Company of Heroes: Eastern Front

Author Topic: Creation Process Tips and Theories  (Read 11817 times)

Offline Nubrannosaurus

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Creation Process Tips and Theories
« on: January 18, 2010, 08:13:01 AM »
*If you want to see the doctrine ideas immediately, scroll down past these long paragraphs.  Otherwise, I will present some of my thoughts on idea-making and doctrine-making.*

I have noticed that there are a lot of good ideas on this forum.  At the same time, I have noticed a lot of ideas that aren't thought out too well.  Many people are suggesting things that would be "cool" but don't logically conclude why they should be in the game. I see a couple of reasons why certain units and doctrines should be in the game:
1.  Mechanical difference
2.  Mechanical usefulness
3.  Historical significance

1.  I use "mechanical difference" to describe the game mechanics behind an idea.  When presenting an idea, how mechanically different is it from other ideas already existing in the game?  For example, if you have an idea for a reconnaissance ability, how different is it from the "Recon" ability in the American Airborne tree?  If it differs greatly, congrats, you created a mechanically different idea that has potential.  But if it's almost identical (or is identical) to the "Recon" ability in the Airborne tree then you haven't created a mechanically different idea – it’s simply borrowing and copying from a previously established idea. 

Why do I bring this up?  Relic and EF have done a fine job at creating unique abilities that are not direct copycats of existing abilities.  We should all strive to do this too.  Sure, there are plenty of artillery-type abilities, but a lot of them differ from one another.  On the flip side, sometimes it’s too hard to create an ability that doesn’t already exist.  An example is the heroic charge on the commissar; the Soviet Union, with their troops lacking a retreat button, need some sort of way of removing suppression.  That’s where the heroic charge comes in – it’s incredibly necessary.

If you’re gonna make an idea, try and create something truly unique.

2.  So you’ve got a unique idea, by how useful is it to the game?  Mechanical usefulness ties to how valuable and useful your idea is in-game.  For example, it’s easy to conclude why the V1 Rocket is a useful ability: it blows up a ton of crap.  The same can be said about the M26 Pershing, the 105 howitzer, booby traps, strafing run, etc.  The fact of the matter is that we can all think of a reason why these abilities are good because they all do something useful.  This section is simple: if you create an idea try and make sure it’s useful.  “Duh nubrannosaurus you stupid nub, I know that.”  Yes, it’s obvious but what I’m saying is to make sure it’s really useful.  Here’s an example of a unique doctrine idea but that has little usefulness:

Bridge Repair (1 CP) – Instantly repair a destroyed bridge. 25 munitions.

It’s a unique idea but there are two problems with it: 1) it won’t be used often and 2) even if it was used often, is it really worth 1 of the 6 doctrines abilities granted to you?  I would argue “no” as there are far more useful ideas to take place as the 6 doctrine abilities from which you choose.

Basically, if you have a unique idea, make sure it’s worthy and useful to take one of the 6 limited doctrine ability slots.

3.  Historical significance is important, but only to a degree.  CoH and OF are already so historically inaccurate that this section really isn’t an issue.  M26 Pershings were barely used, a single p-47 Thunderbolt wouldn’t be able to drop 5 bombs on a neat line, the calliope wasn’t even in production for the time period of CoH, the historical context of the maps doesn’t always make sense, and many others.  That being said, don’t worry about this guideline when creating an idea or doctrine.  If it was an experimental unit, go for it, just exercise discretion in whether it would be acceptable or not by the public.  Just stay clear of stuff that is very unordinary or historically silly.  For example, don’t make a doctrine where a Japanese Zero comes crashing down into a targeted area – not only did the Japanese not fight along the Germans, but kamikazes were not used on land targets, they were used on ships.

If you've got a unique idea that is useful, just make sure it isn’t historically silly and that it is theoretically sound for whichever faction you're proposing the idea for.

