CSLegion.com is now with a new host!

A quick heads-up, y’all:

We’ve now migrated our site to SiteGround, and are super happy to see the improvement in performance!

However, as always, site migration can be a complicated thing.

At the moment we are seeing most of the picture links not opening, especially if it is a picture that is zoomed to its real sized when clicked at. Also, many post title pictures are not showing.

We are updating all the picture links on our blog entries over the coming weeks.

Thank you for your patience!

Campaign Series Legion

– the Campaign Series Legion crew –

Campaign Series: Vietnam | A Tale of Two Auto Playtests

This post will tell the tale of two automated AI vs. AI playtests of the Campaign Series: Vietnam VN_600325_Vinh_An scenario, the first with the LAI/SAI (Legacy AI, Scripted AI) working in tandem, the second employing the LAI only (no scripting).

In the historical battle of Vinh An (from the scenario briefing notes):

Early in 1960, Viet Cong activities had become more prevalent in the Mekong Delta region. It was commonplace for the ARVN military to conduct road clearing and sweeping operations in hopes of catching the Viet Cong in the open. Road sweeping operations typically meant clearing mines and roadblocks for supply traffic to move freely from district to another. While these were standard affairs, one such operation culminated into a full scale ambush by the newly created Viet Cong U Minh Main Force battalion. This battalion would be the bane of the ARVN divisions operating in the area for years to come. In this case, it is the 2nd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 21st ARVN Division that would have their teething experience on QL 12 during a road clearing and sweeping operation.

In short, this scenario is thus a basic convoy ambush type scenario.

In the screenshot following:

Campaign Series Vietnam | AI vs. AI Playtest

  • The VC 1st Coy lies in wait in the vicinity of Vinh An.
  • The VC 2nd Coy is directed to sit tight, then attack Xom Ben Luong if and when fighting erupts around Vinh An.
  • The VC 3rd Coy is set to ambush any ARVN forces moving northwards up Highway 12.
  • The ARVN 2 Coy, the road clearing convoy, is ordered to move northward up Highway 12, and clear any mines or roadblocks in its path, then veer eastward to Vinh An. Meanwhile, the mine clearing engineers are to continue up the road northward, eventually as far as Xom Ban Oi.
  • Beginning at Turn 5 (or possibly sooner, if the ARVN 2 Coy is attacked), the ARVN 1st Coy is directed to load onto trucks, then motor up Highway 12 as far as Xom Ben Luong, also with the mission to clear any mines or roadblocks discovered along the way.
  • Beginning at Turn 5 (or possibly sooner), the ARVN Weapons Coy is to load onto trucks, then proceed up along the left river bank as far northward as Kinh Song Trem Trem, there to provide fire support for ARVN 1st Coy. (Moving anywhere beyond that point is too slow going.)With the SAI/LAI working in tandem, how did the first playtest play out? Let’s see (the situation at the end of Turn 13):

Campaign Series Vietnam | AI vs. AI Playtest

  • The ARVN 2nd Coy and VC 1st Coy are fighting to control Vinh An. The mine clearing engineers (with engineer trucks close behind them) continue on their primary mission.
  • The VC 2nd Coy has taken Xom Ban Luong. If the fight for Vinh An goes too badly, the VC 2nd Coy is directed to help out the VC 1st Coy in that fight.
  • After hitting a minefield along Highway 12 just beyond Xom Chac Bang, the ARVN 1st Coy was indeed ambushed by the VC 3rd Coy. The ARVN Weapons Coy assists from just across the river.
  • A second ARVN engineer company has trucked northward to, hopefully, clear the minefield just northeast of Xom Chac Bang.In other words, this scenario has pretty much developed as intended: an ambush, and a main fight around Vinh An.Hmm, I wonder what would happen if we remove the SAI (Scripted AI) and let the LAI (Legacy AI) alone play itself. Let’s find out:

Campaign Series Vietnam | AI vs. AI Playtest

  • The VC1st & 2nd Coys operate about the same as in the first autoplaytest.
  • The ARVN 2nd Coy abandons its road clearing mission and retreats back down Highway 12 to Xom Vam Chac Bang.
  • The VC 3rd Coy moves cross country northeastward and away from Highway 12. There is no ambush!
  • Leaving its trucks behind, The ARVN 1st Coy marches on foot up Highway 12 only as far Ap Vinh Dong.
  • The ARVN Weapons Coy stays put, goes nowhere.More or less the end result (also at the end of Turn 13; there is little change after that point):

Campaign Series Vietnam | AI vs. AI Playtest

  • The VC are clustered around Xom Ben Luong and Vinh An to the north.
  • The ARVN cower in fear midway along Highway 12.
  • Many ARVN lie dormant to the southwest around Kien Long.
  • Except for incidental clashes, there has been very little combat.
  • In this unscripted autoplaytest, it played out entirely unhistorically, and with near total disregard of the scenario designer’s intent.Now imagine if you the human were to play one side or the other vs. the opposing (a) SAI/LAI tandem or (b) LAI only.

Will this game’s AI be perfect? No. Will it be better than ever? We think so! 

 

 

 

 

 

Finnish Order of Battle in East Front III

I have just finished putting together a second iteration of the Finnish order of battle for Campaign Series: East Front III, a platoon-scale tactical wargame covering battles in WW2 Eastern Front in 1939-1941. This blog post supplements the previous German and Romanian OOB posts by Jason Petho, and Scott Cole, respectively.

Finnish Army in Campaign Series: East Front III

As those familiar with history know, Finland participated in the Second World War battling the Soviet Union at two occasions, and then once against Nazi Germany pushing them out from the country. In this regard, Finland was placed in the unusual situation of being for, then against, then for, the overall interests of the Allied powers.

Campaign Series East Front III | OOB

A lone guard on skis. Petsamo 1940.02.01 (SA-kuva.fi)

As East Front III 1.0 will cover the years 1939-1941, the relevant conflicts are the invasion of Finland by Soviet Union in 1939, known as Winter War, and the subsequent Finnish participation in Operation Barbarossa, dubbed Continuation War.

The war against Nazi Germany to liberate Finnish Lapland will be featured in an East Front III sequel covering the years 1944-45 and is not covered in this article.

[hr]

Winter War Order of Battle

The Winter War began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II, and ended three and a half months later with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. This provides a relatively short period of time in regard of Order of Battle design, and will be implemented as a holistic, independent data set.

In addition to Finnish Army, the Swedish Volunteer Corps will be added as another independent formation to game’s data set under Finland nation ID 41.

Finnish Army

Finnish Army will be covered in detail from Army Corps to Platoons, as there were no Army level formations in Winter War. There will be generic formations available under the standard TO&E information, with each and every historical division also represented in the data:

Campaign Series East Front | Order of Battle

Being an artillery reservist myself, I took an additional effort to depict each and every historical artillery formation to the game as well, from Artillery Regiments to independent Batteries. As Winter War was a short but violent battle, each artillery formation will additionally be depicted as how they started the war, and how their strength was in February 1940, with one more month of war to go:

Campaign Series East Front | Order of Battle

 

Swedish Volunteer Corps

While most WW2 history geeks are aware that Sweden maintained their neutrality during the conflict, a less known fact perhaps is that during Winter War, Sweden simply declared themselves a “non co-belligerent” state instead. In other words, they did not maintain a strict neutrality as such.

Perhaps the concrete example of Sweden’s aid to Finland at this critical hour were the Swedish Volunteer Corps. Svenska frivillligkåren (in Swedish) were roughly a Brigade sized, well equipped formation, with some 9 650 Swedish volunteers choosing to join Winter War together with Finland. As part of the Corps, Sweden also sent approximately one third of their most moder airforce fleet (Gloster Gladiator fighters and Hawker Hart bombers) to Finland to accompany the volunteer pilots.

