Hill level elevation

holdit

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Quick question...how high is each hill level in terms of the real world? I don't remember ever seeing a number given. I imagine it's abstracted quite a bit, but I was wondering if the designers had some averages in mind.

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Paul M. Weir

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CH did have a 10 m per level at one time, don't know about now. That was due to CH using their ATS maps for their ASL versions.

However you are quite right in that it's abstracted, I've never seen an AH or MMP declaration of heights. The important thing is more "is that hill higher than that house?", IE relative heights.

I would suggest that a 1 in 4 slope (10 m/level) is a fair slog going up, and 5 m is sufficient for a house story, so anything from 5 to 10 m seems reasonable.
 

jrv

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I would suggest that a 1 in 4 slope (10 m/level) is a fair slog going up, and 5 m is sufficient for a house story, so anything from 5 to 10 m seems reasonable.
The game is more design-for-effect with hills than cartographic accurate. Although the crest lines appear in exactly one hex, the hills being simulated in most cases extend well beyond the crest lines depicted. Some of the "flat", "lower-level" terrain in front of a hill is actually part of that hill and in most cases grades smoothly into it. Among the hardest technical problems of wargaming is developing a playable set of rules that simulate three-dimensional terrain and LOS on a two-dimensional map.

JR
 

Paul M. Weir

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Possibly true if you are talking about level 1 hills or say level 0, level 1, level 1, level 2, but once you have a continuous slope, like level 0, level 1, level 2 and you consider the geometry there is not much room for 'smoothing out' the slope, a half hex extra at best for 2 or more levels and hexes of climb, 25% extra. If it is more than a half hex of 'spread' then that hex should be hill.

If you really think about it, even level 0 open ground in reality will have local dips and rises, so an abstraction is about the best you can do. When I got into SL I regarded the SL maps as the best approximation with quite recognisable features for anyone who has read a rural map, even just in school. Still the best in my mind.
 

jrv

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Possibly true if you are talking about level 1 hills or say level 0, level 1, level 1, level 2, but once you have a continuous slope, like level 0, level 1, level 2 and you consider the geometry there is not much room for 'smoothing out' the slope, a half hex extra at best for 2 or more levels and hexes of climb, 25% extra. If it is more than a half hex of 'spread' then that hex should be hill.
Only if you consider the crest lines as literal contour lines. I think they may be more figurative in many cases. The fight is for the top of the hill and not usually its slopes, so the military effect is to crowd the "military" contour lines near the top of the hill and not evenly and mathematically space them out. If you space out contour lines so you have large flat areas at intermediate levels you end up with strange dead space that can't see "down" the even slope. Hence we got slopes. For a non-historical map it's better to crown the hilltop with extra "military" crests rather than to try to somehow fit the crest lines into contour lines. Crest lines are not contour lines; they are design for effect.

IMHO there is an awful lot of literalism in ASL players, and the game design seems to me to be more stylistic than literal at least with the geomorphic boards. Roads aren't 40+m across; they just feel that way to soldiers crossing them. Terrain (mostly) isn't flat with a few cones or steps of height; it just plays better that way.

JR
 

Paul M. Weir

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I think I see part of the problem between us. There are 2 facets to "slope"; one being one of the colloquial usages of "slope" to indicate the gradient, that being the rate of change of height per unit of horizontal distance travelled, eg 1 in 10 or 1/10; the other usage indicating simply not level ground. The smearing out that you mentioned and I commented on I just see as a bit lower average gradient.

I see the ASL hill depiction as basically a like a topographic contour map, the ASL "crest lines" being the tracing of points where the height is X. I don't automatically see them being "military crests". A military crest is a sudden enough decrease in gradient to provide at least partial cover from observation and fire from below. Even without a military crest a hill can give some defensive advantage to stationary troops as it is usually a bit more difficult for humans to account for combining changes in height and a bullet's ballistic arc. On the other hand anything on the side of a hill is visible at a greater distance and visa versa.

ASL hills can represent anything from gentle, even high, rolling hills to jagged rock outcrop mountains. I don't usually think of them being like the lovely 3D ASL maps a few have produced where they are like steps leading up to a building, IE not layered plateaus. So imagining a hill partly extending into adjacent Level 0s just I would see as an overall slightly lower average gradient rather than implying a need for a levelled off area further up. "ASL Slopes" I see as a small outcrop that provides an observational vantage point but is not big enough to block most LOS through the area covered by the hex, IE as a feature it's physically below ASL's scale.

For a Level 0-1-2-3 LOS which can have a Fire Lane laid on it I see that as having a fairly constant gradient with no military crests, except possibly at level 3. A Level 0-1-1-2-3 could have a level area in the 2nd Level 1 but that 2nd level 1 could also be a gentler gradient that is masked by a military crest in the 1st Level 1 hex when viewed from below.

