First scenario attempt: Sadr City 2008

First scenario attempt: Sadr City 2008

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ForkInOutlet
ForkInOutlet's picture
First scenario attempt: Sadr City 2008

While both relatively new to the game and the scenario editor; I am announcing the start of a current scenario project based on the the April-May assualt on the Sadr City neighborhood in Baghdad by Iraqi and US military units.  Opposing them were militias belonging to the Mahdi Army, commanded by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.  This is my first attempt at modding, and this thread will be where I post progress, ask questions, and work with the community.

Sadr city, an area spanning from...

"The southern third of the al-Thawra District consists of the relatively well-to-do Habbibiya and Jamila neighborhoods. Home to a large Sunni Kurdish population, this area hosts the Jamila Market, one of Baghdad’s largest. Jamila heaves with industry and commerce, its roads clogged with tractor trailers transporting goods from scores of factories, warehouses, and machine shops. Leaving Jamila, the district gets progressively grittier and more destitute as it moves northeast into Sadr City proper. The central al-Thawra Street transits endless sectors of dense residential housing and burgeoning crowds of thousands of idle young men. As megacities grow slums in their unclaimed peripheral land, Sadr City grows its own even more fetid slums. At al-Thawra Street’s culmination on Sadr City’s northeast edge, a wide canal of raw sewage delineates the sprawling shantytowns of Hay Tariq and Hay al Muntader, respectively dubbed “Squaretown” and “Triangletown” by U.S. troops. These squatter settlements, which grow at a viral rate, are home to the most impoverished, including many war refugees displaced by fighting elsewhere in Iraq."

Where...

"The Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement sought to impose the widest possible spectrum of control on the people of Sadr City—and was quite successful at doing so. The Sadrist spectrum of control went beyond most armed groups by encompassing bona fide religious legitimacy. The Sadr family’s legitimacy was burnished by remaining in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s rule, where they suffered and died beside the oppressed Shiite people. For decades, the Sadr family ran a robust and reliable network of charities throughout the Shiite areas of Iraq, particularly among the impoverished masses. Hundreds of thousands of poor Shiites came to depend on the Sadrists as their primary subsistence lifeline. This is not to overstate the Sadr network’s largesse. No one was lifted out of poverty: unemployment remained rife, infrastructure unrepaired, and waste uncollected. Nonetheless, compared to an overtly hostile and repressive Baathist government, the Sadrists’ limited initiatives earned tremendous loyalty among the slum’s population. The sentiment expressed to a U.S. officer in 2004 was, “even if you paved my street in gold, I’d still follow Muqtada al-Sadr.”11 After 2003, the founding of the Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) strengthened the coercive portion of the Sadrist spectrum of control with religious courts sentencing and gruesomely punishing those who defied Sadrist control structures. JAM was no slouch when it came to conflict, battling repeatedly against U.S. military forces, ruthlessly purging whole districts of Sunni residents, and manning checkpoints to guard against the very real and murderous threat of al-Qaida bombings. JAM, in affiliation with the broader Sadrist organization, was able to maintain competitive control of Sadr City through half a decade of opposition by the cream of the U.S. Army. How JAM’s competitive control was eventually disrupted can be seen in a juxtaposition of military operations in 2004 and 2008—two years that saw Sadr City’s heaviest fighting."

Vision:

To create a scenario that attempts to authentically create the struggles faced by Coalition forces both in urban combat as will as diplomatic and civilian relations.

The Coalition player will have a mixed bag of units composing of Iraqi Army (11th division), Iraqi police, and US Army formations.  The US Army is few in number and expensive but are the best and most reliable units available.  Iraqi police are comparatively abysmal, to the point where their use may hinder the player; however they are numerous and cheap.  The Iraqi Army is between the two, forming a middle ground in terms of cost benefit.  The player will have the task of clearing Sadr city, holding the current perimeter and wall, and dealing with Sadr himself.

The Mahdi Army is made up insurgents who are reasonably well armed, quite motivated, and generally reliable; however they suffer from the same problems as all insurgent and guerilla groups.  The player will be tasked with holding the current ground they control, while also attempting to launch attacks outside of Sadr City.  Since a protracted conflict is unfavorable for them, they will also try to raise civilian/international outrage to a point where they can claim a diplomatic victory.

