The Battle of Fredericksburg (Part I): Crossing the Rappahannock and the Assault on Marye’s Heights

by Brett Schulte on May 24, 2008 · 0 comments

NOTE: For help with this mod, refer to the proper MMG forum thread and the thread for the LITE release.

Mod Name: The Battle of Fredericksburg (Part I): Crossing the Rappahannock and the Assault on Marye’s Heights

Last Updated: Added May 24, 2008

Author: Maps-Tomcattwo; Scenarios-MarkT

Other NEEDED Mods:

  1. ADukes’ Community Mod Pack 3.0 OR
  2. ADukes’ Community Mod Pack 2.0 OR
  3. TC2M Patch 3

Files to Download:

  1. Fredericksburg_North.exe

Add-On Files to the Initial Install:

  1. Fredericksburg_North_Lite.zip

Readme File:

The Battle of Fredericksburg – Part I: Crossing the Rappahannock and the Assault on Marye’s Heights
Map and 3D Objects by Tom “Tomcattwo” Stevenson; Scenarios by Mark S. “MarkT” Tewes; Order of Battle by Gary Laga

This installation package will install a map, with over 50 new 3D Objects, and 21 Scenarios for “Take Command: Second Manassas” (TC2M) PC game published by Mad Minute Games. You must have a copy of TC2M with Patch 3, or Community Mod Pack (CMP) 2.0, or CMP 3.0 installed on your PC for this package to work. This modification to the game was not tested on the Dixie II Gods and Generals mod. This map and set of scenarios is part I of a two part Battle of Fredericksburg set. Part II, Attack on Prospect Hill (Fredericksburg_South), will be distributed at a later date. Together, these two maps, objects and scenarios contain historical and what-if variants of the actions that occurred at Fredericksburg Virginia from 11-15 December, 1862.

WARNING: This map contains a LOT of new 3D objects and as many as 5 Corps of troops (over 100,000 men) on the field at once. This may cause some older computer systems to lag when running the battle. Scenarios were tested in high resolution and all detail options on with a 3GHz Pentium 4 system with 2 GB of DDR RAM and an NVidia GEForce 5950 Ultra Video Card with 256 MB of video RAM and ran satisfactorily. If your computer system has 1GB of RAM or less, or an older video card, you may need to reduce the level of detail in your TC2M options setting to run the map and scenarios satisfactorily. Alternatively, you can download and install the Fredericksburg_North_Lite.exe version of this modification. The “Lite” version contains fewer 3D objects and less detail, but still contains historical scenarios, locations and architecture. The “Lite” version can be downloaded at:

http://home.comcast.net/~tomcattwo/TC2M/Fredericksburg_North_Lite.exe

The Lite version may not be available for up to a week after this release.

Installation
This set of maps, objects and scenarios is installed using the one-click installer “Install Creator” by Clickteam. Double click on the installation file Fredericksburg_North.exe and follow the instructions. Make sure you point the installer to your TC2M directory when prompted. The installer will place the following files into the folders in your TC2M folder:

In the \Maps folder:
Fredericksburg_North.lsl – this is the compiled Fredericksburg North battle map
Fredericksburg_North.csv – this is a comma separated variable file for terrain on the map
Fredericksburg_North.tga – this is the terrain definition grayscale file for the map
Fredericksburg_North_MM.dds – this is the standard in-game battle map, often called the “jump map”
Fredericksburg_North_MM_Period.dds – this is an alternate jump map which is an historical map from 1862.

To install it instead of the standard jump map, simply rename the file Fredericksburg_North_MM.dds to something else (like Fredericksburg_North_MM_Std.dds, and then rename Fredericksburg_North_MM_Period.dds to Fredericksburg_North_MM.dds. The installer won’t do this – you must do this renaming manually. To restore the standard jump map file, just reverse this renaming process.

In the main TC2M folder:
README_Fredericksburg_North.doc – This file.
README_Fredericksburg_North.txt – a text version of this file
Fredericksburg_Historical_Information.doc – Historical information about the battle and architecture of Fredericksburg Virginia

In the \Packages folder:
TC2Objects_FBurg.dat – this is the library package file that contains the new 3D objects used on the map

In the \Scenarios folder:
23 Scenarios for Fredericksburg North (FD01-FD23.mmg)

Operation
After installing the modification using the installer, start your TC2M game. You will find the 23 Fredericksburg scenarios in the Custom Scenarios menu (you’ll need to scroll down the menu to see them). You’ll also find the Fredericksburg_North map available in the Open Battle map menu, where it can be used with any order of battle for open play.

Loading
Be patient! There’s a lot of stuff in this map file. Loading may take up to a minute or more the first time on an older computer system.

Known Problems
There is one known crash problem I have encountered as a repeatable crash in CMP 3 (not tested in CMP2), and I don’t know if this is a TC2M general problem or a problem with my mods: Apparently, TC2M does not do a good job unloading my maps once a scenario is ended. If you try to play another scenario or Open Battle after playing a Fredericksburg scenario or Open Battle , the game will crash at “Loading Tree Shadows.” I dunno why it does that, but it does. Solution: don’t do that. After you finish playing a Fredericksburg scenario or Open Play with the Fredericksburg_North map, exit the game and start the game again before playing any other scenario or Open Battle game.

Gameplay Tips
From Map Designer Tomcattwo
1) Rivers – Generally, the AI in TC2M is excellent when it comes to moving troops. But when it comes to thinking when it comes to a river – not so much. The general rule the AI uses is: “If you want me to cross that river from this side to over yonder, I’m gonna go the shortest distance between right heah’ and ovah thayah, and I don’t cayah if thayah’s a bridge right next to me!” To avoid that, always tell your troops to move across the river using road movement. If you do they’ll cross at the bridges (or pretty close to them – a lot depends on the viewing angle and the “slop” I allowed on either side of the bridge for the AI to play with). If you don’t use road movement:

a) The AI will march the troops right into the icy river
b) they’ll swim across, freezing their little pixellated buns off
c) they’ll become exhausted and be combat ineffective
d) you could be waiting a long time for them to get across – it’s SLOW!

So, word to the wise – move your troops down near a bridge, then give them road movement to the opposite side, right across the bridge, then give them further move orders once they get to the other side. Don’t be alarmed that it says Street / Road” for their location when on a bridge – this is how we fooled the game into allowing your troops to cross at all without experiencing a through d above.

2) Road Movement – There are a LOT of interconnected roads and streets on this map. Long road march orders tend to confuse the AI, sometimes marching your troops all the way through enemy lines to get to someplace relatively close. To combat this:
a) Turn on road markers
b) after giving a road march order, check the road markers to see where the AI is sending them. If it’s wrong, do the repositioning in smaller steps.

Also, in order to provide the defensive benefits to the Sunken Road, it isn’t connected to the rest of the road network. That means the AI may do silly things if you tell it to road march to someplace not on the Sunken Road if your troops are starting on the Sunken Road. Moral of the story – watch your road movement! Same goes for the small pieces of road on Brown’s Island (where the main bridge from Stafford to William Street was burned down by those pernicious Confederates) and a small bit of road north of Falmouth. Those roads are not connected to the “main” road network. You have been warned.

3) Terrain – Terrain in this mod is CRUCIAL to your success in battle. This IS the historical terrain as best as I could determine it from reading a ton of books and comparing over 30 different maps. The Union had a hell of a time because all the terrain funnels your troops right into the kill zone in front of the wall and slows your troops to a crawl all along the way. Union Generals – perhaps you can find some other ways to take Marye’s Heights without getting funneled by the terrain? For the Confederates, this is very very good ground. Make the most of it. Don’t let your over-daring (but dopey) leaders give up excellent terrain to form a salient in the open in front of the wall. Most often the AI is smart enough to use this good ground to its advantage. Keep an eye on ‘em though. Look in the Fredericksburg_North.csv file if you want to understand all the terrain effects.

4) Entrenchments – as it says in the Historical Information (read it – you’ll enjoy it!) the Confederates had a butt-ton of time to prepare Marye’s Heights. The brown depression lines on the map are entrenchments / rifle pits / prepared positions. They slow movement a little bit, but provide excellent defensive benefit. Use them when you can. Artillery has no problem being in entrenchments either – consider these as prepared artillery pits.

