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The Art of Scenario Design


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Some of you may recall that Werewolf started writing a manual for SB Scenario Design. He got as far as the forward/introduction and decided he did not want to continue.

What he did write can be viewed here:


Now, we have some very talented scenario designers in the community.

How many of you would like to contribute a chapter or two to an online manual that can be referenced by all in the future?

Please chime in!!

~mm 8)

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Didn't we have a putative table of contents already worked out?Why don't you repost that and we can see which people want to work on which sections? For example, I think I could do a lot of good in the dirty limerick and science fiction section.

I am pretty good on the mechanics of sce creation, but the actual design of a given sce includes some 'art' - thats the hard part. Making the sw work the way you need it to is just a matter of enough monkeys on a single football.

FYI - I have built perhaps 6 sce's, and only posted one (Company Assault). As far as recruiting is concerned, I think that we need to tempt BW into this one! :)

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Ok Shot...you're in.

BW...I second that nomination.

The original thread was:


Chapter ideas can be found there, but we may all want to elaborate on them. Some of them include:

So far I've completed the theory section.

I'm about a 4th of the way into the map (terrain not scenario) making section.

What's left are sections covering:

Events and Conditions

Routes and CP's


Victory Conditions

I only work on the thing because MapMan guilted me into it - but I do work on it when the urge hits me.

Shotmagnet currently has what's been released. If he thinks it's worthwhile maybe I'll put it up on a web page for DL and online viewing and add stuff as I complete it.

I should mention that WW was clear he wanted his stuff copyrighted, so I will ask him if he will let us use the forward/intro as it stands.

In either case, the rest can me a group effort. So all you scenario designers, don't be shy! Speak up!

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I'll further my stake and commit to writing the whole thing, if and as need be. I'll take whatever's thrown my way, and I'll add whatever needs to be added.

I can write intelligently on all aspects of scenario creation, I can also play well with others and take their input and turn it into a seemless whole.

Rat, you have to include your 'poetry'.


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Oh, I think that I can find a way to tuck in a bit of doggerel. Recommend against using any copywrited material unless you can get a quit claim. This should apply regardless of the author. As I recall, there are some custom height maps which can't be distributed for the same reason. If the extent of WW's contribution to date is the introduction, and he has made his IP claim clear, then regretfully, we may wish to omit that portion.

MM, you might apply to Sean and Ssnake for their thoughts on this topic since I am sure that it has arisen previously.

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I did a quick scan of WW's draft intro. While good, none of the concepts in the article are groundbreaking and all have been covered quite thoroughly in the fora (learned that word here, I did :mrgreen: ). Recognizing that there this was a draft effort, I think that without violating any of WW's copyright, we can reproduce the intent of the introduction without too much trouble. I have a few guides to scenario creation from AH bookcase games, as well as a book or two on game design that includes chapters on level creation and design (Game Design by Primatech for one), and while these are not perfectly suited to SB, I volunteer to take the first stab at an introduction. I will work on a TOC and post later tonight.


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hmmm... isnt the manual for SB sce design already on the SB manual. or are we talking sce design itself.. if its about the latter, i look it as kind of an art. if you put guidelines, doesn't that limit the creativity of the "artist". will it not cause sce to look or play alike ? anyways, i hope ww's initial effort is still available. maybe it will help us in the quest for variety, and conformity.

Hai !!!

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I think the basics are covered in the manual, but judging from the number of questions that appear in the forum, the documentation for SB was probably second chair to the effort invested in making it the phenomenal sim it is, technically. I think a rehash of the basics, liberally spiced with the sort of folk wisdom that WW included in his intro would make the concepts more accessible and less intimidating to first timers. Incidentally - I would state that IMO, WW is still the first choice to do this kind of manual. I am inferring from a number of posts in various threads that he is on an indefinite LOA from posting though )-:

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Feeding the Monkey On Your Back Or Creative Ways To Get Your SB Fix While You Wait for SB2

