ACWCO Engineering Department

ACWCO Engineering Dept.

 

HPS/JTS Scenario Editor

Before modifying a scenario there are several things you want to keep in mind.

1. You want to be careful not to modify the existing scn files so it doesn't affect your ability to play the original scenarios from the game.
2. You want to make sure your opponent is aware of the changes you make and agrees to them before starting the game.

The easiest way to modify a scenario file is to open it with the Scenario Editor. We'll go through a step by step procedure on doing this. When you start the Editor you get a window that looks like the figure below. I'm going to select 002 1BR_Bull Run(Historical).scn and open that file.

Once you open the file the first thing you want to do is to save it under a new name. Using the Save As function in the File menu give it a name that indicates what scenario it was developed from, later I'll show you how to make notes in the Editor to indicate what was changed. For now I'll save it as 002a 1BR_Bull Run(Historical).scn as shown in figure 2 below.

Now you can make the changes you want to make to the scenario without affecting the original scenario file.

 

I am not going to go over using the Editor in much detail, I think the Help files do a good job of explaining things for the most part. I do want to point out one thing that I think is important when modifying a scenario. If you go to the Scenario tab at the top and click on Description you'll see a window like that in figure 3 below.

This is the information that appears when you are browsing the scenario list to start a new game. So when you are just modifying a scenario this is where you want to make your notes on what you did to the original scenario so people know what changes you made.
In the Author section I normally leave the original name and add "modified by Ken Miller." This way I am still giving credit to the original author while noting that I have changed it.
Then in the Description itself I add additional text explaining what changes were made and why. Let's say I wanted to release some of the fixed units earlier. In that case I would add at the end of the original description "Hunter's Division released earlier to reflect better handling of the predawn march by the union forces." So you might want to do something similar when you modify existing scenarios.

 

Next I'd like to run you through the process of developing a new scenario from scratch. The first thing you want to do is determine which map, oob and pdt file you want to use for your scenario. Remember you can load a modified pdt file into the game engine so if your scenario will occur on different dates than the original pdt file and you want to use the weather function you can copy the old pdt, rename it, modify it using the information provided elsewhere on this site as a guide then use your new pdt in your new scenario.

With the release of the JTS Overland game the map and oob files appear to have been opened up again. Currently those games that have been updated to version 2.0 allow map and oob files other than the originals to be loaded, provided the map file has the correct checksum modifier applied. For more information on this see the sections on maps.

When you first open the editor you'll see something like the image below.

If you close the Open window by clicking on the X in the upper right corner, then go to File then New you'll see the window below listing the available map files.

This window allows you to choose the map file for your scenario. I have selected Antietam.map. Once you select the map the new window that opens

allows you to choose the oob file you want to use. Once you've selected that the last choice to be made is which pdt file you want to use as shown in the figure below

Once you have selected your map, oob and pdt file the next thing you'll see is the map in the background and the Header window shown below.

The Header window is where you set the date and time of the first turn of your scenario, how many turns it will last, the VP for casualties as well as the victory conditions and the starting ammo for both sides. When setting your starting ammo levels keep in mind that this will be modified as more guns are placed on the field as well as by ammo provided by arriving reinforcements. It is also affected by use of the ammo by gun optional rule. The game engine automatically adjusts your ammo level when this option is chosen at the start of a game.

You don't have to fill in all this information right away, you can always return to the Header window from the Scenario menu on the top of the editor menu bar. Once you close the Header window you will see the Scenario Description window shown earlier in figure 1. It too is available under the Scenario Menu. Once you've closed the Description window you will see the window below.

This shows the Unit Dialog window that allows you to place units on the map. Like the Header and Description window this one can be closed and reopened, only it is located on the Command menu.

The next you would want to do is save your scenario using the Save As function in the File Menu. You are now ready to begin development of your own scenario. If you use the Help files you should be able to figure out how to do most functions involved in building your own scenario.

 

The last thing I want to cover is the easy way to change the PDT file for a scenario. This is the one part of a scn file that you can change directly using a text editor without causing problems with the file. To do this you open the scn file with a text editor, once again the first thing you want to do is rename the file in the same manner as was described previously. To do this you use the Save As function under the File menu. After that you should have something like this displayed in your text editor.

15
Battle of 1st Bull Run (Manassas), July 21st, 1861
1861 7 21 3 0 0 0 1 38
10 20 30 2
10 20 30 2
-1000 -500 500 1000
4 4 0 0 4292 0 0
600 500
Bull Run_sub.map
1st Bull Run.oob
Antietam.pdt
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 2 2 2

If you change the name of the pdt file in the eleventh line you can then save the file, when opened it will use the new pdt file you specified. Next you'll want to open it with the Scenario Editor and make a note in the Description explaining that the new scenario uses a modified pdt file and maybe noting what was modified in the pdt file.

This covers the basics on starting the Scenario Editor, opening a scenario file and modifying it's Description, starting a completely new scenario and changing the pdt file used by a scenario. The only other advice I can give you is to try modifying or creating a scenario. I've found the best way to learn to use the Scenario Editor is to do just that, use it. You'll quickly find out what works and what doesn't and the Help Files and manual can assist you. Just remember when you open a scenario file to save it under another name before you start making changes to keep from corrupting your original game files. Finally once you've designed your scenario it's a good idea to playtest it several times to see if it needs tweaked for play balance purposes, especially if you plan to post it somewhere for others to download.

 

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Page designed and maintained by Ken Miller
Last updated 10/05/2015

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