Jawohl, mein Herr! [Company of Heroes]

Hello, is it me you're looking for?

First of all, Happy New Year to everybody. Today I want to make some space to something I made back in 2010. Like back then, I started to play Company of Heroes again with Marsu, and I remembered that I had some own maps laying around. The idea of making maps for CoH came when we decided to try out some community made maps that were a little bit more fitting for our defensive play style, so we downloaded one with a huge bridge connecting the bases. Turned out the map had a completely bugged out path finding...

That bridge man, we couldn't get that one Bren Carrier past that one post, and the enemy AI was stuck in their base for the whole round. It was while digging through the game files that I found the games map editor, so I thought I'll give it a try and remake that same map but with working AI path finding. Easy peasy, the editor has a simple brush tool for terrain and ground textures, the rest is a drag and drop system to put objects into a live rendered view of the map. What was initially intended to be a quick playing around with the editor ended up in a few hours of work and my first map, which I tastefully called "Traversant la Dordogne".

Back then you found all the maps and mods for Company of Heroes on a site called Filefront, which was part of Gamefront, so I uploaded my work to the site. Every uploaded map got tested and reviewed by a moderator and, for being my first map I ever made for CoH, they gave me some pretty positive feedback.

Traversant la Dordogne

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About the map: This map is designed for one purpose, and one purpose only: to fight across a land bridge. Frontal assault/defense is the primary goal here, with concentration of forces along one front being the optimal (and only) strategy. The land bridge features numerous houses and defensive positions, and there is a small infantry bridge as well, providing a (small) opportunity for rear strikes.

Staff Impressions: This map is basically designed for trench warfare, plain and simple. Landmines, slit trenches, and bunkers/MG nests will be your best friends here. In the end, the team that prevails will be the one with more firepower, and who grabbed the most land first. Watch out for flanking infantry attacks across the footbridge, as that may dampen your efforts somewhat. Graphically, it isn't bad at all, with a good variety of objects. The texture is a little repetitive, but the objects do an excellent job of offsetting that. 

Summary: Trench warfare fans will like this map. Enjoy!

And we indeed enjoyed the map, I am playing it again and it is still a blast. The map actually got downloaded a few hundred times which encouraged me to make another one. This time I wanted more bridges, connecting different parts of the map and them being destructible, maybe making it like you are playing chess, advancing from one field to the other and still having that defensive play style. And so "Shetland Bridges" was born.

Shetland Bridges

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About the map: This is a 3v3 map set in an archipelago in an open expanse of water. Large numbers of destructible bridges means that fighting over choke points will be furious, and the dynamic nature of the terrain means players who get complacent will be demolished. Tanks will be a liability on this map, which is almost perfectly suited to defensive warfare.

Staff Impressions: Very nice. I like the idea, that's for sure. Tank players had better watch out, because those tanks will be sitting ducks on the narrow bridges. Infantry will fare little better, for the same reason. Defensive emplacements are the order of the day, and a battle comparable to the Somme is to be expected. Watch out for flanking hostiles, or plant explosives on as many bridges as possible. Your choice, but be wary of engineers. Graphically, this map isn't bad either, with healthy variation in textures and good object placement.

Summary: Not bad at all. Praise the mappers and pass the ammunition, 'cause this map is gonna see a lot of it before it's played out!

Praise be, praise be.  From a strategic standpoint this was my favorite map, practically every round was different. And the community seemed to like it as well, over 2500 people have played the map, a number I never imagined I would reach by making maps that were initially intended for Marsu and me. We played the shit out of it, and I really need to talk him into playing it again.
After a while I wanted to try and make another symmetric map, but something a little different. I got the idea of making it in the desert, a battle from the North African Campaign. I never intended to be historically accurate, but I called the map Operation: Brevity, a limited offensive conducted in mid-May 1941, during the Western Desert Campaign and was intended to be a rapid blow against weak Axis front-line forces at the desert border between Egypt and Libya. Now, the game itself didn't have any sand/desert textures for me to use, since it only played in the west European theatre, so I had to cheat a bit. I found a texture of dried out grass that was only noticeable from up close, but from the standard POV it just looked like sand. Some touches here and there to simulate sand dunes et voila.

Operation: Brevity


About the map: This is a 2v2 map set in the desert. It features opportunities for tank, infantry, and defensive players to shine, although defensive players will likely have an easier time of it due to the pre-dug trenches.

Staff Impressions: We don't see enough desert maps around here. In any case, this map is designed more for hard combat than good looks, with few objects placed that aren't directly intended to be used as defensive emplacements. The good news is that the textures at least seem varied, thanks to the tank tracks sprinkled liberally around. Strategically, this map is intended for a sort of  "trench warfare" approach, with defensive players especially gaining the upper hand if they fortify the middle early.

Summary: Not bad by any means, and the fact that it's a desert map is always a plus.

This last one was the one map I spent the most time working on the details. I wanted it to look alive and show a battlefield where there had been fought before, with the border fortification, crashed airplane and burning trucks. In my opinion a very pleasing map to look at, and the gameplay wasn't bad either, but of course you have to like to play defensive.
The Filefront mod Community got shut down like a year ago, but all the files got transferred to the Gamfront servers. Now, even though the website is ugly as shit, the three maps are still available for download if anyone would still be interested. I'll leave the links here:

I wanted to post these maps as a little reminder of the old days. The game is still very good and I'm enjoying playing it again, even if it has its 10th anniversary this year. I mean it was the first game to come out with DirectX 10 and the graphics are still holding up. A big thanks to Marsu for the time we have spent and hopefully will still spend with this game!
Cheers
DHR_000x

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