Screenshots Feature: Operation Market Garden Game Maps
Battlefront claim you can: Walk the "Market Garden" battlefield like never before!
Battlefront have released a large selection of maps from their upcoming game Combat Mission Battle for Normandy: "Market Garden”, and we thought you might like to see them.
Here is the Battlefront press release blurb with the pictures – these are thumbnails so you’ll have to click on them to get the proper picture (especially as the thumbnails can be a bit distorted).
The concept of Master Maps has garnered a lot of interest from the player community, and we are providing some additional notes and background about the concept and creation behind the Master Maps offered in Market Garden in this new section. We're not sure if this is unprecedented, but it may well be: players and military historians alike can now "walk" the crucial "Market Garden" battlefields in full 3D!
Market Garden Master Maps
The introduction of the map editor overlay made it possible for designers to make much more accurate maps, based on their real counterparts. However making those maps with all the details they require is still a job that requires patience, skill, attention to detail and of course quite a bit of time.
Master maps have been used before internally to ensure consistency in all battles fought in the same area. What is new this time around is that we are providing the player with those clean master maps so he can go straight to making his own scenarios skipping all the research and time that making them would demand.
Most players will want to cut an area of these maps to use in their own scenarios rather than use it in full. If a bridge needs to be cut a half bridge can be used in its place.
Another interesting facet of the inclusion of master maps is that having an accurate 3d battlefield to explore leads to a dramatically improved understanding of the battles fought in those areas. It is far easier to understand the distances involved and the problems both sides faced as they fought it out in the Arnhem area when you can look at a working 3D model of the battlefield.
Players can take advantage of this by loading them in the editor and moving around in 3D view.
2500m x 3000m
When the Market Garden module was first discussed internally, the obvious, if somewhat daunting, list of tasks included to map the entire Oosterbeek perimeter thus allowing the siege of 1st British Airborne Division to be portrayed. High resolution 1/25000 maps covering the area of Market Garden are available on the internet and so it was very easy to create the necessary editor overlay image, and it was a pleasant surprise that one could squeeze the entire perimeter into a map 2500m x 3000m (This is 117312 action squares, however !)
The addition of aerial photos either from the internet or reference books allowed the overlay editor to reflect a greater level of detail than shown on the maps, and in some cases allows the placement of individual buildings and trees.
Johanna Hoeve Farm
3000m x 2000m
In addition to Oosterbeek, a map covering the actions fought on or around the various drop/landing zones was necessary, and looking at the reference material to hand it was soon apparent that the area around LZ L and the Johanna Hoeve farm saw heavy action, with all three units of the 4th Parachute Brigade fighting in that area. The bulk of these actions took place within an area 3000m x 2000m and so the next master map was born.
Given the ease with which the rural Johanna Hoeve map was constructed, another rural map was created quickly, covering an action on the Betwe or “Island”, specifically the village of Oosterhout, which is to the north west of Lent. This map allows the actions of XXX Corps to be portrayed as they attempt to break through the German defences. Again a map 3000m x
Arnhem Road Bridge
816m x 1008m
And so to the Arnhem Road Bridge. Internet searches discovered several maps of the bridge area from WWII and together with aerial photos enough reference was assembled to make a map of the area to a high enough standard for the game. At much the same time as this map was being finalised, new independent buildings were introduced into the game which add a huge amount of Dutch flavour to the game. The Arnhem Road Bridge map is only 816m x 1008m but, boy, it does look good!
Nijmegen Master Map
1925m by 2800m
Creating the master map of Nijmegen was an intriguing experiment to see how a densely populated urban environment could be depicted with the new overlay function in the Editor. There would be a set of game engine improvements that could take advantage of urban combat, so this seemed an interesting choice.
The map was designed using a period 1:25,000 map of the city and environs that had detail down to individual buildings. This was very handy until the map depicts the city centre, which is depicted as a grey block of urban mass. It soon became clear that in order to finish the map, the focus should be on the central area of the city. Including both bridges was critical to depict. The final map sizing based on the underlying image covers both bridges, and is 2.8k west to east, and from Lent in the north to the southern reaches of the city just under 2k!
To better understand the urban centre, primary use was made of the Dutch website http://watwaswaar.nl as well as other aerial image sources. Aerial images from the site can be found from September, 1944 which means that we can see the areas mapped as they were during Market-Garden. After reviewing as many aerial images as available, it soon became apparent that the city centre was a large blank swath of what looked like dirt. The city had been mistakenly hit on February 22, 1944 by US bombers bound for Kleve, Germany, so this had to be taken into account by wiping out a large chunk of what wasn’t shown on the map.
2400m by 2400m
The map of Elst covers an area of “The Island” to the North of the Oosterhout master map. The same set of period maps that were used for Nijmegen covered the area as well, as well as books that covered actions in the area of the town. The fighting in the area of Elst should appeal to many players: The last, desperate attempts to reach the 1st AB in Arnhem were made in the region covered by this map.
The landscape around the town of Elst is very flat, with many irrigation ditches running through fields. A few concessions to playability were made with the ditches - straightening them to the map axis and allowing mud access points so AFVs aren’t completely trapped (but have a great chance of bogging). It is immediately apparent why the Allies had such a tough go towards Arnhem when the terrain is viewed. This segmented landscape draws interesting comparisons to the hedgerows of Normandy. There will be lots of interesting tactical possibilities on this landscape featuring lowered mobility and reliance on the poor bloody infantry.
2240m by 1504m
This is one of the smaller of the master maps. It depicts the area where the 3rd Battalion, 504th PIR, 82nd AB crossed the Waal River on September 20th. The map was extended to the west and south to allow for anyone wanting to make a fictional battle that would cover an attack on Nijmegen's factories. This map presented some interesting map vs. aerial image analysis problems. The area the 82nd AB attacked over towards the Fort Hof Van Holland area is very flat in aerial imagery. The map of the area depicts a more complex landscape, however - a patch of forest towards the water’s edge and slight rises in the landscape. The game map combines these in a happy medium.
The area covered by this map overlaps a little with that provided by both of the previous maps - the edge of an urban centre, together with flat fields beset by irrigation ditches being two prominent features. The interesting element in this map is the dike system as a defensive wall to be overcome. The fort also can become a focal point for a scenario, as well as the north end of the railway bridge.
Master maps created by:
Pete – Pete Wenman
- Oosterbeek Perimeter
- LZ L / Johanna Hoeve
- Oosterhout ( north of Nijmegen)
- Arnhem Road bridge
Benpark - Ben Donaldson
- Elst Master
- Waal Nijmegen
More info about Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy: Market Garden: