[Abandoned] - Gettysburg

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[Abandoned] - Gettysburg

Postby Minister X on Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:14 pm

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The most up-to-date version:

Click image to enlarge.
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Click image to enlarge.
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Up-to-date statistics:
79 territories
17 Continents
16 terts autodeploy (and start with 4 neutral troops) - see map for details
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._____________________________
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Gettysburg: The Director's Cut DVD: $24.99

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Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg by James M. McPherson (Hardcover, 144 pgs.): $11.53

Gettysburg: the game at Conquer Club... PRICELESS!
_________________________________________________________________

With all due respect to the previous effort to base a game on this most famous battle to ever take place on American soil, and without intending to prejudice consideration of it, I offer this project...

PERSONNEL
I'll do all the graphics and XML unless more skilled and experienced volunteers come forward. I'm quite handy with Photoshop and have enough XML experience to get by if someone will answers a few dumb questions for me when the time comes. Long ago I submitted a draft here based on the TV show "The West Wing" but it got no real attention and may have been in violation of the property rights of the show's owners, so it's just as well. (The concept, however, was sound.) Even longer ago I designed over two dozen maps for the game Diplomacy at the Redscape website and achieved a good reputation. I'm confident I can make something playable, but beautiful will be a challenge.

STATISTICS (up-to-date)


DESIGNER'S NOTES
My idea is to concentrate on the strategy behind the battle rather than the battlefield maneuvers. Lee had, for the second time, invaded the North. Meade was trying to pin him down in a position advantageous to the union forces and Lee would have been happy enough to meet the Army of the Potomac if he could do so at a time and place of his choosing. Gettysburg was a "meeting engagement" -- neither side expected it to be a battlefield much before the fighting started and neither would particularly have chosen it. The town is located in south-central Pennsylvania. To the northeast is Harrisburg and due east is Philadelphia; these were Lee's primary targets. To the southeast was Baltimore and due south was Washington DC; had Lee won a decisive victory he might have headed that way. To the west and southwest was rough terrain; Lee used that for his retreat when things didn't turn out as he'd wished.

In terms of strategy, what counted at Gettysburg wasn't the action of the battle (casualties were practically even), but the aftermath: would Lee's invasion succeed or fail? In what direction would he advance or retreat? Because Lee really couldn't afford the result he got, the battle is considered a significant or decisive Union victory. Not only was Lee's bold gamble to end the war quickly by stabbing at key northern cities turned back, but the North could much more easily replace the losses taken in the battle itself. The Army of Virginia wasn't crushed by any means, but Lee's hopes were dealt a severe blow.

In translating this to a CC-type game, I have given consideration to key terrain features but have paid more attention to the critical nature of Gettysburg as a road junction. "Areas" represent key bits of terrain such as Little Round Top, as well as sections of highway and (pink dots in the northeast quadrant) the railroad into town (it's continuation westward was still under construction). Zone bonuses will be lower than normal because holding any of those zones without holding the city as well makes them worth little. The town of Gettysburg itself belongs to no bonus area and is worth nothing on its own - no autodeploy. However, in combination with the roads designated here with colored diamonds, it generates bonuses in addition to those that might be earned otherwise. Holding Gettysburg is important, but if five players vie for Gettysburg while the other three work the fringes, who's to say which group the winner may emerge from.

Example: the two Hanover Road areas, Benner's Hill and Wolf's Hill for a four-area bonus zone with a value of two. On the other side of town is a five-area green zone containing two areas for Chambersburg Pike. It's worth two reinforcements per turn. If you own Gettysburg, Hanover Road I and II, and Chambersburg Pike I and II, you get a bonus of four reinforcements per turn even though we're still just looking at five areas. You don't have to own Hoffman's Creek, McPherson's Ridge, Oak Ridge, Benner's Hill or Wolf's Hill to claim the bonus for the four road sections plus Gettysburg. I envision fighting as normal for the roads and their zones, with efforts to secure Gettysburg on an opportunistic basis. Question: besides having Gettysburg start with six neutrals in it, should I make it that two guy go AWOL after every turn? (They get drunk and carouse in the town.)