(If you are thinking about building scenarios in Steelbeasts, I believe that you are already pretty familiar with the game. If you haven’t read the AntiFrustration Kit at www.steelbeasts.com, played several scenarios, as well as the tutorials, then go give those a whirl. Once you have been fully assimilated, you’ll be ready to enjoy the heaven and hell of scenario design- editor)

You went and did it. You bought SB. You scoffed at the graphics but fired up a tutorial and played a game. The sound effects were pretty damn cool, so you played some more. You really twitched when your tank brewed up without warning and your eyes began to burn staring into the phosphor screen of your TIS. Hours later you convulsively released the joystick after failing to beat the second to last AI tank in the Tanks scenario, AGAIN, using your secondary sight and applying Kentucky windage in place of modern fire control after your GPS and rangefinder were blown away, AGAIN. HA! You’re done for now, because it is only a matter of time before you chew through all the scenarios on the Gold Edition and then what? Time for a choice – ah, well done, you swallowed the red pill – here you go.

It’s time for the real world, time to build your first scenario. Preposterous you say? I don’t have that kind of time, you claim! Who are you kidding? You are one of us, the damned, and if you aren’t already stalking through the night in the SB chatroom, and recognizing all the regulars, you will be soon.

From the great highs of getting that first conditioned route which randomizes enemy movement to work the right way to the dismal lows of screwing up nested event zones and performing your own QA, the SB experience isn’t truly complete until you have opened the Map Editor and the Mission Editor and given it a whirl. Besides you need the fix and you’ll come back sooner or later. You will come to appreciate how hard it is to make a really great scenario. Heck, you might even leave feedback for one of the poor addicts who slave away for the joy of it (ok – maybe I’m reaching, but the scenario posters need to hope too, don’t they?). Good luck tanker – TARGET!

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Prospective TOC:

1) Foreword (VERY rough draft above)

2) Introduction to Map Editing and Scenario Design For Steelbeasts. The tools, how to navigate get there, the differences, general capabilities etc. (sort of a primer on the upcoming sections, how the tools work together, what to expect on your first try, existing resources etc.).

3) What is a mission anyway? How to define your operational parameters and organize your effort so you aren’t overwhelmed. Awareness of technical constraints (concepts like time limits, SP v. MP v CP, terrain selection, mission type (Hasty attack versus prepared defense etc., numbers of units in play, effect on MP etc).

4) Restoring Balance To The Force: Or How to Keep It Interesting For Others. The art and the science of the balanced scenario, even when unequal unit counts are in opposition. Scenario theory, battle sizing, scenario objectives (enterntainment, training, competition etc., scenario types such as the King of the Hill scenario, the trade ground for time scenario, the special objectives (convoy etc) scenario etc. Selection of general victory conditions appropriate to other factors)

5) How Does the Map Really Work? Introduction to the Map Editor, Basic Functions, Map Creation and Editing (Operating the controls, the parts of the map and nomenclature, UTM, building a basic map from an existing *.raw file etc.)

6) Blocking the Scene: Taking your basic scenario idea and scripting the flow of action. (Like a good story, the mission should have an intro, an body, violent action, suspense, surprise, recovery and conclusion).

7) The Mission Editor: Basic Controls and Exploring an Existing Editable Scenario. (How to get around in the mission edit, driving around in a generic sce and explaining where the controls are – basically a buttonology chapter).

8 The Mission Briefing: Hey, is all that boring background stuff before the shooting starts really necessary? (How to introduce the sce to the player(s), this is the first chance to really immerse the players in the simulation, how to get the sce to “make sense”. Don’t forget the summary).

9) Unit Selection and Setup. How units are prepositioned and controlled, How units are handed off to the player from the AI. Refresher on the properties of Tactics (menu item). Basically how you create units and place them on the map. Force structure. D-zones. Pre-existing conditions, how to make different view and crew positions available.)

10) Who Let The Chicken Walk Across the Monitor: Map and Mission Graphics. Generation and modification of objects, shapes, penalty zones, symbology etc.

11) Excuse Me, I Just Broke Squelch: The AI Radio and How To Communicate With Your Player (using the scripted transmission feature).