Challenges:

Game design challenges:

  • creating a scenario that is both balanced, challenging, and possible.
  • designing a scenario for the first time
  • Attempting to recreate the battle accurately despite information being hard to come by

Editor challenges

  • creating a scenario that is both balanced, challenging, and possible.
  • designing a scenario for the first time
  • Being somewhat technologically inept (I can't even figure out how to post pictures in this forum so I am using dropbox)
  • Creating game sprites and other things that require visual components that do not exist by default

I have no idea how long this will take.  I don't know if I'm biting off more than I can chew either.  I hope to be done with this by the end of the summer but in reality I have no idea how long or how short it will take me.  While I've had a reasonable amount of free time so far this summer, that will most certainly change as I prepare to begin college.

Current pressing questions I have:

How are the visual elements such as sprites for units, flags for sides and nations, and maps created?  Are they feasible to do on one's own?  I have seen what others have done, but I am no good artist and am currently working off of an iMac.  If it proves to be unfeasible I will either attempt to recycle existing scenario sprites, or ask the community for help.

Speaking of which if you want to help in any way, from giving advice to working on the project, I am more than happy to let you join me in this :D

My current progress has been haphazard and really just me exploring the editor without knowing exactly what everything does.  Existing scenarios have been very helpful and I need to get around to watching the youtube videos as well as reading the mostly translated guide (Thank you Alex for everything!).

I will attach at the bottom here screenshots of current "progress" as well as accompanying visuals via a dropbox link.

My goals for the next few days will be to do more research and scenario outlining as well as exploring the scenario tool optiions and the rules.

Next progress report will come within a week, but probably within a day or two and will likely consist of my research findings.

I realize I have probably written too much and will end it here.

Thank you all,

Will

https://www.dropbox.com/s/j5badl51rx0tscs/map_sadr_city_nyt.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xzqglz5zyuak4fc/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-12%20at%2012.12.44%20AM.png?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/c70tim2aswrf9j8/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-13%20at%204.59.36%20PM.png?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7s4gpbj8iva1er0/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-13%20at%205.00.28%20PM.png?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/690k7yd6qp5bino/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-13%20at%205.01.11%20PM.png?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0dyysaio8buthg1/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-13%20at%205.01.39%20PM.png?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/sdc3rmyudmwohfm/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-13%20at%205.01.47%20PM.png?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jrth4w4tal9bj8k/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-13%20at%205.02.59%20PM.png?dl=0

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Welcome and bravo for using this forum to explain us about your undertaking, which seems very interesting. Your subject will most likely do a great game and we will be glad to assist you with it.

 

To post images in forums, I recommend you use some image hosting site, such as Imgur, and upload your pictures there. Then you post the link provided for those pictures and paste it here, in such a way the picture will appear in the post directly (use the one call BBCode for Message boards and forum)

More specifically, regarding your questions

Graphics

The sample sources scenarios have a folder (name Graphics) where you find most needed graphics. They also give you exact indication about the needed sizes (in pixels) and format (most of which is PNG). We have Photoshop templates that you can use if you are at ease with this software. Else you can also supply us good quality pictures and we will produce the images for you.

Board

I saw the board, although not in details. The cut of the city in blocks, although logical (especially for Americans, your cities do have blocks), is may be problematic in terms of gameplay/working of engine, because you may risk issues with movements alongside the diagonals (i.e. from NW to SE in a 4x4 set of blocks). Draw by hand a map sketch before starting anything in the editor, and submit it. Also never do too small 'areas' in the map, because they may end up crowded (up to 4 different stacks + structure icon) and thus can creat handling issues (we learn that the hard way with some games)

 

Texts and Data

Make sure to read the document I enclosed in the WeTransfer about "good localization practices", it will save you hours and hours of issues and hassles. For instance I noticed blanks in some of your texts, don't use them. Same for the - sign. In both case use the _ (underscore) sign. Also, never enter full texts in the editor, the latter must contain only aliases...the 'real' text will end up in the localization XLS file, never in the editor.

 

Before using the editor

As I mentionned previouly, write down your "story board" before doing anything. This will give you (and us) a clearer picture. Exchange on this before starting. In other words, there's research and pre-design work required before using the editor.

 

Last but not least (although in French), you can have a look at some Editor use videos on Strategiae YouTube channel ( here a link to the first one of 8 videos, you can see them all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHlUsVoUVnQ&t=189  )

 

Bravo, keep up the good work