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Author Topic: (MEC) [SP] Zero (Review complete)  (Read 1261 times)
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« on: 24 Dec 2011, 16:15:24 »


Title: Zero
Type: SP Mission
Side / Role: OPFOR, Independent / Various
Version: 1.50
Arma2 Version: CO 1.62
Date: 2012-08-10



Description:




Required Addons:
  • CLAY_ZeroAddons.pbo (included)



ChangeLog V1.50:
  • Fixed error-hint showing up after some time
  • Tweaked win condition for first objective
  • Fixed captives being stuck at airport
  • Added Wait Timer at main base (skip up to 24 hours)
  • Added ambient destruction
  • Fixed missing 'Drain Fuel' option after using teamswitch
  • Removed support trucks from Chernogorsk (now there really is nothing usefull there. believe me. really!)
  • Enemy vehicles now have limited fuel
  • Increased chance for random civilians / insurgents / guerillas
  • Improved "Guerilla Camp #1" task ...again
  • Added three more hidden sidetasks
  • Tweaked intro, outro, cutscenes
  • Countless small script tweaks and fixes



Credits:
Scripts:
  • "Chernarus Electrical Grid" by Loyalguard
  • "UPSMON" by Monsada
  • "AI Unit Caching" by (AEF)Wolffy.au
  • "Random Position Generator" by Shuko
  • "Improved Task Defend" by Binesi
  • "Convoy Control" by DTM2801

Music:
  • "Krieg" by Bums

(Beta) Testers:
  • Stoned Boy
  • McLupo
  • ataribaby
  • SaOk
  • savedbygrace

Thanks:
  • BI for Arma2
  • Demonized, neokika, sbsmac for scripting help
  • McLupo for the fantastic trailer



Download:
Zero V1.50
Mirror 1
« Last Edit: 21 Mar 2013, 21:29:29 by mathias_eichinger » Logged
SaOk
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« Reply #1 on: 24 Jan 2012, 22:47:06 »

Seems like a nice mission, I played all side tasks except the supply depot since I didnt have AT-soldier to destroy the guarding BMP. I returned to base, but realised that I cant talk to the character (to begin that airport task) before completing all the previous objectives. Going to try that again later, but I already gathered some feedback. There was no any gamebraking bugs, but spotted few smaller flaws.

The intro looked great, only fallback was slow texture loading while the camera jumped between locations. There is some commands to preload location for camera, but I havent succeeded with those yet. Still those would make the great intro look even better.

The mission began nicely with a funny real-feeling moment. When the first enemy group was met in forest in dense fog (with only less than 100m distance betwen the groups), both sides tryed to see who is ahead with binoculars. There was a half-minute silent pause before firefight. A very cool rare moment since I wasnt sure too first if I was facing enemy or not. Smiley

After the rest tasks became available, the nice atmosphere went down slightly. I think there could be more ambient life and different other details while driving to each task. Else the tasks worked without problem except the "boar hunt"-task which I forgot to enable by talking to the guerilla leader. I ended up searching an empty forest first. After talking to the leader finally, it looked quite funny that suddently the forest was full of the boars with insurgents escording them. Still a good task, but maybe there could be less boars and more far, to make it more believable. Also the enemies could be also just in places where player would go if he get lost.

Also the task cutscenes could be improved with some extra dialog and varying cameras. Many of the cutscenes ended with far shot of the task area or target that feeled quite leftovers or purposeless. Some extra close ups, expanded dialog and maybe some animations and living background would build up the atmosphere nicely to even better heights. The mission is good already, but I think there is much room for extra decoration.

Rest of the spotted small issues:
-Force player to stand at right spot with right facing (in guerilla task cutscene)
-Dialog could go faster (in the guerilla task cutscene)
-An error displayed few times when loading a savegame. It included this code:
Code:
scriptdone _atk
-Cutscene for Mogilevka task displayed a car spawning
-After escorting civilians to Elektrozavodsk, there could be AT-soldier added in team to help completing nearby "Supply Depot"-task
-There was a strange blood effect displayed for multiple minutes when I was returning back to base from Elektrozavodsk. Looked nice, but I didnt know the meaning.
« Last Edit: 25 Jan 2012, 16:47:27 by SaOk » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: 25 Jan 2012, 21:46:04 »

Hi SaOk. Thank you very much for your feedback.

