The focus in Heroes & Generals, as of now, is on the European theater of WWII. With the two factions battling for the other’s capital, the way to success is capturing land. And land in Heroes & Generals means cities. And lots of them.
You see, we really want to reward cooperating and strategic thinking players, and the way to do so, is to make sure that tactical players have an advantage. In the action game, owning more access points means an advantage for the attackers, since it’s harder to defend a city when attackers are coming in from multiple sides, and in the upcoming new battle system and resolver, the amount of access points owned by either faction has a say in the defending and attacking stacks’ combined force.
More access points means more battlefields, and more battlefields means finding and placing cities on the European map that is the campain map. This process usually meant firing up “Ye Olde War Atlas” (aka. Google Maps), finding cities that were close to where we wanted some new battlefields, and then trying to triangulate its correct placement by nearby cities already on the map and placing it in our internal tool, the “Warmap Editor”. This is a very cumbersome task, and placing 100-200 new battlefields meant days of work.
So obviously, this made me implement a much faster way of doing just that in the Warmap Editor. Having just gotten myself familiar with the Warmap Editor on my first assignment here, I felt comfortable with the code, so it wasn’t a huge task, and the time invested sure was worth it.
With the help of some global mercator projection calculation magic and the awesome cities API on http://geonames.org, the procedure has been made childishly simple.
First, you find out where you want to place new battlefields, you then click a button and then drag over the area:
And voila! 100 new potential battlefields have been found.
Next up, slide the “Hide cities with population under”-bar to reveal only the most populated cities:
And find the one closest to the location you want, double click, and it’s now on the warmap.
Now all that’s left is to connect its access points to the surrounding battlefields, and you guys have a new battlefield to conquer. Lather, rinse, repeat.
While it’s playfully simple to add battlefields, a lot of thought actually goes into the placing. We have to consider choke points, advantages and disadvantages and air support availability. Considering the latter is made simple(r) by the WarmapEditor’s “View airfields”-functionality, that lets the designer see how much of the map a plane on an airfields can reach with an attack or a move.
The red circle shows a plane’s attack radius, the green its move radius.
Ideally, when selecting all the airfields, the whole map should be covered by red circles.
And that, my friends, is how you come to rule Europe. On city at a time.