Added Note: I've noticed a lot of people are creating armies and doctrines that are rush-based or mobile because historically speaking the German's were on the offensive against the Russians.  This is a certain degree.  From 1942 and on, Germany was on much of the defensive, therefore making it historically OK to approach the Ostheer with defensive abilities or tactics -- or even a mix (whatever you want to do).  I'm bringing this up because there is no need to limit yourself in how you think the Ostheer should work based on history. 

Remember this: a single game of CoH represents a rapidly progressing timeline; that is, over the course of the game, new technology, units, and abilities become available.  Gaining access to a King Tiger isn't just there for balance purposes, but it represents a shift in the time-line -- in this case, a shift forward.  Wehrmacht starts with volksgrenadiers, but middle game they will have grenadiers as their standard troops -- another shift forward on the timeline. 

The Soviet Union in EF is a great example of this inherently progressive timeline dynamic in action.  First, they have conscripts, then later they can get Strelky, then later Guards, then later T-34's, then later IS-2's, etc.  Apex even mentioned this himself in the shoutcast that the Soviet Union in EF are representative of how they were in WW2: weak and slow in the beginning but eventually become an unstoppable juggernaut.  CoH and EF represent the years 1939-1945 in a rapid fashion, all in a single game.  Just keep this in mind when brainstorming ideas, it will allow more expansive thought.

4.  This isn’t a section, but a final point.  If you’ve made a unique idea that is useful and somewhat historically accurate then congrats, you’ve made a potentially good idea!  I use “potentially” because even if these guidelines are followed, you could still end up with ideas that are crappy or just mediocre.  No doubt this process, if followed, can be excessively hard.  Good luck!

Doctrine Themes

I wanted to make a quick note about doctrines.  All four factions have a different theme: American's have "Company Commander," Wehrmacht has "Doctrine," British have "Support," and Panzer Elite has "Tactics."  At the same time, all of these themes are just for show, because they can all be devolved to similar abilities (I’ll explain that later). 

Both the Wehrmacht and Panzer Elite seem to focus more on an idea rather than an object for their doctrines. Take a look at Wehrmacht and PE doctrines: Blitzkrieg, Terror, Defensive, Scorched Earth, Tank Destroyers, Luftwaffe. Most of these (I'd say 5 of the 6, Luftwaffe not being part of the 5) contribute to an idea, a cause, an emotion, a tactic, etc. Lightning speed tactics, instill fear, initiate defense, destroy the land, and annihilate tanks. Luftwaffe is more like Armor or Airborne because it isn't evoking a certain emotion besides "we use the air to win."

Now look at the allies: Infantry, Airborne, Armor, Engineers, Commandos, and Artillery. None of these really evoke an emotion like Blitzkrieg or Terror or Scorched Earth do. These are simple and straight to the point. It's not completely obvious, but if you presented these 6 doctrines to someone who has never played CoH, then they could probably guess what most of these doctrines employ: Infantry uses infantry, Airborne uses airborne, Armor uses tanks, Commandos use commandos, and Artillery uses artillery. It's more ambiguous with the axis.

Why do I bring this up?  When creating ideas or doctrines for certain factions, it’s good to dive into the mindset of that faction. Honestly, I feel 'strategies' are good examples of an axis mindset because it's ambiguous enough that people will have a general idea how the doctrines work in theory but not well enough to know its execution; however, they still work great as the Soviet Union theme.  This may sound all rhetorical and completely unessential, but I think it's critical for a good faction to recognize these traits and use them as well when developing new ideas. After all, as I said previously, company, doctrine, support, and tactics are all there for show. They're eye candy. They're there to communicate a message in 4 different ways, but essentially executed in the same manner. But they also serve a purpose. They convince the player that each of them are unique in their own way. That is the foundation of this argument. Convince the audience that your doctrines are unique and follow your faction’s mindset.

Case and point: Try and come up with themes that aren't explicitly called "Doctrines."  Since Wehrmacht use "Doctrines," British use "Support," Americans use "Company Commander," Soviet Union use "Strategies," and PE use "Tactics," why not be unique and think of your own theme?  It's not paramount that you do this, it just adds a nice touch of flavor and professionalism to your faction.