Campaign Series East Front | Order of Battle

“Finland’s Cause is Yours – Come join the Volunteer Corps!”

Swedish Volunteer Corps played an important part occupying a wide front in Finnish Lapland, with the brave young volunteers willingly having risked their life for the sake of their Nordic neighbor. To honor their commitment, the Swedish Volunteer Corps are deservedly a part of the Winter War order of battle as an independent and full organization:

Campaign Series East Front | Order of Battle

[hr]

Continuation War Order of Battle

The Continuation War began some fifteen months after the end of the Winter War, with Finnish Army commencing their attack against Soviet Union in 10 July, 1941. The war would continue until September 1944, when Finland agreed to a cease-fire with USSR. For the purposes of East Front III 1.0, the initial Finnish Army formations will cover the year of 1941.

In addition to Finnish Army, no additional formations will be added to the data set, with Finnish Volunteer SS Battalion being a likely candidate for addition to a future East Front III sequel covering the years 1942-43. It is true parts of the Finnish volunteers fought already in 1941 in Waffen-SS division Wiking, but as they were integrated into the unit, instead of being an independent formation as the III/Nordland was (as of January 1942), they will not be depicted in the data sets for the first year of war.

Looking at the order of battle data, this time there will be a complete Finnish Army formation available from the Army level down to Platoons, again with generic TO&E based generic formations, and each and every division depicted in all their detail, too:

Campaign Series East Front | Order of Battle

As with Winter War, all historical artillery formations are covered as well. With the hodgepodge set of various makes and models of artillery pieces, this was my favourite part of the OOB design, and I do hope you enjoy the historical details included in the game!

As a little something to look forward, all this detail in order of battle design will make it possible to add a plethora of nice little detail to the game.

Here’s the Finnish 3D unit bases with nine different designs available at the time of writing this article!

Campaign Series East Front | Order of Battle

Finnish 3D unit bases (work in progress), from left to right:

  • Generic Finnish Army
  • Winter War Finnish Army
  • Winter War Swedish Volunteer Corps
  • Continuation War Finnish Army
  • Continuation War Armored
  • Finnish Volunteer SS Battalion (not included in 1.0)
  • Winter War Finnish Air Force
  • Winter War Swedish Volunteer Corps Air Force
  • Continuation War Finnish Air Force

[hr]

Conclusion

As Jason pointed out in his German OOB blog, Order of Battle creation is a labour of love with many challenges part of the job.

I do concur with him that, with addition of Winter War and Continuation War Finns (and Swedes!) to the game database, we’re making every effort to ensure that you will have the most accurate organizations to build your East Front scenarios, once the game is out!

Hack’s Hardcore Hints #6: Initial Battlefield Craters

Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore Hints

In Hack’s Hardcore Hints series, David Galster shares some of his scenario design toolkits for Campaign Series: Vietnam, a work-in-progress tactical platoon-scale wargame.

It’s a pleasure, Campaign Series Wargamers,

Have you ever played a scenario, starting with a pristine battlefield, yet knowing that there had been previous combat at the location? Not realistic right? Well, there is a way to put artillery craters on the game map – right from the start. So now you can see, (in 3D mode,) shellholes on the very first turn. This is like the Campaign Series Vietnam scenario editor option to rubble cities. However, the craters must be added by manipulating the *.scn file itself, and not with the scenario editor.

Crater Code Basics

In the game engine, all crater codes start with 13, then have the X coordinate, Y coordinate, and a firing points number. (12, 16, 30, 48, are a few.) There are single spaces in between. The code line for a hex with craters looks like:

13 2 10 48

So to “pre-crater” a scenario, first open the scenario file, (*.scn) using Notepad ++ or jEdit that has the ability to add or modify text. Then add the code lines in the “Unit Data” section.

Generating with EXCEL

These can be generated by an EXCEL spreadsheet if you have a pattern that you want, and can define by coordinates. The variation numbers can be picked from a column file using a random number generator.  Be careful not to put craters over trench hexes, or it will negate the trench. Since they are there for visual effect only, be careful not to put them on top of other functional scenario elements like trenches, mines, etc.

