Kill A Rat

We ran part 1 of the Kill-A-Rat program, half the rats went axis, half allied and we piled into the battle at Andenne/Namur. We turned on a few features that are still somewhat limited – both sides were making use of the incomplete “spawn @ mission leader” functionality which really cranked up the heat on the battle. We also notched up the limits on hulks and corpses, and man what a battlefield ;)

Everyone here was pretty stoked by the end of the event. Even Rickb was pretty excited and I’ve never seen him in-game except flying. As the Allies moved up towards town the infantry exchange of fire was phenomenal. Rifles firing so often that it was almost like machine gun fire. And, apparently, I won with 23 deaths! 9 more than the runners up, Animal and Gophur with 14 each.

We’ll be running another Kill-A-Rat Wednesday night 7pm-9pm central time (GMT-6); again, with t-shirts going to the 10 players with the most Rat Kills ;)

If you’d like to see what Battleground Europe is really all about, this would be a really great time to see what we mean when we say “battle”. If you don’t have an account, you could drop rafter an email at and ask him nicely ;)


Damn that sounds like a battle. I wish you guys would have a 360 version, I know, I know, but I can dream can’t I???

Spawn at leader? when did you code this? Are you guys going to move ahead with this feature or are you just messing around?

I loved your conception of “proximity earned re-spawn near leader” (or whatever you called it).


Hehe, we were “roleplaying” /msp trout :)

This was a prime example of how limited AOs “work” and why NOT allowing people to spawn all over the damn place and do whatever they want IS a good idea.

Despite a couple of whiners it was exactly the type of game and gameplay we want to foster. If you were there and didn’t have fun, well, you’re a moron. I can say that on a blog right?

– You got 7 million? I’ll give you a 360 version that’ll blow you’re friggin mind.

– Not spawn at mission leader the way Oli generally portrays it, instead it was mission leader placed spawn point

Sorry for the hi-jack Oli but you hit my Google alert and now I don’t have to blog how damn cool the event was.

I dont understand.

You said it was friking fun, and then, you say it didnt work.

Please, elaborate.


bog no spawn at the mission leader? Curse you kfsone. No beyond the red line for you!

New ways to spawn have always moved this game forward so I scratch my head sometimes and wonder why spawning at/ near/ behind/ whatever the leader is not a higher dev priority.

And of course AO’s work Gophur – do sane people still argue otherwise?

YOu know, its funny how the huge game map and lack of “zones” has always been a selling point of the game.

On the other hand, if ground combat DID take place within zones and boundaries, and with a more structured mission system, you would probably have supirior gameplay!


We haven’t implemented spawn at mission leader, we do have a “/msp” command that Rats can use, which we were using to “roleplay” spawn @ mission leader.

I have to say, if I were starting WWIIOL from scratch, I would want to do some kind of “instancing” to allow per-fight balancing. That’s not possible right now because we can’t control how much either side can bring to a fight – e.g. by spawning there and driving here.

Per fight balancing!!!! I’ll kill you.

er ehem… what did I come in here for? Right.

You should make a mission leader able to set an /MSP anywhere inside a large radius of a friendly flag with a supply link (And outside the radius of an Enemy flag). One MSP per mission leader. If the mission leader sets another MSP the old one disappears. If the mission leader moves outside a specified radius the MSP disappears. if the mission leader dies or despawns the MSP disappears. If the flag is lost the MSP disappears. The mission leader has the ability to cancel the MSP.

Then get rid of depots. This will eliminate the game play where you have to camp the depot to capture the flag next to it.
Instead you assault the building you think the MSP is in, find the mission leader and kill him. Then you cap the flag.

I was thinking, tonight, that we recently made a change such that the game hosts know now which building you are in (so that it can keeeel you when that building blows up).

I could possibly make /msp work “inside” UMS ranges but still more than a certain distance away from an enemy facility – or inside a non-spawn building. But again with some rules.

“…still more than a certain distance away from an enemy facility…”

Should that perhaps be “from an enemy spawn point”…which in the present mechanics might be a facility or an MSP/UMS?

I hope sometime soon you folks will be able to implement locale capture either by progressively pushing back enemy spawn points that automatically move to maintain a minimum buffer distance from your closest supplied mission-group, or by attriting enemy mission-groups to disintegration if they choose to stand and fight in order to prevent pushback of their spawn capability.

It’d be nice to see some more direct progress toward moving beyond fixed spawn points and singular capture points.

Well then, I won’t kill you afterall:) Thats a really good approach. It would be much better than soldiers appearing out in the open some place where they can be sniped from 200 meters as soon as they appear.

What about the other rules? Namely, disappearing when the mission leader dies, despawns, or moves outside a certain radius?