Quote
Seems like a nice mission, I played all side tasks except the supply depot since I didnt have AT-soldier to destroy the guarding BMP. I returned to base, but realised that I cant talk to the character (to begin that airport task) before completing all the previous objectives.
That's strange. The talk option is not dependent of the side tasks, these are completely optional. In fact you could start the airport task right after you arrive in the camp. Are you sure you talked to the correct person?


Quote
The intro looked great, only fallback was slow texture loading while the camera jumped between locations. There is some commands to preload location for camera, but I havent succeeded with those yet. Still those would make the great intro look even better.
I am already using the preload camera in the intro. I can try to tweak it a bit, but as there are so many scenes at all corners of the map, I don't know if it will become much better.


Quote
When the first enemy group was met in forest in dense fog (with only less than 100m distance betwen the groups), both sides tryed to see who is ahead with binoculars.
Haha epic! The AI loves it's binoculars.  Cheesy


Quote
Else the tasks worked without problem except the "boar hunt"-task which I forgot to enable by talking to the guerilla leader. I ended up searching an empty forest first. After talking to the leader finally, it looked quite funny that suddently the forest was full of the boars with insurgents escording them. Still a good task, but maybe there could be less boars and more far, to make it more believable. Also the enemies could be also just in places where player would go if he get lost.
That's a good point. In fact, I too forgot to talk to him several times and was wondering why the forest is so empty.  Whistle  I think I will increase the area and change the movement of the enemy group. Maybe I'll remove the requirement to talk to the guerilla guy after the cutscene and let the task start straight away.


Quote
After the rest tasks became available, the nice atmosphere went down slightly. I think there could be more ambient life and different other details while driving to each task.
Quote
Also the task cutscenes could be improved with some extra dialog and varying cameras. Many of the cutscenes ended with far shot of the task area or target that feeled quite leftovers or purposeless. Some extra close ups, expanded dialog and maybe some animations and living background would build up the atmosphere nicely to even better heights. The mission is good already, but I think there is much room for extra decoration.
I have to admit, the world is quite empty and some areas have an unfinished feel. To be honest, they are unfinished. I had a lot of ideas I wanted to include into the mission, like more side tasks, ambient life, random events, small conversations between the main characters etc. But at some point I simply ran out of time to get the mission finished for the MEC. The task cutscenes are pretty much quickly thrown together without much love for detail. And after I had submitted my mission I didn't want to add any new features anymore. It felt wrong, kinda like cheating. I don't know, probably it's just me and I should include all my ideas for everyone to enjoy.


Quote
Dialog could go faster (in the guerilla task cutscene)
That's funny. One of my testers complained that they were too fast.^^ I too am quite slow when reading english text. I guess it's better to have slower dialogs so everyone can read them, instead of to fast and some people miss half of it. Especially as there are no voice overs.


Quote
Cutscene for Mogilevka task displayed a car spawning
Yes, I believe this is a common problem with cutscenes and the SILVIE module. Maybe I can avoid this by using the preloadCamera command? Going to try it.


Quote
After escorting civilians to Elektrozavodsk, there could be AT-soldier added in team to help completing nearby "Supply Depot"-task
Also a good point. However, I don't want to give gifts to the player. A RPG is way to valuable in this mission to give it away for free.  Tongue But I already have an idea to hide a small weapon cache somewhere in the town.


Quote
There was a strange blood effect displayed for multiple minutes when I was returning back to base from Elektrozavodsk. Looked nice, but I didnt know the meaning.
That's supposed to be a disease effect when the player enters an area where he isn't supposed to be. (The huge orange/red marker on the map, indicating where the nuke went down.)


I'll look into all the other issues you mentioned and try to sort them out.
And thanks again for your feedback.  Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: 25 Jan 2012, 22:27:45 »

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« Reply #4 on: 26 Jan 2012, 19:04:26 »

You are probably right about the "keeping the mission fresh" part. I'm going to start adding new stuff for the next update.
Yeah, final tweaking can be the most fun part. But it also can be the most frustrating, when something simply doesn't want to work the way you want.  Cheesy

Nice coincident indeed.  Smiley I had such situations several times while working on this mission. Like the group manager I had just completed, just to find out that King Nothing has something similar in his Forgotten Few mission. Or the overall mission idea being a bit like THobson's Abandoned Armies (which I never played, but definitely will try out the next time I install OFP). I guess with the countless missions created over all the years, pretty much everything has been done before in some way or another. Unless maybe you come up with something completely different, like Undeceived with For the Life of a Friend. But I see no harm in taking inspiration from other's work, or "borrowing" ideas, whatever you want to call it. After all, every new mission is good for the people actually playing the game, instead of messing around in the editor all night long.  Wink
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savedbygrace
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« Reply #5 on: 07 Feb 2012, 07:01:30 »

Played with Arma2 CO latest patch on regular.