A set of crater codes in a scenario file looks like this:

13 2 12 16

13 2 14 48

13 2 16 30

13 2 18 36

13 2 20 30

The spreadsheet will generate codes in a group of cells. These can be pasted into Notepad++, using unformatted text, but they will be tab delimited. They will look like this:

13              2          10        48

13              2          12        48

13              2          14        16

13              2          16        36

13              2          18        68

 

To replace the tabs with spaces, (you can see the tabs by toggling the “paragraph” key, ¶,) perform a “find” on “→” and replace with a single space. Use the “replace all” option in Notepad++. Then, they will be in a form that can be copied an pasted into the *.scn file. These need to be located in the “Unit Data” section, and can be placed just before the “data footer” part of the scenario file.

Crater Density

You may wonder about the significance of the fourth number, like 48, 16, 36, etc. That number is the cumulative number of points fired on that hex. From 1 to 23, there is a smaller pattern of five craters. From 24 to 47 the pattern has 11 craters, and for 48 and above it has 14.

In CS Vietnam, they look like this:

Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore Hints

Trio of Possible Crater Patterns

Sample Scenario File with Craters

Here is an example of a scenario file and what it looks like with the crater codes added. See the boldface codes near bottom, just above the data footer.

[——————————– data header —————————]

26

Laos Test Map

0 0 0 1-30[d]

0 0 0 0 1-30[20]

9 0 2 5 80 80 80 80

0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

100 100 0 -1

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0

Testmap.map

Testmap.org

Testmap.ai

Testmap.lua

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

0 0

0 0 0 0 20

1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1

[——————————— unit data —————————-]

0 0 0 P136508 87 1 1 4 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 0 1 P132101 44 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 0 1 P131004 35 1 32 3 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 0 10 P103014 29 1 1 2 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 0 P106523 28 1 1 2 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 0 P131013 88 1 32 4 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 1 P138015 74 1 1 1 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 8 P132109 32 1 2 6 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 8 P136802 43 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 11 P106564 30 1 1 1 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 0 P106504 24 1 1 2 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 1 P132104 77 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 3 P212090 84 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 11 P104001 73 1 32 1 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 11 P132109 33 1 1 6 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

2 2 17 524288

2 2 18 1

0 3 1 P102091 41 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

2 3 5 65536

2 3 9 524288

0 3 18 P212002 79 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

 

 

0 5 3 P138809 75 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 5 4 P211033 40 1 1 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 5 5 P217025 2 1 1 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 5 5 P211029 1 1 32 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 5 5 P212021 37 1 2 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 7 8 P212004 6 16 8 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 7 8 P211013 7 16 32 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 7 8 P212009 8 16 4 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 7 8 P212004 5 16 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

2 7 8 128

2 7 9 1

0 8 8 P218012 45 1 1 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 8 8 P218011 46 1 32 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

2 8 9 8192

7 5 0 1 0 100 1 1 0

P132096 36 8 8 2 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P135001

19 P105044

13 2 10 48

13 2 12 16

13 2 14 48                       Crater Codes

13 2 16 30

13 2 18 36

13 2 20 30

 

[——————————– data footer —————————]

0 -1

1

David Galster

05 September, 1970

Admiring Your Work

So after you modified the scenario file, go ahead and start a new game, and in the 3D mode, look at the area where you wanted craters. There should be artillery crater holes of various patterns, making the battlefield look like the random, tattered mess that any should look like after only a few hours combat.

Campaign Series Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore Hints

Hack’s Hardcore Hints #5: Locating Hexes on Master Maps

Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore HintsIn Hack’s Hardcore Hints series, David Galster shares some of his scenario design toolkits for Campaign Series: Vietnam, a work-in-progress tactical platoon-scale wargame.

It’s a pleasure, Campaign Series Wargamers,

If you read the article about the Master Map Concept, you may have wondered what method can be used to accurately place overlays in separate, unconnected parts of the map. Here is an explanation of the method I’ve been using.