While the large bonuses center on the roads and the city, there are several little bonuses to be had without having to engage in that main fracas. It might be advantageous to try to pick off two or three such bonus zones while everybody else is busy elsewhere. For instance, the Seminary and Railroad zones get an attractive two reinforcements each. Only slightly less attractive are the pink zone on the west edge of the map and the brown one top center. Still, while others may look at juicier targets, these are too close to the center of action to escape notice. I foresee significant fluidity in bonus awards.

The bonus levels are pretty sensitive matters and I'm not sure the overall levels are appropriate. The Australia map has 37 territories and a gross bonus pool of 23 reinforcements for a ratio of 1.6 to 1. The Charleston map has 60 areas and a gross reinforcement amount of 35 for a ratio of 1.7 to 1. This first draft Gettysburg map has 50 areas and gross zoneage of 39 for a ratio of 1.3 to 1. Too low? Probably. Suggestions?

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY
• first draft posted 7/30/11
• second draft posted 7/31/11
• third draft posted 8/2/11
• fourth draft posted 8/11/11
• fifth draft posted 8/26/11

• ninth draft(s) posted 9/27/11
• tenth draft posted 10/13/11

MAP
show: first draft
Last edited by Minister X on Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:05 am, edited 15 times in total.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby natty dread on Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:18 pm

I don't really know anything about Gettysburg, but looks like a solid first draft. You should definitely keep on working on it.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby Victor Sullivan on Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:55 pm

I enjoyed the long read. There is a Gettysburg map in the Recycling Bin, but it's much different from your concept: viewtopic.php?f=242&t=123211

Anywho, comments:
  1. As far as personnel, I'd love to help out with the XML (and, of course, the gameplay) ;)
  2. As far as terminology, the correct terms are "territory" and "bonus area" or "continent".
  3. For the road or diamond territories, I suggest graphically actually putting a road through all of the different road/diamond territories, then ditching the diamonds altogether.
  4. As far as the circles go, they are completely unnecessary in my opinion. You can keep them in the legend, but they need not be on the territories. This should also remove the need to put the Note as you have.
  5. You explained your intentions behind the bonus structure, but I feel you haven't really accomplished it. With the Gettysburg neutrals, you need to make the cost a little more worth it. It seems you've attempted to do this via nerfing the normal bonuses, but I think the best route to go is to make the standard bonuses roughly standardly valued, while upping the road-plus-Gettysburg bonuses. From 12 o' clock, clockwise:
    • Brown: +3
    • Salmon: +2
    • Light Green: +3
    • Pink: +4
    • Cyan: +6
    • Red: +7
    • Green: +6
    • Magenta: +3
    • Blue: +2
    • Yellow: +3
    • Dark Green: +4
    • York Road + Gettysburg: +2
    • Hanover Road + Gettysburg: +2
    • Baltimore Pike + Gettysburg: +4
    • Tarrytown Road + Gettysburg: +4
    • Emmitsburg Road + Gettysburg: +3
    • Hagerstown Road + Gettysburg: +3
    • Chambersburg Pike + Gettysburg: +2
  6. All of your bonus areas need names. It can't all just be "Salmon" and "Light Green".
  7. Consider lowering Gettysburg's neutrals to 4 or 5. I'm not sure how much it would be involved otherwise. Maybe even 3 neutrals.
I think that's most of my initial thoughts. Overall, it's neat. I like how Gettysburg is the focal point of the map.

-Sully
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby cairnswk on Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:03 pm

Good start Minister X
I had started on this map but never got to post it even after doing much research. You seem to have a good handle on it. :)
I like your schema for bonuses, it's seems simple, easily understandable and colourful without being glaring.
Some suggestions:
1. I would start on the small version first, to determine if everything you want to put in will fit, it's much easier to proppogate to the large size then.
2. I'd try to do something strategic with the Devil's Den, the Round Tops, Cemetary Ridge and Hill
3. the Note about Diamond bonuses needs to be enlarged so that is it quite visible and not hard to read - it is an important piece of information in the legend.
Good luck.
Last edited by cairnswk on Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby Nola_Lifer on Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:08 pm

Nice first draft :!:
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby Minister X on Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:29 pm

Thanks for all the comments so far - in just two hours. Some initial responses:

• I need to hear more thoughts about the bonus structure. Raising them across the board seems ill-advised due to those ratios I mentioned; the map would soon be overwhelmed with units. Is this correct?