Overview
The overview is great. The image was intriguing and the first line of text would certainly sum the mission up well enough but you went a little further and elaborated a bit more. It wasn't necessary but it did highlight some of the primary challenges. After playing it through, I have to admit that I never felt that I viewed into the darkest depths of the human soul.
Intro
I remember the Intro being short, sweet and to the point in the last version I played which allowed the player to get right to work. I also remember it leaving more to the imagination but it seems you have lengthened the cinema quite a bit since my last play test and even though it explains a little more of what happened, it does not build the immersion any more than the previous cinema did with the players imagination. The slow loading models and textures that plagued nearly every scene actually made the intro worse in my opinion because it only highlighted the pitfalls of cinema building with BIS content and demonstrated a lack of care on the authors part to take that extra step, find a better angle and improve the scene overall. However, some of the scenes that did not contain that drawback were quite good actually and the music was spectacular.
Briefing
This portion was just right for the current state of the mission progression. I can't determine why anything would need adjustment here.
Mission
My first play test in the former version was spot on in the mission kickoff objective. The only thing that seemed to dampen the game play in this version was the fog. It sucks getting shot by AI who can see through the same fog that you can't. Something was different toward the ending here. I encountered a guy who was in a camo uniform inside the garage, with a gun, facing the door. I shot him of course...several times but he did not die. I then realized that he was wearing the same uniform as I was. DUH. I think you should let them die if the player accidentally kills them. It's the player's fault after all.

I had played this mission several times in several different ways, each one proving to have similar results and the primary randomness was my own decision making. The great thing about that is that your mission actually accommodated the change up of tactics.

Departure
After speaking to the leader, I recruited 3 more guys, equipped them and decided to cut the comms across the island. I jump in the truck, load my fellows up and off we go. The fuel was low and so I would stop whenever I crossed another vehicle on the side of the road, wishing that you had implemented a way to siphon fuel from those vehicles to restore fuel to the players vehicle. Would have been a very cool feature.

Radio Tower
I get within 2 or 300 meters of the radio tower and disembark the men, sending them to lay in a small thicket of low brush and small trees near the road and hold their fire(They're just too limited to move with any sort of human reasoning). I flank the tower through the woods to the north, spot a truck with an mg sitting out front and so press westward some more. Taking cover behind a tree, I take out the gunner and wait a few seconds to make sure I wasn't spotted. I then dash away from the tower toward the northwest, out of the forest and into the open pasture before hearing shots fired and projectiles crack past me. Halfway across the fields I hit the dirt, whip my muzzle back toward the action and wait for them to come out into the open. I didn't have to wait long and was never able to engage before the cinema took over and showed me back at the tower, rigging the explosive package and then the bomb going off. Afterward, I was standing in the compound yard at the base of the tower I had just disabled in the cinema, trying to figure out what just happened and what I am going to do now. The enemy didn't grant me much time to think it over before they began returning to the gate of the compound. I take down the first arriving unit and then back into the open door of the comms tower and setup a line of fire out the door. I use that lane and the first tower platform to snipe enemy in the woods around the base. Over an hour later, I walk out into the yard, which is now a graveyard of dead enemy, piled in a long heap from the door of the tower to the fence. I had sprinted out and snatched some NVG's off of a dead officer earlier, so I was set to go. I grabbed an RPG and carefully set out down the road in the direction I had come. I counted at least 7 transport trucks, 1 DSHK uaz and an abandoned BRDM parked in a row on the road from where they had parked and unloaded. I hopped in the BRDM, drove back to the tower and gathered up as many RPG's as I could. Before picking my guys up and heading toward the nearest Guerrilla camp.
What went wrong
Aside from the obvious luring of all the troops out of the base and triggering the cinema prematurely, there was a unit on the first platform of the tower that was still there when the player was rigging the bomb. So, you may want to include him in the trigger so that he is not there when the cinema kicks in. Also, once the radio comms are down, shouldn't the radio chatter in the vehicles be switched to static? And should response groups be able to respond to others in trouble so quickly?