Map Coordinate Systems

A Master Map must first be set up in either a geographic coordinate system, or Military Grid Reference System, MGRS. Since the Vietnam topo maps all have MGRS grids, I’ll show how it is done that way. The MGRS grids use in rectangular, (x, y) coordinates, while geographic coordinates use degrees latitude and longitude. A method for geographic coordinates exists, but the calculations are more complex.

A reference point for the entire Master Map must first be established. This defines an MGRS reference coordinate, and a corresponding hex coordinate for the CS Map.

With a set of reference coordinates, the process to find a hex coordinate for another MGRS coordinate can be accomplished.  The MGRS coordinates usually used are the two digit number shown on topographical maps. These represent the easting, or x coordinate, and northing, or y coordinate, and the units are kilometers.

Example

For example, a reference MGRS coordinate might be 6960 or x= 69 km and y= 60 km, and the reference hex number (118, 29). If another point is given, where another overlay is to be positioned, then the differences in x and y can be easily found. Let’s say that we want to locate a hex number for MGRS  7262. Then we find the differencs such that Δx = 72 – 69 = 3 and Δy  = 62- 60 = 2. These can be converted to hex differences because a hex = 250 m. In the vertical direction there are 4 hexes to the kilometer and in the horizontal, 4.619. The reason for this difference is the interlocking of hexes when going from hex to hex in the horizontal direction. (Divide 4 by cosine 30° = 4.619.)

So the hex deltas are Δx = 3*4.619 = 13.856 and the Δy = 2*4 = 8. So the new hex coordinate is reference plus deltas: nx = 118+13.856 = 131.856, and ny = 29 – 8 = 21.

The new hex coordinate is (132, 21). The subtraction is because vertical hexes are numbered increasing downward, while MGRS are increasing upward. If you were trying to accurately place an overlay, you would not go directly in the center of hex (132, 21) but slightly to left of center, since the computed coordinate is a little less than 132.

EXCEL Spreadsheet

This can be more conveniently done with an EXCEL spreadsheet and here is an example:

Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore Hints

The values are all in column D and labels, symbols, and units to the left. The upper portion is for inputs and the lower for calculations. Once the reference hex and MGRS coordinates are entered, then the target MGRS values are entered in the yellow field.

The calculation section determines the delta distances in kilometers, and then determines the targe hex coordinates, in the blue highlighted fields. Because of the zig-zag of hexagon positions, the vertical values are different depending on whether the horizontal hex coordinate is even or odd. But regardless the center is where the decimals are all zero.

The EXCEL spreadsheet for this may be downloaded here.

Here is a screenshot of the overlay that was positioned based on this calculation:

Overlay Positioned by new Hex Coordinate (132, 21)

Conclusion

I hope this gives you a method you can use for making accurate Master Maps.

Well, CS Wargamers, until next time . . .

Campaign Series Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore Hints

Hack’s Hardcore Hints #4: Map Making Sequence

 Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore Hints

In Hack’s Hardcore Hints series, David Galster shares some of his scenario design toolkits for Campaign Series: Vietnam, a work-in-progress tactical platoon-scale wargame.

It’s a pleasure, Campaign Series Wargamers,

Have you ever wanted to get into scenario design, but hesitated because of the daunting amount of work in map making? With all the roads, various terrain features, elevations, streams, and labels, it can seem overwhelming. Those were the things that kept me from doing scenario design for a couple of years. But, with a good plan of attack, you can simplify the whole operation, and do it in a systematic way that will make the job more manageable.

Grid Overlay

The most important concept that helped me overcome my fears was the hex grid overlay. I began by making a screenshot of a blank map (with coordinates showing of course,) and then pasted this onto a topographical map using the transparency feature. You need a graphics software to make the transparency. PaintShop Pro, Gimp, and formerly the Microsoft Picture-It software are needed to make the grid semi-transparent. (40-50%) Currently I use a software called Photo Pad Image Editor. But, there are many software out there that can make an image semi-transparent to paste over a topographical map.

