
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Wow, that's some nice background info there, Nathan. Though I definitely made sure to do my research before even starting a basic sketch of the map. That was the toughest part for me; giving up a lot of the "historical" aspects of the map simply because I knew it would mean a poor map in terms of playability. I wanted to really make the Americans feel like they had the advantage in numbers, but the disadvantage in terms of health and supplies and knowledge of the city. I wanted the British to be able to ambush small parties of Americans, similiar to what occured in reality, but a lot of it had to be simplified down just to get the map completed. I feel the map will probably always be a work-in-progress as I slowly add more and more to try and make it realistic, though I've been working on it for 4 weeks straight now and I just want to get it out the door and completed for a bit tongue.gif

So I'm looking specifically at you guys that are really interested in the historical aspect of it to give me all sorts of feedback once I get the map onto a server, so I can keep improving the project.

Oh, and I'm planning on using a packaging tool to archive and compress the map along with all its associated materials and sounds I've made specifically for the map. I'll put the package up for download, but players should be able to quickly download the map on the fly from the server as well.
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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 20th January 2019 - 09:45 AM