First Guerrilla camp (Boar hunt)
I talked with the leader, agreed to hunt the boar and went off on my hunt. I then crossed paths with and engaged the group that was wandering the forest(and paying no heed to the guerilla's fire). I then pulled my group into the forest to grab some night vision gear(but I guess only the leader thought he needed to be able to see). While my guys and I were in the woods, a small group of enemy came across the camp and engaged and killed the leader of the guerrilla units. As a result, I was not able to complete the task and garner the remaining units. Also, one of my guys got stuck behind a vehicle and so I lost one to AI path finding as well. At least unlock those vehicles just in case.

Travel
I decided to head to the southern airstrip and investigate the Intel of some unknown equipment(in the briefing). Along the way, I didn't encounter much in the way of patrols. This is not a bad thing though. It makes sense to presume that the small army is conserving and protecting it's forces behind defensive structures during the night time hours and raiding and scavenging and hunting down resistance pockets during the day(especially since only leaders are important enough to wear night vision gear) But I also think that my enduring standoff at the comms tower attracted every patrol and enemy unit in the area, even after comms were down.

Southern Airstrip
Once I grabbed that Shilka, there was no stopping me. It is definitely a powerful tool to add to the player's inventory. After capturing a couple of BRDM's I became a convoy of shredding projectiles. I cleared the airport, and harbor with ease.
I would recommend separating the harbor and airstrip into two objectives or make the harbor optional without being part of the objective, since it is so far away and offers little other than additional NVG.
I would also suggest to immobilize the Shilka until the player can capture the eastern portion of the airstrip to attain the support trucks to bring them back to it. That would certainly increase the challenge in the area. Of course, I remember it being far more challenging in the previous version since I didn't draw all the forces away from their posts.


Surplus Depot
I cleared the supply depot easy but sustained damage to my valuable ride from the local BMP defender and lost two BRDM crew in the process(The BRDM was fine though...(figure that one out)). At this point, I ran into the last loon problem. His marker Icon was not showing up on the map and I had no idea why the objective was not ticking until I was shot at while crossing the compound on foot. Needless to say, I dealt with him quickly enough. The prize here was a better offering than the harbor but nothing tops the airstrip gifts.

Relay station
This was simple once I had my hands on armor. It also allowed me take out the transformers without satchels. I did see units spawn and disappear though. Aside from that, it went smooth.

Eastern guerrilla camp
Abandoned my Shilka temporarily while I helped these guys out. All went great until we encountered an enemy group halfway to the destination. All but the leader and one other guerrilla was killed. Once I got to the destination, the cinema showed the pickup which we had abandoned. It was then setpositioned afterwards with the dead guy in it along with the transport truck. I would slice that cinema to not include the vehicles. Then just delete the refugees. No harm in doing it simple.

Travel
At this point, I was sure that I had cleared out the southern part of the map with my little duck hunt at the radio tower and patrols were no where to be found. This made travel boring and uneventful. The biggest challenge I had now was waiting on the slow AI to drive the roads back to the main guerrilla camp with our new found equipment. It takes them so long that I seriously contemplated giving the equipment up. It wasn't worth the frustration of gathering it.

Airport assault
After the tedious effort of retrieving my ever so precious Shilka and getting my support trucks and a few BRDM's to the north west of the airport, I reluctantly leave my Shilka in the hands of my men as I return to the guerrilla leaders camp and ordered the assault on the airport. I then grab a truck from the camp here and head north. I stopped in a not so far away town to hunt for another vehicle with more fuel before I was stranded in the middle of no where. I found one, damaged but drivable(Thank you for not destroying or locking every spawned vehicle). Rather than return to my waiting crew, I decided to drive far east and circle around toward the side of the airport that didn't force me to cross the strip. I abandoned the stolen car in some woods and discovered a group of guerrilla troops, standing idle on the east side of the airport facing northeast. You could at least face them toward the airport and set them on their knees to hide in the surrounding grass(that goes for any others that you may have surrounding the area). I slowly and stealthily creep up to the base fencing and on through to the other side. I spot one group idle, on the road behind a compound. A small truck with MG and a transport behind it. I also see some support trucks, parked inside some sandbags near the idle trucks and next to that access road. I crawl across the field toward the compound to attempt to glass the cargo hold of the transport to see how many troopers are in it(none) and I spot another group to the north of the first group. They were inside another compound and one of the guys was making laps on the roof of a shed. I was able to approach the first compound on my belly, open a door and enter without detection. I open the door that leads to the inner compound and standing before me is a familiar looking chap. Thanks to the Intel and picture you provided I was able to deduce that it was the bad guy. My play test of the last version had me nearly killed when I approached this fellow in the midst of a raging battle, thinking to be able to capture him as you ordered. But he fought like a cornered dog. This play test in this version, I was able to crawl through the compound and circle around behind him. I approached his rear within 10 meters before he turned and raised his arms as if aiming. I didn't hesitate as my nerves got the best of my discipline and I fired off two killing rounds with my acquired Bizon as he brought binoculars up to his face. I then pivot to target the crazy unit doing laps atop the shed roof in the adjacent compound, figuring I had just set off the alarm but the screen faded to black and the cinema kicked in. Hmm, Had I known it would only take two shots to end the war, I would have abandoned my endeavors to scavenge the world to it's end.