Ability Types

I have compiled doctrinal abilities into 8 different types:
1. Building Permit
2. Call-in Unit
3. Passive – Player
4. Passive – Unit
5. Passive – Building
6. Active – Player
7. Active – Unit
8. Active – Building

These could be classified differently I’m sure, but this classification works well enough.  I’ll go through which each one means.

1. Building Permit: This grants the player the ability to have his units construct a new building or allows existing buildings to be constructed by other units.  Examples: Teller Mine, Raodblock, Flak 88, Defensive Operations, etc.

2. Call-in Unit: Allows the player to call in units off the map.  Plenty of these abilities exist.  Examples include: Hetzer, King Tiger, Off-map combat group, Pershing, Commando glider, Tetrach tank, Tiger tank, etc.

3. Passive – Player: Grants the player some passive ability.  There are only 3 that exist in this type of classification.  Those 3 are Advanced Warning, Tank Awareness, and Ultra Decryption.

4. Passive – Unit: Grants unit's passive abilities.  There are only four in the game.  Those four are Raid, ACPR Rounds, Double Infantry AT Efforts, and Zeal.

5. Passive – Building: Abilities that grant your buildings some passive effect.  Examples include: Fortify the Perimeter, Rapid Response, Fast Deployment, Supercharge Artillery Rounds, etc.

6. Active – Player: Grants the player an an active ability that almost always costs ‘x’ munitions.  There are tons of these in the game.  Examples include: Sector Artillery, V1, For the Fatherland, Propaganda War, Allied War Machine, Strafing Run, Bombing Run, etc.

7. Active – Unit: Grants an active ability to a unit.  Not too many of these exist.  They are Booby Trap Strategic Point, Booby Trap Building, Scorched Earth, Forward Observation Officers, Dig-in, Assault Grenadiers.

8. Active – Building:  Grants buildings activated abilities.  Only two exist: Overwatch Artillery and Counter-Battery.

Those are all of the ability types.  Yes, some abilities fall into other categories and some could be mixed together, but this system when charted on a graph or written in a table, works out quite well.  It shows what each faction is composed of.  For example, you may not have noticed, but the Defensive doctrine is the only doctrine that doesn’t have any call-in units.  Or that only the PE, the Wehrmacht, and the British have a passive player ability.  Or that only the british have active abilities for buildings.  It’s helpful to know this stuff when making doctrines for a new faction (in this case, the Ostheer) because the makeup of each faction can be averaged as a whole.  For example, following the way relic designed the factions, your faction should or could possess the following doctrinal abilties in it’s sum of 18:
4-7 Call-in Units
1 Player Passive
1-3 Building Permit
1-2 Unit Passive Ability (maybe)
1-2 Unit Active Abilities (maybe)
1 Building Active Ability (maybe)
1 Building Passive Ability (maybe)
5-9 Player Active Abilities

These are just suggestions and can vary in any way you like.  The above demonstrates the maximum abilties for some factions.  I.E. no faction has Player Activated Abilities that exceed 9 out of 18.  The faction that has 9/18 Player Active Abilities is Wehrmacht (2 for blitzkrieg, 3 for defensive, 4 for terror).

Using this system, the following make-up of the EF Soviet Union is this:

2 Building Permit: Impenetrable Defense, Trench Systems
1 Call-in Unit: Stalin Organ
3 Player Active: The Red Tide, For The Motherland, God of War

3 Call-in Units: Steamroller, Partisans, sniper ace
1 Unit Passive: Close Combat
1 Unit Active: Sabotage
1 Player Active: Not One Step Back

2 Call-in Units: Mechanics, The Juggernaut
2 Unit Passive: Rolling Fortress, Tank Riders
2 Player Active: IL-2 Sturmoviks, Inspiring Speech

This comes to a total of:
6 Call-in Units
3 Unit Passives
6 Player Actives
2 Building Permits
1 Unit Active

As you can see, the Soviet Union has a pretty standard composition of abilities.  The only minor deviation is the 3 Unit Passives, where the PE has 2 (Double AT Infantry Effort and ACPR Rounds), Wehrmacht has 1 (Zeal), America has 1 (Raid), and British have none.  There is nothing wrong with having 3 Unit Passives as it is a defining faction characteristic and is similar to the unique fact that the British are the only faction to have 2 Active-Building abilities (Counter Battery and Overwatch). 