• I'd love to do something special with Little Round Top and the other most famous spots on the battlefield. Devil's Den could be made a penalty area (because that's what it was!) where -2 units per turn occur (cannon from the hills). But how can I simulate extra defensive strength? Auto-deploy one per turn on the key defensive spots? Then we're looking at even more reinforcements.

• Artillery was certainly important in the battle. Thoughts regarding using it here much the way it's done on the Waterloo map? Where would the cannon go?

• Should I create more territories?

• Great advice re: starting with the smaller map!

• I feared having to name each bonus zone. What am I going to call them? A few are obvious but most are not. I could show historical deployments of forces and use their designations but that would probably be more confusing than anything. Can I just number them? Use one of the territory names? I need ideas here badly.

• Don't I need to leave room for those circles since they represent where the unit numbers will show up? What size must they be (couldn't find that data in the forum though I know it must be there somewhere).
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby cairnswk on Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:37 pm

Minister X wrote:...

• I'd love to do something special with Little Round Top and the other most famous spots on the battlefield. Devil's Den could be made a penalty area (because that's what it was!) where -2 units per turn occur (cannon from the hills). But how can I simulate extra defensive strength? Auto-deploy one per turn on the key defensive spots? Then we're looking at even more reinforcements.

I was thinking about some impassables there.
• Artillery was certainly important in the battle. Thoughts regarding using it here much the way it's done on the Waterloo map? Where would the cannon go?

I beleive the ridge tops were quite importantly fortified with cannon, yes? as higher ground.

• Should I create more territories?

Well, yes and no. what you have is good, but i would only add more trritories if you wanted to create features for strategy.

• Great advice re: starting with the smaller map!

I've found that invaluable.

• Don't I need to leave room for those circles since they represent where the unit numbers will show up? What size must they be (couldn't find that data in the forum though I know it must be there somewhere).

Yes, although army circles is not a entirely required on maps as long as you leave room for the army numbers.
But FYI, traditionally small army circles are 22px dia. and large are 24 px dia. However, they can also be squares, octagons etc. asl long as they are those diameters wide, the centering of them is mech easier.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby natty dread on Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:38 am

Don't start with the small map.

Starting with the small map is good for guys like Cairns who use vector graphics. They don't have any trouble scaling up their graphics.

You seem to be using bitmap graphics, so you should go with the large image first. Scaling bitmaps down is a 100 times easier than scaling them up.

You don't have many territories, you don't have any places on your map that would be questionable if they fit on the small, so there's no reason to start with the small map. I say keep working on the large version for now.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby Minister X on Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:01 pm

natty_dread wrote:I say keep working on the large version for now.

Too late; I've started on the small. But it's okay. Most layers can be switched and resized back and forth, and anything bitmap I'll do large first. No worries.

I've had a great idea, which is the mapping I'm now doing and will post soon. I'm naming the bonus areas things like "To Chambersburg", as you often see on old maps where roads lead off the edge. This feeds in perfectly to the strategic concept discussed in my first post, and looks very nice to boot.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby natty dread on Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:32 pm

Minister X wrote:Too late; I've started on the small.


It's not even close to being too late. You don't need to work on the small now... in fact, I would recommend forgetting the small map alltogether at least until you have the gameplay stamp under your belt. It's a huge pain working on two versions of the map simultaneously - you need to do everything twice... so it's best to wait until most of the gameplay & graphics issues are sorted before starting to work on both versions.