12) Events, Triggers and Conditions: Aren’t they really the same thing? (introduction to events/triggers/conditions and their application)

13) You Can’t Get There from Here: Route Planning. (CP’s, embark conditions, refresher on movement types etc.)

14) Support and Obstacles: How to use artillery, minefields and visibility. Arty types, amounts, timing, intergration with Events and Conditions, how to emplace minefields etc.)

15) Hey, Who Is This Major Defeat Guy: Building victory conditions into the scenario (Intro to point totals, various way to calculating point totals)

16) Campaigning With Hannibal: How to Make a Series Of Missions. (Building scenarios together, transferring conditions from one sce to the next etc)

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hmmm... isnt the manual for SB sce design already on the SB manual. or are we talking sce design itself..

Hai !!!

The manual is very basic. The amount of collective know-how and wisdom in this community is amazing and should/shall be shared with all who would like to be creative with their scenario and map design :D

Shot has offered to be the Editor of this undertaking and I will publish all to a website for all to use (Sean, when the time comes, may I have some more webspace for this?). Everyone else with ideas, concepts, how-tos, questions they would like answered in this publication etc. are considered writers, editors and consultants at large. :D

Rat...great start!!! Keep it coming.

If you wish to contribute, please post your idea/outline here. All submission should be writen in Word or another text editor and email to Shotmagnet at:

catapult AT softcom DOT net

If borrowing ideas from other books/websites, PLEASE write them in your own words or just outline the concepts as they would apply to SB. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT HERE!

Since we will be publishing this on the web, if you wish to include screenshot of what you are talking about, please do! JPG is the prefered format for this, but if you just send the bmp file I can convert it.

I would also like to see a section on "How to design a Campaign."

By the way, you don't have to be a great writer to contribute. Get your ideas down and send them to Shot. He will insert the correct and readable english version :wink:

Gary Owen has offered to go into Multiple Route Planning logic (see: http://www.steelbeasts.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=1446&highlight=logic )

for us! Thanks Gary!!

Here is one of his posts on the subject:

Regarding Boolean logic, all you'll really need to know to get going, and you can get pretty far with just this, is the difference between AND & OR.

The expression (X AND Y) is true only when X and Y are both true.

The expression (X OR Y) is false only when X and Y are both false.

For controlling unit behavior along routes or setting up conditions or events, you might want to write out the statement from the Control Logic box:

-- AND/OR {(-- AND --) OR (-- AND --) OR (-- AND --)}

With the truth values of the variables that you've put into the statement, you can evaluate the entire statement using the above two rules regarding AND & OR. Just start with the inside parentheses and work your way out.


T AND {(F AND T) OR (T AND T) OR (F AND --)}

T AND {( F ) OR ( T ) OR ( F )}

T AND {[( F ) OR ( T )] OR ( F )}

T AND {[ T ] OR ( F )}

T AND { T }


I asked if he could expound on this in plain english for us :shock:

Anyway...all for now.

This should be a great effort!

~mm 8)

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I had another thought.

Many times the AAR is as enjoyable to review and discuss afte the battle as is the battle and battle planning itself. While this is not Scenario Design, a good AAR can add quite a bit.

NEpi is very astute at this, and I now ask him if he would like to write a section on how to write up an effective AAR after a battle. Perhaps this can be one of our Appendix since it is not the major focus of the publication.

Ghost is another AAR writer (see Battle Labs) that comes to mind.

NEpi? Ghost?

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Shouldn't be a problem re: the existing stuff. I wasn't planning on using it anyway.

Rat, let's sling some e-mails back and forth about TOC stuff, and how we think the thing should be subdivided.

Map, who are you appointing to head up the project? Are you looking for volunteers?


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Map, who are you appointing to head up the project? Are you looking for volunteers?


You are editor in cheif. But if you would like to have a "project co-ordinator", or two or three, that is fine by me.

I will keep the ball rolling and do the web publishing.

Any project co-ordinators out there with nothing better to do :?: :D

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