5) Buildings – Remember in TC2M, the game thinks your unit is wherever your #1 Sprite (the Color bearer) is, at any point in time. Well, the color bearer can go in between buildings, and thus the unit can be in “building” terrain. Building terrain provides excellent defensive benefit, is slow to move through and allows your troops to “hide” – visibility in buildings is only 10 yards (as compared to, say, 60 yards in heavy woods). If your unit is shooting, then that sorta goes away (can’t have it both ways). Ask the 8th Florida about not shooting sometime – they refused to give away their positions by firing through most of the 11 December action in town. In any case, use buildings to your advantage, especially if you are Barksdale in Scenario FD01.

6) Take some time off from fighting to go into Open Play and just walk around the town and the area and enjoy all the pretty buildings and sights! Yes that really is Col. Thaddeus Lowe in his air balloon Intrepid over the southeast part of the battlefield, and yes he’s in the gondola. Go check it out. I am sorry that one major “special effect” I wanted to put into the map didn’t make it in bacuse I have yet to figure out how to make ProEdit accept my animated models: I wanted houses on fire with smoke boiling straight up (there was no wind on 13 December 1862), and I wanted water streaming over the millwheels…Ah well – maybe in a future map.

7) Have fun with this! Mark Tewes did an OUTSTANDING job on the scenarios, and we made it all just for you, the players of Norb and Adam’s outstanding game, for free. Let us know how you liked it on the forums.

From Scenario Designer Mark S. “MarkT” Tewes
When Tom first approached me about writing the scenarios for Fredericksburg, I said to myself, ”Cool, another map.”. After a few moments of thought, I said to myself “What a boring, one sided battle this will be.” After a while, (while I was throwing brigades around the woods of Georgia), I started thinking more and more about the Why’s and Where’s of Fredericksburg. I started scripting the battle thinking to myself, ”How do you program slaughter?” “How do you program heroism?”

When the first version of the map arrived, I was struck by the extreme terrain. I have been to Marye’s Heights and found them imposing, but, tucked away behind the sprawling community of Fredericksburg, they remained obscure. When placing the divisions of French and Hancock on the map, I found the heights far more intimidating. And finally, when I placed the brigades of McLaw’s Division, I saw the killing fields to the east and the ditches that funneled the federals to the wall.

After scripting and re-scripting the battle for a week, I was watching a brigade pass through the lines, in perfect order, the green flags waving. And they didn’t stop, they didn’t pause, they didn’t follow the script, but they drew up almost to the wall before 3 whiffs of grapeshot decimated them. One regiment stayed, and was whittled down to the flag and one infantry sprite…. No, it was not a single sprite it was the remnants of the Irish brigade.

It was at that point I realized, what I was trying to achieve.

I threw away my script, and simply ordered the troops to take the hill. Simply take that hill…

If you want to see slaughter, Play the Hancock Scenario. Watch the troops, quite on their own, struggle forward inch by inch, using every bit of cover they can get. Each other. They were running, they were hiding, they were firing, and they were dying.

If you want to see heroism, Play the Cobb Scenario. The waves of Federal troops desperately trying to reach the wall. Sometimes they come close, A regiment from Pennsylvania, It’s colors lost to history, reached up and grasped the golden ring, all but for one moment.

Again I say, There is more to this AI than meets the eye. Thank you Mad Minute Games, and thank you to Tom for a beautiful map. And of course the testers, etc.
Mark T.

Removal
To remove this modification, you must manually delete the files indicated in the installation list above.

Usage
Legal stuff: USE THIS SOFTWARE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! The modification authors (Thomas L. Stevenson, Mark S. Tewes, Gary Laga) will not be held responsible for any special, incidental or consequential damages resulting from possession, use or malfunction of the program, including damages to property, loss of goodwill, computer failure or malfunction and, to the extent permitted by law, damages for personal injuries, even if we have been advised of the possibility of such damages. In other words, USE THIS MODIFICATION AT YOUR OWN RISK!!

The map, 3D objects and scenarios are distributed free of charge. You may redistribute the entire package to others. You may not charge any money for this package, the 3D models or scenarios – they are free of charge to the TC2M community. You may not upload this package to any website that charges a fee to download software. TC2M modders are authorized to extract 3D Power Render Object model files (.pro, .ls and .jpg) from the TC2Objects_FBurg.dat file using LibEdit and use them in their own map modifications, provided that credit for the models used is given to Tom “Tomcattwo” Stevenson in the README file of the new map mod. Map modders who have questions concerning the model files may email Tomcattwo at Colt_Coltrain@comcast.net.