I mean, you do as you like, but it's just something I've learned during the 7 maps I've made.... ;)

Now, on to the current draft, there's 2 graphical things that stick out to me: the borders look blurry, and have holes at some parts, and the colours... well, when I think of a battle, peachy pastel colours aren't the first thing that pops to mind, if you know what I mean... I'd suggest looking for a more gritty & dark colour scheme... more generally, the theme of the map could be more prominent in the design and style of the map.

Then, it would be nice to have names for the bonus areas.

Also, the title could be more prominent... How about moving the title in the upper right corner, making it a bit larger... there's space in there, if you move the labels & icons of the three territories there (harrisburg, railroad, york) a bit down, and maybe move the border between railroad & g&h...
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby Minister X on Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:09 pm

natty_dread wrote:...it's just something I've learned during the 7 maps I've made.... ;)

I'm convinced.

As for the rest... tell me if this makes sense: to delay fancy graphics work until a) enough interest is shown to make it worth my time to do that work - I don't want to spend hours and hours on a map that's going nowhere, and b) the zones etc. are all finalized (or close) so I'll know what I'm designing around - how much space I'll have, etc. For now, the changes I'll post later today might be sufficient -- I'll see what I can do about colors -- to make it seem a not altogether unattractive map, to not turn people off even though the idea is (I hope) worthy. Also, since I'm not as good as many of the mappers here, maybe it would pay to wait and see if some real wizard wants to take on the graphics work.

There's no hurry, is there? Or is it the case that unless a map builds up a lot of support right away it's doomed to die on the vine? I admit to total ignorance (other than published rules/guidelines/procedures) of how things usually proceed here with new map creation/adoption.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby Nola_Lifer on Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:12 pm

Minister X wrote:
natty_dread wrote:...it's just something I've learned during the 7 maps I've made.... ;)

I'm convinced.

As for the rest... tell me if this makes sense: to delay fancy graphics work until a) enough interest is shown to make it worth my time to do that work - I don't want to spend hours and hours on a map that's going nowhere, and b) the zones etc. are all finalized (or close) so I'll know what I'm designing around - how much space I'll have, etc. For now, the changes I'll post later today might be sufficient -- I'll see what I can do about colors -- to make it seem a not altogether unattractive map, to not turn people off even though the idea is (I hope) worthy. Also, since I'm not as good as many of the mappers here, maybe it would pay to wait and see if some real wizard wants to take on the graphics work.

There's no hurry, is there? Or is it the case that unless a map builds up a lot of support right away it's doomed to die on the vine? I admit to total ignorance (other than published rules/guidelines/procedures) of how things usually proceed here with new map creation/adoption.


I wouldn't worry about how many people actually post on your map. Usually you get more post once it makes it into Beta, if you make it that far. Its a lot of self pushing and by no way is it easy being a map maker on CC but there are enough genuine people around to help you create a beautiful map.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby natty dread on Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:41 pm

Minister X wrote:As for the rest... tell me if this makes sense: to delay fancy graphics work until a) enough interest is shown to make it worth my time to do that work - I don't want to spend hours and hours on a map that's going nowhere, and b) the zones etc. are all finalized (or close) so I'll know what I'm designing around - how much space I'll have, etc. For now, the changes I'll post later today might be sufficient -- I'll see what I can do about colors -- to make it seem a not altogether unattractive map, to not turn people off even though the idea is (I hope) worthy. Also, since I'm not as good as many of the mappers here, maybe it would pay to wait and see if some real wizard wants to take on the graphics work.


To point a: you shouldn't shun all graphics work alltogether... most of the time, the graphics and gameplay of a map develop somewhat in tandem - you get a better feel for it after one or two maps, it's a sort of flexible process with few clear boundaries... the main one is one I already mentioned - unless you use vector graphics, or some other form of scalable graphics, you should work on the large version only before the gp stamp... and things like xml are also best delayed until that point.

But, there's some graphical work you have to do even before the draft stamp - getting the layout of the map, visual elements, arrangement, composition, etc. in check, all the smaller details can be left until after the gp stamp...

