It is appropriate that this blog be about D-Day (6 June 1944). I’ve been working on the metadata that defines the Utah Beach game module. Where we had left off from before, the module metadata had been framed out but not completed. We still had some map metadata issues to work out, and most of the GameBox metadata was just a shell. In the past couple sprints the Utah Beach map metadata along with the schema validation have been resolved, the takeaway is that the MapEdit utility throws no errors when rendering the map from the metadata. Then I started working on the GameBox metadata that describes the scenarios within the game module, of which there are currently five scenarios:

Scenario 1: The Full Campaign – covers the entire campaign from the first day air assault by two airborne Divisions, aerial bombings, naval bombardments, the drive to isolate the peninsula and and the drive to capture Cherbourg. Then the breakout to the South to capture the town of Carentan and link up with forces exiting Omaha Beach.

Scenario 2: The Longest Day – covers the first 24 hours of D-Day on Utah Beach, illustrates the chaos created by a less than optimal air assault, and a lack of command and control, and the effort to move men and materials off of a constricted beach under enemy fire.

Scenario 3: Isolating the Peninsula – covers the push West to cut off the peninsula, which is critical to block enemy reinforcements and supplies, and to allow the Allies to build up for the drive on Cherbourg.

Scenario 4: Objective Cherbourg – covers capturing the Port of Cherbourg, which is vitally needed to supply the troops ashore.

Scenario 5: The Breakout – with the peninsula secured, this scenario covers the breakout to the South and the capture of Carentan. This is the prelude to the famous “Hedgerow Hell” that ended at St. Lo.

The exciting news is that there are several scenarios within this game module for different aspects of Operation Overlord on Utah Beach, and the campaign game that covers them all. This boils down to metadata definitions within the UB_GameBox.xml file that the Tactical Operations Command System (TOCS) game system software can act on. The first to focus on is scenario 1, as it can be used to create Scenario 2 rather easliy. So far I have the Allied side complete except for their Victory Conditions. Now I am focusing on the German Setup, Reinforcements and Victory Conditions. Once these are complete the first scenario metadata is ready for play test (once the core software is ready).

Aerial Reconnaissance Photo taken of Utah Beach with troops landing

The photo above is a view of Utah Beach the morning of the invasion, and the image below is how it looks to the players. There are significant logistical issues exiting the beaches, such as the flooded areas where only certain elevated roads have become long narrow causeways, the solid brown roads are very narrow single-lane roads (cart paths), various weapon nests, and eventually the endless hedgerows and the bocage that restricts vehicular traffic to the roads. Further back, is  Sainte-Mère-Église and the flooded area around the la Douve and la Merderat Rivers, and the challenge of capturing the bridges intact.

The equivalent view of Utah Beach in the game module

The Utah Beach game module provides players a gaming experience that includes an air assault by two American Airborne Divisions (82nd and 101st) followed by wave after wave of American units landing on the congested beach under enemy artillery interdiction. The buildup and drive to cut off the peninsula, the ultimate capture of the Port of Cherbourg, and then the final breakout. Within the TOCS system, all of this is data driven by the metadata, which is why completing it is now on the front burner. From a development perspective, the TOCS Client/Server infrastructure will soon be processing scenario information from the GameBox metadata for the Order Of Battle (OOB) tableaux, air capacity tableau, and for the PregameSpecialSequences, Setup and Reinforcements. Follow our progress as the Utah Beach module development matures.


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