ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

ArmA 2 campaigns and missions

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T_Rex
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ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by T_Rex » 2009-07-28 13:23:45

NOT "dynamic", although nearly so. :D

A bit of background: both Snake Man and I, with our F4 background, are very interested in dynamic campaigns. Indeed, the F4 campaign engine is like the Holy Grail of simulator campaigns (even if it isn't perfect). We've been having a PM discussion about the ability of the ArmA scripting engine to create that sense of a dynamic campaign.

He pointed me to this effort:
http://wiki.anrop.se/index.php?title=DF ... ategisk_ai
Purpose of the DFK2: Strategic AI (a.k.a Invasion AI) is to set a few gamelogics to mark mapentry point, bases and towns of interest and when you then hit the play button the "MasterMind AI" will launch an invasion with the purpose of controlling the map and using infantry, airplanes, helicopters, tanks, artillery and much more.
Indeed, that looks like a GREAT start towards creating a "mission" that feels like a campaign, where the player is one part of a greater expedition. That is something I experimented with in a mission for ArmA1, and I believe it will someday be possible for ArmA2.

The big limitation I foresee is FPS limitations. And, possibly, the lack of a "native" ability to have a player bubble as in F4. The former, we can't do much about until the processors get cheaper, but the latter can probably be overcome with some creativity. :)

Anyway, the idea of this thread is to start an "idea pool" to come up with ideas about implementing something like that. It may be a "wishlist" type thread, but those can still be valuable inspiration for later.
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granQ
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Re: ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by granQ » 2009-07-28 14:11:48

The big limitation I foresee is FPS limitations. And, possibly, the lack of a "native" ability to have a player bubble as in F4. The former, we can't do much about until the processors get cheaper, but the latter can probably be overcome with some creativity.
can tell the basic idea how it works with in our mission, or atleast the vision of it.
From the player perspective there has to be units in all part of the "world" and there has to be some logic, somehow even if we fake it a player will feel it.. after a while playing evolution you figure out where the enemy spawns in drive into the town to defend it. So basicly here how it works.

The goal is to make a smart ai that wins with being in the right place in coordinated attacks and being fearsome rather numbers. The enemy will always have the upperhand in technology, kill some infantry an the enemy send a LAV 25, destroy it with RPG and feel the bombs landing on your position or ah1, m1a1 attacking.. this will "force" the player to somewhat avoid most contact.

At all time there is roughly minium 24 ai around, divided into the support functions:

* c130 flying to airport and take off, roughly 2 at the time. = 2 ai
* Attack helicopters searching for players, 2 * 2 = 4 ai
* a minor patrol = 6 ai
* uh60 flying to forward bases with some units = 2 ai + cargo = 12

This units will provide a lot of "atmosphere" to the player, they can follow airplanes coming and going to the airport, hiding from the enemy attack helicopters (or uav) and they actually play a function.

Each time the player is detected the AI will attack with what its find most useful, this is normaly a few units.. but at max scenario its airplane coming in for CAS, airborne soldiers, artillery and perhaps some armor units. Still its less then many "normal" non-dynamic mission has.

When approching a base/town/checkpoint the units will spawn and when the player moves out they will be taken away. However the numbers are always counted for so hit and run tactics will be possible.

And all ai will be on the server which shouldn't really effect player FPS at all.. (well little but very little)

Problem with this solution: You can't use artillery on very far distant to kill people since they wont be spawned.

and T_Rex, sent you a PM on ofpec.. feel free to reply on and of the message boards or whatever :)

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Re: ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by T_Rex » 2009-07-28 14:29:23

granQ-

First - excellent work, just the concept you guys have written up is very exciting. :)

Second, perhaps there is a way to use a logic to represent something like "abstract" combat. That is, have a game logic that references arrays that have the units from both sides, and if there's something like artillery fire, do a calculation as to what damage there is. Likewise, over time, use things like morale, unit skill, and air assets to maybe determine how many units remain.

I'll check the OFPEC stuff. :)

Edit: oh - my nick there is Trexian :)
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Re: ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by Snake Man » 2009-07-28 14:32:38

For background reading of the work that has already been done we have this.

PMC Conflict - very early random stuff.
PMC Editing Wiki: OFP, real campaign - Wiki page for my dynamic mission ideas.
PMC Dynamic CE - the real dynamic campaign - I hate that "Dynamic CE" name, wish I would have chosen better one.
PMC Tank Hunter - This is as close to dynamic campaign you can get in OFP.
PMC Real War - latest on my campaign concepts.

This is our reference and background.

Okay so yeah, the missions fall into two category; random and dynamic. Random missions are just AI running around that each time you play the mission it plays out differently. Dynamic missions are that AI captures city A and then they know that its theirs so they aren't going to send any more units there. If player captures city A, AI again attacks that city as it was taken from them.

The problem for me nowadays is that I get bored on those "pre-made" missions so easily and I really don't even start to play them anymore. All my time ingame is spend with PMC Real War or with something that has enemies created on random spots. I have no desire to play mission second or third time if I know unit XYZ will be on X,Y location and doing this or that.