As for getting enough interest... well, currently, if you look around the foundry you'll see lots of discussion about the lack of community feedback we're currently suffering of - it's hard to gauge which maps have most interest. There will be periods when comments & feedback to your map slow to a trickle, or stop alltogether - you shouldn't let those times discourage you, since it happens to all maps, even the most popular ones. The best way to get through them is to just keep on working your map, keep posting in your thread... you need to compete for attention here, somewhat. Advertise yourself.

It's one of those things you'll get a feel for after being here for a while.

As for point (b), at this point, you shouldn't be too unflexible with regards to developing your map... by which I mean, it's good to have a strong vision of what you want to do, but not at the cost of ignoring all feedback - you need to strike a balance there... which can be hard to do, but again it gets easier with experience... You shouldn't be afraid of making changes, and you should have everything pretty much open-ended at this point. You should be willing to follow all reasonable feedback, but you don't have to take every suggestion blindly if you disagree with them, and have good reasons not to...

As for getting someone to do the graphics - well, it all depends on how much you're willing to put effort into this. There's lots of people here who are willing to help you learn the graphical work, and lots of current mapmakers started with zero or next to zero experience with graphical design. You also seem to have at least an elementary grasp of graphical design already, you know your way around an editing software, so it's not at all impossible for you to do the graphics yourself.

Also, it might be difficult to find people to do the graphics for you - most people here who have the capability tend to be busy with their own projects... but even if you do eventually decide to let someone do them, it doesn't hurt to get some experience with graphics design yourself - you'll be able to give a clearer vision to the graphics worker on how you'd like the map done.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby Minister X on Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:30 pm

Natty Dread wanted the look to be gritty and darker. I hope I've satisfied him while also simulating the look of an old parchment map that's been folded.
He wanted a more prominent title... done.
The borders... I've re-done the impassables but left the others. I'll re-do them completely for the next revision.
Bonus areas, their names and bonus amounts: can I get a yea!? Again: smallish bonuses but nice increases if you also hold Gettysburg. By making the extras autodeploy the "road hub" concept is enhanced.
Cairnswk was "thinking of some impassables" for Round Top and Little Round Top... done.

What's next?
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby natty dread on Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:39 pm

Well... can we, like... see this new version of yours? ;)
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby Minister X on Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:23 pm

ROTFLMAO - I forgot to post the image. Here you go...

show: 2nd draft map since replaced
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby natty dread on Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:47 pm

Ok, that style is more in line with the theme. Good job there.

Now, the folds don't look very natural... I get what you're trying to do with them, but... they should be smoother, they're currently just distracting...

Also, I'm not sure if it's an artifact of the folds, but all of your text looks blurry now. Some is even unreadable... You should try to get the text sharper.

The colours could be made more visible, it's too hard to tell the bonuses apart...

I like the texture in the legend though.
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Re: Gettysburg

Postby isaiah40 on Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:29 pm

Okay this does look really good!! Since you are new here, it is a good idea to keep the first post updated with each version you do. You can put the previous images in spoiler tags. You use the spoiler tags by typing [spoiler=Name of spoiler [/spoiler, you need to put the square brackets at the end of each one as well for it to work like this:
show: This is what a spoiler looks like


Also, for your title please do it like this:
Gettysburg [31/7/2011] V 1 pg 2. This will tell everyone what version you're on, the date last updated and what pg the latest update is on.

As for that keep up the great work, and I will be following this!
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Re: Gettysburg [31/7/2011] V 1 pg 2

Postby Minister X on Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:57 pm

Isaiah: I did the spoiler thing and changed the title - thanks for the heads-up. Glad you like the start I've made.

Natty Dread: this was my first-ever attempt to make folds; do you know of a tutorial anywhere? I should probably just forget it, huh? (It caused the other issues you mentioned.) Instead, maybe I can make the edges slightly disintegrating, as happens with very old paper. DO MAPS ALWAYS APPEAR AGAINST THAT SAME LIGHT GRAY? IF SO, WHAT EXACT COLOR IS THAT? (I can make some cool effects if the background is always the same color.
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Re: Gettysburg [31/7/2011] V 1 pg 2

Postby DiM on Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:07 pm

Minister X wrote:Isaiah: I did the spoiler thing and changed the title - thanks for the heads-up. Glad you like the start I've made.