Doctrine Ability Examples
Here are some examples of the doctrines ideas I created.  I present these for anyone interested and for the developers (if they see this thread and have any interest in the ideas).

Air Mine Drop – Player Active ability.  This is historically accurate.  The german bombers would use naval mines (with parachutes) that were used against ships and actually drop them out of the bomb bay doors on cities. They were very powerful and caused a wide blast radius.  The general idea with this ability is that flares would show, the air mines would be dropped from high altitude (meaning no aircraft to shoot down), and would take a good amount of time to hit the target. This would mean that units have plenty of time to get to safety, but this would be very effective vs. buildings.  Unique and mechanically different?  Yes, as it wouldn’t be “OMFG NO WARNING” since they are clearly descending at a slow speed and flares show.  Useful?  Yes.  Historical significance?  Check.

Firebomb – Player Active ability.  Historically accurate again. Before firebombing a town with incendiaries, the Luftwaffe would preliminary bomb the town with high explosives. This would break apart the the buildings and cause damage. Then, another wave of bombers would drop incendiaries (basically WW2 cluster bombs filled with bomblets that started fires) on the town and the conjunction of damaged buildings + incendiaries would cause raging fires. Sometimes even a firestorm. It was a devastating tactic. My idea is to have this act as another type of airstrike. The targeting reticule would be circular, and when you choose a target area, a plane would whiz by and drop a high-explosive bomb or two. Then, another plane would come very shortly afterwards (1-2 seconds later) and drop a larger circular area of incendiaries. It would burn the ground for a bit and cause good damage vs. buildings, as well as any light vehicles/troops in the way. This ability is again used more for buildings or getting units out of cover, as the initial high explosive bombs don't cause much damage (1-2 bombs isn’t much compared to 5 from P-47 Bombing Run) but the prolonged burning damage is sufficient enough to scare units away (besides tanks). 

Stuka Strike – Player Active ability.  The Ju-87 G1 was equipped with two 37mm flak 18/36 cannons and was used as close support on the eastern front. The cannons were ineffective against the Russian tank's front armor but proved deadly against the top and rear. Historically speaking, Ju-87 G1's racked up T-34 kills like no tomorrow.  The JU-87 G1 was limited by 12 rounds, making rearming very frequent.  In game terms, a targeting reticle would be used like the strafing run, but the length would be a bit shorter and only 6-12 shells would be fired in the targeting reticle – making only very, very clustered infantry units vulnerable.  If a tank is hit from the back, it is damaged significantly (can’t say anything about IS-2, have no idea how effective it was, I doubt much).

Resource Intelligence – Player Passive ability.  Resource intelligence provides the player every 30-60 seconds the current resource count (not their rate) enemy players have. In other words, it shows you how many resources they have at that given moment, giving you vital intelligence. Knowing if the player has enough resources to purchase a Firefly tank or use a strafing run would be quite helpful.

Urban Training - Unit Passive ability.  Your troops enter/exit buildings faster and have greater line of sight while in buildings.

X-7 Anti-Tank Team - Call-in Unit ability.  A 3-man team armed with the experimental, yet powerful X-7 wire-guided rocket launcher.  It has far range, high damage, good accuracy, but long reload time.

Alright, that’s everything for now.  Tired and need a break from this.  Feedback, comments, and discussion are welcome. :)
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 03:53:17 AM by Nubrannosaurus »

Offline WartyX

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Re: Creation Process Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2010, 09:36:12 AM »
Good post, I hope others use it. We are lacking in balanced and varied doctrine suggestions.