I kind of view this system as a compromise on the idea of “the mission leader running around with inf popping out of his butt.”
It will allow the mission leader to set a spawn point near himself when he is inside a building in a safe place that he has a supply link to. It will encourage strategic house to house fighting, because if the mission leader wants a certain section of buildings held, he can move up there himself and then it will suddenly become a foot hold. Of course, if it’s supply is cut off (The flag is captured or the fb is lost) or the mission leader is killed, then it will cease to be a foothold.

Well being able to detect what building you are in is fantastic. As far as captureing buildings maybe :P or for missions having a mission to capture and hold a specific building. might be nice to have those options tehre.

Even cooler, a text somewhere saying “near Namur-Andenne depot” when you are near a building. Many times I have to open the map just to check what depot is the one I am seeing. Or you can place Neon signs over the buildings, of course! :-P

“The Sheep and The Tree: beers & girls”

If you can cap buildings by having numbers in a location, why limit it to depots? What if that was expanded to every building (city block, etc. – whatever’s manageable), and depots were completely replaced with ML-based MSes in-town for spawning (only in non-contested areas – otherwise it’s your standard MS outside the city to get the attack started and spawning in the AB until a safepoint can be set up elsewhere if the town’s overrun)?
The map of the city would be divided between Axis and Allies, with a definite front: Axis own the red painted section, Allied blue, and contested is Gray. Suddenly there’s a fight for points of strategic significance in the city (the church, a certain crossroads, etc.) instead of zerging the spawnables – the new idea becomes to advance the line instead of just grab a single point. Even without any increase in ML leadership abilities, simply having the information of “Here’s the front” would do wonders for some sort of organized warfare…

Heh, I love it when some minute change can mean so much to the game as a whole. :)

I’d kinda love to do that, Victarus – one of my “what if” proposals for a spawn @ mission leader concept featured a mechanism for “securing” individual buildings so that you couldn’t just run into a building and spawn from it, you had to actually take it.

I’ll have to dig that up – I believe it was here on the blog somewhere, I talked about using deaths within a certain radius kinda like a depot throttle. But that was for spawn *at* mission leader, whereas since then we’ve talked about a “respawn@mission leader” concept.

I’ve also talked before about how I’d like us to have a two-tier MSP system – although gophur is very anti this.

1. Trucks/UMSes – this is where you spawn.
2. Respawn @ ML – the system I described of “get in ML range, stay in ML range, get the ability to respawn”.

“I was thinking, tonight, that we recently made a change such that the game hosts know now which building you are in (so that it can keeeel you when that building blows up).”

It’s collision based unfortunatly so it doesn’t work if the building doesn’t have a floor. Thus why people still get trapped under rubble in those large urban buildings. I’d be hesitant to base a new feature off of it at the moment since to the uninformed it’d seem pretty inconsistent.

I think the worries about having these spawns forced to be in cover are overblown. A smart ML is going to do that anyways if he wants the spawn to be viable for any length of time. The most important things as I see are the distance and spawning limitations to keep the instant army factor down. “Respawn at ML” instead of “Spawn at ML” is my current favorite plan. I’d say the distance from an enemy facility could be pretty small with the respawn ruleset 100m-200m maybe even as little as 25m-50m.

I think I’m tending to agree with your (offline) comments that whenever you’ve encountered an MLSP it hasn’t given you the jarring “guys spawning out of nowhere” impression you’d expected. As I said, tho, I think that may be because people tend to apply prudence in placing their MLSPs in some kind of covered place; if people start placing them out in the open it will be immersion spoiling and so it carries the risk of disgruntled – or just plain annoying – people doing it for that exact reason (spoil it for the enemy).

I get your point about wanting to allow it out in the fields, but on the other hand, I think that’s where you use UMS and MSPs, and the idea of tying it to buildings then fits in well with the idea of the MLSP being the “forward” spawn which uses the truck as a fallback between the FB or origin town and the target.

That helps create some initial/setup time-to-battle while allowing an increase in battle presence after arrival.

You wouldn’t want to have a spawn in one of those large city buildings anyway. Finding the MSP in one of those would just be another moleing exercise. And why hasn’t anybody covered up the internal doorways in those yet? You guys haven’t noticed how ridiculous it is to run inside the ENTIRE leangth of a building thats painted to look like a series of storefronts.

Well what I personally was thinking was this: the ML sets up an MS, and that MS works if the zone he’s in (building, city block, whatever) is uncontested – no enemies are in it (if one person is trying to reach your ML-based MS, I assume he’ll be cleaned up rather quickly – maybe a “Spawn when MS is up” button could avoid this being a pain for players trying to come in). In addition, maybe have it so it only works if it can trace a line of supply to the edge of town or an AB, with isolated “pockets” disappearing the moment there isn’t anyone from your side in it anymore.