Best Topo Maps

And the best topographical maps to use for Campaign Series are the 1:50000 scale. That best fits the 250-meter hexes, and the level of detail available in the map editor. Preferably, the topographical map will have elevation contour lines. These are the best tool for putting on elevations.

Sequence of Adding Elements

Once you have a suitable topographical map and have the overlay, what is next? What is the best approach for making the map overall? It is still quite an undertaking. The best way is to use this sequence:

  1. Roads, streams, and towns
  2. Elevations
  3. Foliage and terrain
  4. Labels

Roads, streams, and towns

By placing the roads, trails, streams, and towns first, this sets up a structure that aids in doing the elevations. The waterways are particularly important, and indicate how the contours should go. If there are areas of swamps or lakes, these should also be placed in the beginning along with roads and streams. Make sure that all villages and towns are identified as well. This will help with elevation work later.

Elevations

Then tackle the elevations. Do this prior to adding terrain features like jungle, because these tend to obscure the contours, and color differences when viewing in both 2D and 3D. With elevations, it is best to work on small areas of the map at a time, using streams as boundaries.  Use the topo map contour lines, and trace out a line of hexes with that particular elevation on the map. Change the elevations along streams, one hex on each side. And then, look for high points or ridges between streams. The hexes in between are filled in last.

One important rule: A stream should never run uphill and then downhill again in the same direction. This may sound overly simple, but I have played several scenarios in the past that had “supernatural” streams that could flow uphill. Pay close attention to this, as it will help with elevations in general. Lakes and swamps covering several hexes should all have the same elevation. Keep this in mind with rice paddies also, although terraces can allow elevation changes in a group of rice paddy hexes.

Once the streams and contours are finished, then fill in between the contour lines. Using this systematic approach you can get the elevations reasonably good. There is a three-level limitation, so that if two adjacent hexes are more than three levels apart, the 3D transition will not look good. Try to avoid this if possible.

After finishing elevations, it is best to look over the whole map in 3D. This will reveal any inadvertent “holes” or areas missed. Also, it provides an opportunity to spot hexsides with more than three elevation levels difference. As mentioned earlier, it is easier to spot elevation errors before adding all the jungles and other foliage features.

Foliage and terrain

The terrain features, like jungle, scrub, or tall grass, etc. can be handled systematically by referring to the hex coordinates. Simply start from left to right, and concentrate on one vertical column at a time, selecting and changing each hex from top to bottom. If your screen is too small to cover the whole map, then just do smaller rectangular areas at a time. If there are large areas with the same terrain, like light jungle, then a whole column of hexes can be changed at once. Click on the upper hex to change its elevation, and then hold down the control key (Ctrl) and click on a hex somewhere below it. The in-between hexes will immediately be converted to the selected elevation. This speeds up the process.

Labels

Finally, make the labels. I like to put a geographic coordinate somewhere on my map, using degrees and minutes, preferably with rounded minutes. Like 15°20’N, 105°35’E. This serves as a reference for players, and others who may want to find additional maps of that area. I use the left justification that puts a little plus sign (+) on the left side of the label. I use plain size 1 font for this. For small towns or villages, the font size is 0 and center justified, with plain black color. Streams are labeled using the “water” or blue color and mountains and forests that are named use the “Forest” or green color. I also label roads if they have a Route Number. Airports or other military facilities use “Special” or a red color. For the CS Vietnam map editor, I use the “Transparent Enhanced” option. That puts a thin white background around the text, and makes it stand out better if placed over dark green terrain. The term “transparent” means that the map background shows between the letters. This is more evident when viewing in the 3D mode.

Conclusion

Well I hope that you are encouraged to design scenarios, and not get discouraged because of map making. If you have a plan of attack, like all other things in war, it will make the job easier and less stressful.

I’m fairly certain that Col. Hackworth appreciated the value of good maps, and used them to plan his attacks on the VC.