Offline Rikard Blixt

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Re: Creation Process Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2010, 11:12:00 AM »
Sticking this, should make more people read it, and we get better suggestions in return.
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Offline Nubrannosaurus

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Re: Creation Process Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2010, 04:59:41 PM »
Awesome, thanks for the sticky.  I hope this helps out.

Offline Loupblanc

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2010, 08:31:02 PM »

 Dude, excellent post!!!
 I vote he be made a DEV for Ostheer, Russian campaigns? :)
 General organizing of ideas. Chief organiser? No, don't put
 him in charge of creating OstHeer, but... of whipping ideas
 into something readable? From forum contributors.
  Could half say chief archivist/analyser?
You know, there are many people in the country today who, through no fault of their own, are sane. Some of them were born sane. Some of them became sane later in their lives. It is up to people like you and me who are out of our tiny little minds to try and help these people overcome their sanity

Offline WartyX

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2010, 08:39:17 PM »
He can't be much worse than Apex  :P

Offline Voop_Bakon

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2010, 03:31:06 AM »
This needs to be stickied into faction suggestions ASAP. 

Offline Nubrannosaurus

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2010, 03:45:59 AM »
Thanks for the support and comments.  As for Loup's comments, I'm sure there are plenty of devs working on the Ostheer army right now, or at least organizing ideas, and there are also plenty of ideas floating around the forum.  Besides, a lot of people are coming to the same conclusions, as in what units should be added (I've heard Elefant 50,000 times), what significant group should be represented (such as the SS), and how the army should function (fast and mobile). 

The problem with this is that we seem to have a quantity of ideas, but what we really need is quality.  The content is a surplus, the real difficulty is of execution; how does the Ostheer function?  Sure, the Sturmtiger and Elefant are awesome, but give good reasons why they should be added to the Ostheer.  Those are some of the most difficult questions to answer.  If the devs need help, they’ll settle it amongst themselves or turn to us.  We can easily provide the stock of knowledge from which they draw their inspiration and content for the Ostheer, we just have to put forth the effort to create something truly great. 

Offline Panzer4life

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 07:49:32 AM »
Hey, great work on explaining how the Ostheer faction should be developed. Now, I see a-lot of people wanting to focus on the Army groups, but I rather focus on the battle-plans that the German used on the Eastern Front, such as a Siege battle-plan, for many of their battles were won on a siege battle plan (look up the siege of Sevastopol), and the Wide Front battle-plan, because of how the Germany military (the Ostheer for this mod) first invaded the Soviet union. So here are some units and call in abilities i would like to see added. I will download the Ostheer even if my idea's don't happen. so here i go;

Post Merge: January 28, 2010, 04:05:31 PM
   Schwerer Gustav: The massive cannon is ready for target coordinates. Fires a single 800mm shell, capable of destroying buildings and units caught in the blast. It was used during the Siege of Sevastopol and the attack on several forts on the Eastern Front.
   Ju-87 strike: Stuka bombers bomb the target, suppressing any infantry that is there and bombing the area with light bombs. The stuka was highly used on the eastern front as an attack plane, due to a lack of Hsc-129 tank busters.
 Panzer 3: A faster tank than the Panzer 4 with less armor and firepower, the Panzer three main targets are infantry groups and light vehicles. The Panzer three was used alot during the first two years on the eastern front.
   Finnish Resistence: Since the soviets attack them during the Winter War, the Finnish people went to arms to stop the Communist nation in its track. Armed with Kar-98 and anti-tank Molotov cocktails, the Finnish were highly successful against the Soviets, scoring a kill-death- ratio of 35 to 1 in the Winter War. They went on the attack in the Siege of Leningrad with the Germans.
   Those were my ideas on units and abilities that could be used for the Ostheer.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 04:05:31 PM by Panzer4life »
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Offline HaroldSax

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2010, 05:13:34 AM »
Wow, incredible thread. I don't plan on cooking up ideas, because I'm simply better at helping people modify ideas rather than creating something all my own.