Natty Dread: this was my first-ever attempt to make folds; do you know of a tutorial anywhere? I should probably just forget it, huh? (It caused the other issues you mentioned.) Instead, maybe I can make the edges slightly disintegrating, as happens with very old paper. DO MAPS ALWAYS APPEAR AGAINST THAT SAME LIGHT GRAY? IF SO, WHAT EXACT COLOR IS THAT? (I can make some cool effects if the background is always the same color.



i think you should worry about the graphics at a later point. what you have now is sufficient for discussing gameplay. once that's almost final you can start working on the graphics. there's really no point in wasting time to make folds and creases and disintegrating edges when most of it might have to be changed when the gameplay requires it.
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Re: Gettysburg [31/7/2011] V 1 pg 2

Postby koontz1973 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:19 am

Great work Minister, love the feel to this one. Not one for giving much help as I am only new myself. With the folds, for now I would say lose them but keep playing around while you carry on with the map. At some point you will get them nice. With the bonus colours, can you make them more prominent so it will be easier to see each bonus zone.
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Re: Gettysburg [31/7/2011] V 1 pg 2

Postby sannemanrobinson on Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:01 am

Never heard of Gettysburg before. So the name To Baltimore gives some sense of direction to me. The scale of the map is a bit abstract, making forests and farmlands on the map with simple lines and symbols could help.

Also the time frame is not stated in the map. With the flags and railroads it represents the 19th century?

The legend mentions a conditional autodeploy which is not possible (yet). You could use a normal bonus for holding Gettysburg+surrounding region. The centralized layout with Gettysburg in the middle is a bit similar with Egypt: Valley of the Kings.

Gettysburg starts neutral I presume? Because 6 as a bonus is very high. You could make this 6 an autodeploy of course...
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Re: Gettysburg [31/7/2011] V 1 pg 2

Postby Minister X on Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:00 am

Sannemanrobinson: Even though you're from the Netherlands, I'm a little surprised you've never heard of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863). It was the most famous battle of the US Civil War (1861-65) and certainly one of the most famous battles of the 19th century. I want to be sensitive to non-Americans, but unless I hear otherwise from more of them, I'm going to assume it's famous enough to not need further explication. (Maybe I'll add the date, however.)

I'll give definite consideration to adding map elements that will help give a sense of scale. The street layout of the town (plus all the roads leading off) is probably the best way. But lines tend to make borders tougher to distinguish, so I'll have to be careful.

Let me be sure I understand the autodeploy limit. We can't have: "IF YOU OWN X AND Y AND Z THEN 5 GET DEPLOYED IN A" ? It will have to be regular bonus?

Six isn't the bonus in Gettysburg, it's the number of neutrals who start the game there. I don't want it taken too early and I certainly don't want any player to get it at the start. I will even consider increasing this number. The value of Gettysburg is high; the cost to take it should be commensurate.

Dim & Koontz: thanks - good advice.
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Re: Gettysburg [31/7/2011] V 1 pg 2

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:52 am

I think a small note about Gettysburg and the Civil War would probably be a nice addition to this map, to help give it some place in history for those who are unfamiliar with it in general, or who have only heard of the name at some point.

I'll give the gameplay a look over in the next week or so. Good work so far!


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Re: Gettysburg [31/7/2011] V 1 pg 2

Postby DiM on Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:28 pm

Minister X wrote:Sannemanrobinson: Even though you're from the Netherlands, I'm a little surprised you've never heard of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863). It was the most famous battle of the US Civil War (1861-65) and certainly one of the most famous battles of the 19th century. I want to be sensitive to non-Americans, but unless I hear otherwise from more of them, I'm going to assume it's famous enough to not need further explication. (Maybe I'll add the date, however.)


i think he heard about gettysburg but he was just making a point. adding various details to the map will make it better recognized as well as more pleasant to look at. anything from a title with flags and guns to various artwork or a small story will help the theme and set the mood. or perhaps a quote from lincoln's address speech.
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