OVERALL
Since my play test of the last version was my first impression, I enjoyed the beginning much more. The beginning of this version seemed longer and more drawn out...unnecessary if you will. The poor texture loading is the result of multiple model renderings at differing distances and is a down fall to having such a vast open ended game engine but I feel authors are ultimately responsible for creating workarounds to prevent those features(or misfeatures) from being viewed during the cinema. The overall feel of the environment as an apocalyptic state started out well enough during the opening cinema and even in the first combined firefight but quickly dropped to a boring, long distance trek of divide and conquer. The feeling resulted in multiple tasks of the same repetitive nature. Approach, observe, clear and pilfer. The optional tasks of gathering forces were great change ups but ultimately proved fruitless and rather annoying because their already low numbers were depleted by the time they were turned over to me. The amount of vehicles you offer as potential support for the players supposedly growing army is more than adequate but I felt as if I couldn't benefit from their acquisition with no men to occupy them. During my play test of the last version, I would shoot the tires off of the BRDM's, force the crews out and kill them. I would then return with that repair truck and fix em up, load my guys in them and before long, I had a convoy of BRDM's, led by me and my Shilka. We became a devastating armored snake and it became quite boring because of the AI inability to drive proper and we would deplete our fuel before we could cross half the map. I decided to approach it a bit differently this time and was able to because of the drawn out standoff at the comms tower.
       Even though the markers identifying enemy is a cool heads up feature, it also removes from the overall experience since the mission's mystery decreases tremendously. Part of our fear of surviving, is the unknown of what we will encounter. If you remove that fear, you essentially cripple your attempts at immersion building.
       One awesome feature that was probably the best and most profound feature was the player bleeding when shot. It forces the player to acknowledge his debilitating state but continue fighting until he can find adequate cover to dress the wound. It does not prevent player death from well placed shots(and shouldn't) but goes a long way in reducing the frustration of AI super ability.
       I would consider increasing the numbers of guerrilla fighters that the player acquires to make the tasks worth the trouble. You don't even have to give the player those fighters until the conditions are met, for example: Once the guerrilla families are safe, the player can acquire the rest of the guerrilla fighters from the camp they started from. OR by the time he is done hunting, more have returned from scouting expeditions.
       I would change the final task from capturing that enemy leader to killing him(if you are going to equip him with a gun). otherwise, remove his weapons, place him inside somewhere and force the player to search for him. Once the player finds him, the cinema can take over.
       On a side note: I did encounter many randomized patrols and checkpoints in the last version but absolutely nothing in this one.

       From an ambiance perspective: I don't think the island should be so void of populace. Especially since the bomb occurred closer to the coast. I feel like the player should be able to see civilians from a distance to create the feeling of others trying to survive but not be able to get close enough to interact with them. The civilians could move to buildings and then disappear to cause the player to feel like their are hidden passages and eyes are on him. Maybe place some faint whisperings that fade to nothing as he gets close. This would ramp up immersion so high that you wouldn't have to alter much more.
       You could also create firefights in distant towns with sounds. When or if the player goes in that direction, he can find either a fleeing civilian truck full of assumed guerrillas who have won, pilfered and fled with dead enemy and destruction in the town OR he could stumble across enemy occupants walking around dead guerrilla cadavers.

Great foundation and lot's of potential.