The PMC Real War at the moment is not smart, its random only. However its using the 51km desert terrain and it still creates insane missions with long duration. I often times feel like the ArmA engine itself creates "mission inside a mission", like for example I start a mission and plan to attack city X, then on the way there with littlebirds I ran into enemy shilkas, they shoot one of my helos down and others are damaged... now it turns into a convoy mission to get the supply platoon from our HQ into the location 10km out there in the badlands. Alone navigating the trucks would be one thing, but to do that in hostile environment is something else ;)

Anyways.

I think that any random/dynamic missions or campaigns we design, need to rely on scripts function usage. Its not very smart to write those 1000 line scripts which do everything, its messy and its limited. If we have small scripts as functions that just do specific task, then we have much more control and can spread out the workload on the scripts, easier to understand and everything.

ArmA 2 brings in the locations feature, we can pull out all village and city names, as well as other interesting areas and even possible landing zones for helicopters are specified if I'm not mistaken (flatarea or something).

However I think the basic concept that makes any mission enjoyable/challenging, is to know that the "AI knows what you're doing...", if you capture a city from AI, they will know they lost is and may or may not send forces to try to recapture it.

Hmm dunno what else to say not to sound even more like a blabbering crazy person.

This is excellent topic and I really hope we can gather some good ideas to put into scripts.
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Re: ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by T_Rex » 2009-07-28 14:37:20

Also, keep in mind that the briefing can actually be changed dynamically, using variables for text. (At least, I *think* I've seen that.)

Another thing - I would suggest designating a forum, either here or maybe dev-heaven.net for exchanging code or other stuff. Also, granQ, I'll send you my email.
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Re: ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by Snake Man » 2009-07-28 14:46:46

Briefing can be changed on the fly yeah, new tasks added and their status changed. Actually I'm not sure if you can remove earlier task, hmm good question.

We can put scripts into the ArmA 2 Editing area and if we can have some real universal scripts that are helpful, then we can throw them into the wiki which has nice syntax highlighting etc.
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granQ
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Re: ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by granQ » 2009-07-28 15:06:53

the idea for the MMAI is that the player take the role of a resistance fighter in small group/groups.. and not 2 enemy ai fighting it off against eachother (that was done in KP CTI already,)

http://kpcti.granq.se/kpcti_manual.html

snakeman definded it nice with "dynamic" or "random" and there also have to be somewhat of "two armies war fighting" like in falcon4 or if you want a "army opfor" towards the player.

Its two different things but both are very excited.

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Re: ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by T_Rex » 2009-07-28 16:14:43

Ah, got it. :)

So, do you have a priority list, or list of necessary scripts/functions that you'd like to have? Based on your description, and given the size of the Chernorussian map here's some of my ideas. (And please, I'm not a particularly ego-driven person - if there's an idea you don't like or isn't what you want, I won't be offended.) :D

I don't think the occupying force would hold every city as a garrison. Perhaps create an array of "occupied" cities that have significant numbers of opfor. Part of this would involve having arrays of certain kinds of units ready for placement/spawning, including infantry, specops, tanks, and helos. Another array of cities could represent areas where there are some opfor troops, but not heavily concentrated. Perhaps a "holding" force, or just a presence. Finally, the remaining cities might have no enemy troops, and represent safe areas for the insurgents. In these locations, you could even spawn ammo boxes and such. Also, there would be some forces that would travel between cities.

Does this sort of thing sound like what you had in mind?
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granQ
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Re: ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by granQ » 2009-08-03 18:57:30

sorry for late reply..

Good news: Almost all the files are now in SQF, also got the CSAR function to work. Airplanes will call an CSAR if they need to eject, so the pilot will get picked up and shipped to base.

Bad news: Still 1½ week roughly before I can be really into arma2.. sisters weddding, school exams and then ordering new hardware.
So, do you have a priority list, or list of necessary scripts/functions that you'd like to have?
Not really.. will soon post version 0.45 and then if you like to help out.. well, best would be if we were in same chat/msn whatever so we can talk and see which scripts we working on. Other then that, feel free to try new ideas, give me.

Basiclly, I try to list all global variables on the wiki, and then people can try make new functions, (like havent done any of the hearts and mind operations), people can do some scripts and I include them. so if you can make the ai do something in sqf file, then I can put some logic on when it should happen (regulary, once, as reaction to enemy and so on).



and reply to the garnission thing, i agree. Well sorta, i was thinking it would work like this:
A force invades and controls all cities.
He sends patrols that go from base, to one or several cities.
When he finds out the cities is no longer in control he send troops.

So normally there is no troops in the cities, but there might be hearts and mind operations on going, a patrol or a checkpoint/outpost. Not soldiers in all cities tho. They would be sitting ducks, as irl.

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Re: ArmA2 non-linear, strategic mission

Post by T_Rex » 2009-08-19 13:11:09

Heya granq,

I've been digging into the A2 locations function, and posting what I find here:
http://www.ofpec.com/forum/index.php?topic=33978.0

Based on what you said:
A force invades and controls all cities.
He sends patrols that go from base, to one or several cities.
When he finds out the cities is no longer in control he send troops.
You may be interested in the part of the function that states what "neighbors" of a city there are. These are pre-set in the config (and I haven't tested the accuracy of them in Chernarus yet), but it may be useful for you. You can use the function to get the positions of the neighboring cities, to send troops.
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