It isn’t immersion breaking: You can’t pop up in front of an enemy because if he’s that close, the MS doesn’t work (those large buildings in cities might hurt that if they’re destroyed though – a big flat hill). You also don’t have tons of guys coming from an isolated pocket in the middle of town, so the game becomes intuitive – it isn’t “They’re coming from the east, and that building over there”.
It encourages teamwork and more “realistic” fighting: The front in a town is right there, lined up saying “The action is here”. You can’t mole a town anymore – if you’re “capturing” a town, there’s a great big splotch of red/blue on the map saying where you’ve been (which won’t affect real battles since it’s too vague to give anything away if there’s a dozen people in town setting it off). If a group pushes too far into town without support, they get cut off instead of capping a spawnable and having it get camped for a few minutes.

Generally speaking, despite the fact people are popping in out of nowhere more than with the depot system, it plays as though the opposite is the case. It would take a fair amount of code I imagine, including a system to keep track of this new “ownership”, but I’m personally rather fond of the idea.

Not that I’m putting out a formal plan or anything of course. I just saw some discussion going on and couldn’t help but join in. :)

Have to be mindful of people using something like that to tell if there are EI nearby :)

IMO it’s *desirable* to have the system disclose the presence of at least one enemy soldier within a block that you thought you controlled, by shutting down those of your spawn points that are in that block. That concept is an essential element of a functional front line concept that prevents spawn camping, in a game with a moderate player population.

Have to be mindful of people using something like that to tell if there are EI nearby :)
Well really, that’s the point. It only really takes place in cities (well, what I’m thinking of at least), and the only time “Are any EI near” would give any real advantage would be in a severely low-pop attack, ie a mole operation. Maybe it could be fine tuned a bit to allow for Covert Ops-y things – if three infantry are in a block, it takes two EI to hit that “Contested” state – but moling is really a part of the game I don’t care for, and I think anyone on the receiving end will tend to agree when its going on.
Also it kind of depends on the size of the zone. If it’s a building then it’s kind of specific, but if it’s the city block deal than it works a lot better – “EI in this part of the city” really isn’t something that’ll doom an attack.

If anything I’d worry about MSes being too easy to shut down, but that’s really a trick in finding that middle ground between a large zone and a small one – maybe MS tracking is done on a building scale while what’s shown on the map is more vague about it.

It sounds like you’re very focused on towns and more specifically that buildings define the zone where you can place an MS..? :) I find it more important to have an actually mobile MS that noone has to be in(since it’s usually a boring task to sit and wait and not get to shoot) during the part of the attack where you haven’t reached the town yet.

When you start talking about advanced spawning concepts it becomes clear that the current, hard coded, point capture system is holding the game back. First of all, they always force a QCB confrontation that feels very gamey and artificial, and gives neither the attacker nor defender any choice in where they maneuver and locate themselves within the battle.

Second, you hamstring the replayability of this game, with its hundreds of towns, by in effect, making each capture of Schilde the same as the last one. We are sometimes suprised by how many enemy show up, but hardly ever WHERE they show up or where they are headed.

If you have ever participated in an MSP vs MSP battle then you how cool the game could really be.


It sounds like you’re very focused on towns and more specifically that buildings define the zone where you can place an MS..? :) I find it more important to have an actually mobile MS that noone has to be in(since it’s usually a boring task to sit and wait and not get to shoot) during the part of the attack where you haven’t reached the town yet.
Well I am more focused on city fighting, but most of that is that the current MS system covers non-city Mobile-spawning fairly well – it’s only in the city that having the MS here or 30 ft to the south matters.
And no-one would have to sit around and babysit the MS (barring defending it, of course); it’s just easy to assume that there will be a fair number of people there since it’s where people spawn as well as close to the front; think of capping the AB once a fierce battle starts, for instance – generally speaking, it isn’t easy to just waltz into the bunker.

Generally speaking, I’m talking about having it so you can spawn anywhere your side controls if these conditions are met:
A) Someone set up a place to spawn there (obviously the ABs need to stay as an initial point for these people to come from).
B) No enemies are nearby (if they’re everywhere, you can spawn at the AB and fight your way out to make a place to spawn at).
C) A soldier could, hypothetically speaking, run from a “spawnable” location (the edge of town and/or your AB) to your MS without running into any enemies. (Obviously a “Control Strength” algorithm could avoid just one or two guys running through a battle to cut off the enemy – if there isn’t anyone to keep an area, it defaults to the strongest ZoC.)

A&B are the current system plus a check for enemy proximity, and C would require a ton of work outside cities without much gain. The troop densities are in the urban environments, so that’s where it’s most worthwhile to check where the “front” is.

Really, I think of the MS as simulating the soldier being dropped at the point by an Opel or something – the boring “Running up to the front” part skipped over in the interest of getting to the fun part. I think that considering it that way and going for as “realistic” as possible really would help any MS system – obviously it won’t be really realistic, but it’ll be set up so things are intuitive enough to pass for it. :)

Re “EI detector” – what I’m actually thinking of is this:

One implementation might be that when someone enters your MSP, the placement rule is invalidated and therefore you can “detect” EI without seeing them on a finer scale than EWS provides.

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