This is great though, it will help those who have read it criticize and truly think about the ideas being presented.

Offline Cranialwizard

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2010, 11:04:54 PM »
This thread gave me some really great and maniacal ideas >:-)

I'll say he deserves Moderator :D
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Offline Ltevanlee

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2010, 09:48:14 AM »
Wow this is awesome! I'll use it to make some good doctrinal threads.

This thread gave me some really great and maniacal ideas >:-)

I'll say he deserves Moderator :D
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Offline Baker Easy

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2010, 04:52:23 AM »
All right, I'm seeing a lot of cool ideas in a lot of concepts but also one very bad theme running through many of them.

For the love of God cut down on the German.

Please.  I know where you guys are coming from.  You want to give your cool German stuff a bit of Teutonic flair.  And you speak German or at least a little bit, so you give them accurate names in German.

That's cool.  I respect that you can do that, and it's cool for me, who speaks a little bit of German myself.

The problem is that EF isn't just for you and me.  It's also for plenty of other people, many of whom (like my friends) barely speak a word of German.

And they're going to look at something like "Schweres Feldunterstützungs LKW" and go, "What the hell is that?"

This massive profusion of the German language in an English language game is only going to serve to confuse and frustrate many players, especially people like my friends, who barely know what they're doing to begin with.

Things were about right with the Wehrmacht.  Wehrmacht Quarters.  Krieg Barracks.  Sturm Armory.  Panzer Command.  Note the simplicity.  One German word, one English word.  No more than two syllables of German in any case, and generally hard to mispronounce.  It's easy for people to quickly understand what all these things are.

Not so with "Infanteriegefechtsstand", or abilities like "Abprotzen", or "Panzervorstoß".

So please.  Ease off, and make everyone's lives a little easier.

Offline Enrique 'Blackbishop' E.

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2010, 05:32:57 AM »
@Baker Easy
what make you think that? Soviets aren't named in that way.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2010, 05:39:16 AM by blackbishop »
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Offline tpcoughlin

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Re: Creation Process Tips and Theories
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2011, 06:15:07 PM »
Oh boy this is going to be difficult. I am a nube to EF. These forums are such a gold mine for players and a treasure trove for design/developers that one quickly becomes distracted and goes off topic.
Mission Statement:
1. Design process2. Development process
3. Doctrine D&D process
4. Coherent use of forum tools by players in order to best forward the project development.
Player ideas,playbalance issues
5. Marketing: How the maintain the interest of and expand the size of the EF Community
6.Brainstormed ideas occurring while writing this post.Add a line to the profile under avatar that allows member to identify version number (EF3.1.0.2)

8.Feedbackloop-Can you easily read this color
9. Poster's suggested design parameters: (COST -3.1415 mp)

Goal for this post:
1. Introduce myself
2. Coherent use of forum tools.
3. Keep on topic for the thread.
 For example, following the way relic designed the factions, your faction should or could possess the following doctrinal abilties in it%u2019s sum of 18:
4-7 Call-in Units[/][/]

EF( It appears that Doctrinal RHT requires 4CPs before a combat call-in is available.
1.Is this the way EF designed its Doctrinal Tree?
2.If so:a) should players suggesting Doctrinal Ideas be aware of this? b) Is the 4CP to call-in cost meant to represent a reward for combat effective play or a method to allow the player to field a combat unit in his/her chosen doctrine independent of the current stage of Tech Tree development? The LHT "Tank Riders" requires a lot of Tech development before call-in is available. Do all the Guards call-in prerequisites have to be met as well or is the rump Squad component a free bonus of doctrinal choice? The T34 component is no bonus considering teching costs and CP costs. BTW the unit is so Iconic it has to be there
3.If Not why not?

I hope I stayed on thread. OOPs :-[ "I Shall Return".
« Last Edit: March 31, 2011, 06:29:13 PM by tpcoughlin »
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