Other information:
We’d like to thank Norb and Adam for making such a great game and allowing us in the modding community to continue to make it better. I would also like to personally thank Louie Raider, Master Map Designer, who helped me with a lot of hints and tips, and also David “Davinci” for his support as well as some very nice railroad tracks. Visit the message boards at http://www.madminutegames.com/MadMinuteBB/index.php for more info on this and other mods for this outstanding game.

Have fun – let us know of any bugs on the forum. Also, let’s see some after action

————

LITE VERSION README

All,
Below is a link to a LITE version of the Fredericksburg North Map. You can download it at:

http://home.comcast.net/~tomcattwo/TC2M/Fredericksburg_North_Lite.zip

Here is the README:

http://home.comcast.net/~tomcattwo/TC2M/README_Fredericksburg_North_Lite.txt

Requirements:
1) You MUST have the original Fredericksburg_North modification installed – this LITE map provides ONLY the map file and a couple of readmes.
2) READ the README file for installation instructions. Basically
a) Unzip the .zipped files
b) Rename your old Fredericksburg_North.lsl file in your TC2M\Maps folder to something else (in case Santa brings you a new vid card for Christmas)
c) Copy the Fredericksburg_North_Lite.lsl map file into your TC2M\Maps folder
d) Rename Fredericksburg_North_Lite.lsl to Fredericksburg_North.lsl
e) Crank up TC2M and take her for a spin. All scenarios and Open Play should work using this new map.

The poly count on the original map is around 467. The poly count on the Lite version is around 196, but it still looks pretty decent and has all the historical stuff in it.

Differences between the “Full” version and the “Lite” version:

1) Reduced about half or more of the houses, especially small ones. Used row houses to populate blocks in town. Town still looks OK.
2) Removed all single chimneys, wells (except Stephens’ well, a historic object) outhouses, chicken coops etc.
3) Removed all pillars for the burned out bridges
4) Stopped rotation of the millwheels. I should probably just take them out, but I didn’t.
5) Removed all abatis around the entrenchments at the base of Howison Hill (more historical stuff gone <sigh>)
6) Added fog and reduced draw distances.
7) Fixed collision topheights on bridges and such.

I left all historic buildings in, as well as the pontoon bridges, and Lowe’s balloon “Intrepid” Gotta have SOME eye candy in there ya know, even for those older systems… All,
Below is a link to a LITE version of the Fredericksburg North Map. You can download it at:

http://home.comcast.net/~tomcattwo/TC2M/Fredericksburg_North_Lite.zip

Here is the README:

http://home.comcast.net/~tomcattwo/TC2M/README_Fredericksburg_North_Lite.txt

Requirements:
1) You MUST have the original Fredericksburg_North modification installed – this LITE map provides ONLY the map file and a couple of readmes.
2) READ the README file for installation instructions. Basically
a) Unzip the .zipped files
b) Rename your old Fredericksburg_North.lsl file in your TC2M\Maps folder to something else (in case Santa brings you a new vid card for Christmas)
c) Copy the Fredericksburg_North_Lite.lsl map file into your TC2M\Maps folder
d) Rename Fredericksburg_North_Lite.lsl to Fredericksburg_North.lsl
e) Crank up TC2M and take her for a spin. All scenarios and Open Play should work using this new map.

The poly count on the original map is around 467. The poly count on the Lite version is around 196, but it still looks pretty decent and has all the historical stuff in it.

Differences between the “Full” version and the “Lite” version:

1) Reduced about half or more of the houses, especially small ones. Used row houses to populate blocks in town. Town still looks OK.
2) Removed all single chimneys, wells (except Stephens’ well, a historic object) outhouses, chicken coops etc.
3) Removed all pillars for the burned out bridges
4) Stopped rotation of the millwheels. I should probably just take them out, but I didn’t.
5) Removed all abatis around the entrenchments at the base of Howison Hill (more historical stuff gone <sigh>)
6) Added fog and reduced draw distances.
7) Fixed collision topheights on bridges and such.

I left all historic buildings in, as well as the pontoon bridges, and Lowe’s balloon “Intrepid” Gotta have SOME eye candy in there ya know, even for those older systems…


***

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