That's my generalised mental image of ASL hills, tempered by the knowledge that ASL hills have to represent a vast range of topography types.
 

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One clear Design for Effect thought - most hills in ASL have a terrain label on them marking the military crest of the hill mass with a number akin to the major usage of such terms, that being their peak crest height given in meters. In such a case, Hill 621 is a level 3 hill, or 3 levels above the surrounding terrain at level 0. Given that rarely do we see sea level (or below) terrain (only in scenarios with an Ocean or Beach or Effluent terrain is this likely - possible in a few other places, but not likely), that would mean 4 total levels to gain that 621 meters of altitude, or an average rise in the terrain of approx. 150-160 meters per level gained (assuming one begins at something between 0 and 155 meters for the "level 0" terrain of the mapboard(s) ). Does that compute? Well, in JR's example case continued, for a grunt humping the pig of a HMG up that hill it is not likely that it goes up at a 4:1 ratio of rise to run (ie 1 hex from level 1 to level 2 but a gain of 150-160 meters of altitude across 40 meters of ground), but it pretty much "feels" like the slope is that steep, especially if you're huffing all that weight, spare ammo, and your own kit, up the hill.

certainly, you are going to see far from 620 meters of altitude in almost every direction ,so the actual LOS rules as they apply to such terrain as level 3 hills work well to model a design for effect also. You likely cannot really "see" out across the width of 3 or 4 mapboards from 620 meters up, but it is going to "feel" like you can, with a large vista present where you can actually see.

Abstraction is the name of the game in ASL scenario design. :)

KRL, Jon H
 

Tuomo

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Jon - I think you've got it wrong. Avalon Hill was a US company, so that 621 is in units of feet. Divide by 3.28 and you'll get meters.

Sheez. And you call yourself a military man.
 

Gordon

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I've read several military history books, including the awesome "Liberator's Trilogy" by Rick Atkinson where the U.S. Army referred to hill heights in "meters."
 

witchbottles

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The US military "generally" converted to the metric system for distance measurements (only) in 1918. There are and remain exceptions. Aerial altitudes as measured for aircraft piloting were and still are, measured in feet above sea level. Waterborne distances were and still are measured in nautical miles. waterborne and airborne velocity was and still is, measured in knots. (or KIAS for aircraft).

Those exceptions took hold even in nations that use the metric system almost exclusively elsewhere as well.

The USGS was not involved in mapping world locations during and prior to world war 2. This duty fell under the auspices of the US Army Corps of Engineers. As such, they measured distances, including altitude determinations for ground forces maps- in meters.

So the answer is " it depends". Did the US Army or a subgroup of that force devise the map for ground use? Altitudes are in meters since 1918. Did they devise it solely for use as an aerial navigation map, or is it a USGS or FAA or ICAO aerial corridor map? Altitudes are in feet above sea level.
 

jrv

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In WWII the hills on Guadalcanal were numbered arbitrarily and not related to their height. And among other questions, you can ask whether the numbering on the ASL maps uses the US standard or that of some other nationality. To me it seems likely that the map artist put numbers on the hilltops because maps always have numbers at hilltops, and there really wasn't any deep thought about whether it was feet, yards, meters or other measure, e.g. fathoms.

JR
 
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holdit

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Thanks to all for their input. What prompted my question was an attempt to recreate an ASL map in Combat Mission: Red Thunder. ASL Maps don't generally translate well if you do a literal interpretation, but if you use some imagination and take the ASL map more as guidance for what kind of terrain to put where, especially with cities and taking the "40-meter-wide streets" into account, you can get a nice map as a result. One map I've been working on includes Board 3 with its four hills, and I was wondering how to set the elevations. I've done a quick and dirty survey of the hill levels on the various ASL maps and there does seem to be some consistency in the naming, in that level 2 hills have summits of roughly 500-600 whatevers, level 3 600-700, and level 4 700+. Where it falls down is that it makes the difference between contours +/- 100 whatevers. Even if I assume that the unit of measurement is a foot, with CM elevations being in meters, that still results in an extremely dramatic feature unlikely to be seen outside of a Lord of the Rings movie. The best interpretation I can see, at least for the Combat Mission universe, is that each contour actually represents 10 metres or 32 feet. This results in a hill (I was working on hill 498 to start with) that looks natural and is still tactically significant. I also get a much more natural look by starting the rise in the ground one hex out from the contour shown from the map e.g. the base elevation for the map is 20 metres and the climb to the 30-metre contour actually starts in FF1, FF2, FF3 etc.

This is the kind of thing I waste my time on... :)

In case anyone is interested, here's what it looks like (from the equivalent of 3X2):

1534027348678.png

And here's the view from the summit of the Board 1 city next door:

1534027830791.png

(Still a work-in-progress with a lot more detail still to add.)
 

FlatPackFred

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What a great project - I was just searching for help on slopes for upcoming Got Milk and found this. Thank you - please post some more pictures
 
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