Just to mention also and completely irrelevant to this project; I've played several of your other missions and written some notes down but can't seem to offer feedback on the other sites(I don't know why I can't get past it). I would like to invite you to submit your missions here for beta testing. It wouldn't hurt and you would probably get just as much feedback here as you would elsewhere, though it may take some time. Your call though.
Happy editing!
« Last Edit: 07 Feb 2012, 07:03:46 by savedbygrace » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: 09 Feb 2012, 02:09:42 »

WOW! Now that is what I call a massive wall of text.  Shocked
I was like 1/3 down the page when I started asking myself if your post will ever end. It's just... wow. Thank you for taking the time to write all this, I really appreciate it.  Smiley


Alright, let's get started.
Quote
Overview
The overview is great. The image was intriguing and the first line of text would certainly sum the mission up well enough but you went a little further and elaborated a bit more. It wasn't necessary but it did highlight some of the primary challenges. After playing it through, I have to admit that I never felt that I viewed into the darkest depths of the human soul.
Hehe, well, some time ago someone said to me something along the lines of "Puff is part of the trade". It's all part of the show, sometimes you have to read between the lines. On the other hand - I think the mission, especially the end, leaves some room for interpretation. Of course you can take it as "happy end". You won the war, the bad guy is dead, your men return home and the guerillas live peacefully in Chernarus and everybody is happy. Or you start asking yourself questions like "What awaits the men when they arrive at home?" "What does a guerilla army do in Chernarus?" ...I don't want to tell the player what to think, it's all up to your imagination.  Wink


Quote
Intro
I remember the Intro being short, sweet and to the point in the last version I played which allowed the player to get right to work. I also remember it leaving more to the imagination but it seems you have lengthened the cinema quite a bit since my last play test and even though it explains a little more of what happened, it does not build the immersion any more than the previous cinema did with the players imagination. The slow loading models and textures that plagued nearly every scene actually made the intro worse in my opinion because it only highlighted the pitfalls of cinema building with BIS content and demonstrated a lack of care on the authors part to take that extra step, find a better angle and improve the scene overall. However, some of the scenes that did not contain that drawback were quite good actually and the music was spectacular.
Uhm... I haven't changed the intro since the very first version of the mission (MEC entry). Only a few lines of code have been changed to work with the latest 1.60 patch. But I did not add any new scenes to the intro.
I am aware of the lod / texture switching issue. Yes, it's very ugly and I will try to improve the scenes. Every time I see an intro without this problem I am totally impressed and I have no idea how the author managed to do this, but it seems there is a way. Maybe I can find out how.


Quote
I encountered a guy who was in a camo uniform inside the garage, with a gun, facing the door. I shot him of course...several times but he did not die. I then realized that he was wearing the same uniform as I was. DUH. I think you should let them die if the player accidentally kills them. It's the player's fault after all.
Now that you mention it, I totally agree. The guerilla leader and the two russian soldiers are invincible during the first objective because they are important for the further mission. At least the guerilla guy must survive at all costs. I will add a check if the player kills any of these units and if so, the mission will be lost.


Quote
The fuel was low and so I would stop whenever I crossed another vehicle on the side of the road, wishing that you had implemented a way to siphon fuel from those vehicles to restore fuel to the players vehicle. Would have been a very cool feature.
Something similar was suggested in the BI forums and I am already working on it. Will be included in the next update.


Quote
Radio Tower
...
What went wrong
Ouch! I guess pretty much everything that ever could go wrong went wrong. Don't know if I should laugh about the convoy of reinforcements or cry about the complete failure of my scripting.  Blink
Anyways, I will rework the triggers for the objective and make sure not all units leave the compound. Also I will look into the reinforcements scripts and make sure the reinforcing groups don't call new reinforcements and so on.
Currently the radio tower only influences the long range communication. Once the player attacks an enemy unit, there is a random chance for a chopper to appear and drop off a group of paratroopers. Disabling the radio tower removes this event and also results in slightly less enemies at the airport. But the patrols can still call in reinforcements within a certain distance. I will look into changing the distance and maybe increasing the time how fast other groups will respond.


Quote
First Guerrilla camp (Boar hunt)
...
I have already reworked the complete objective including a new position for the guerilla camp. This way it's less likely that the guerillas get dragged into a firefight with one of the random patrols.


Quote
Southern Airstrip
Once I grabbed that Shilka, there was no stopping me. It is definitely a powerful tool to add to the player's inventory. After capturing a couple of BRDM's I became a convoy of shredding projectiles. I cleared the airport, and harbor with ease.
Yes, the shilka is very powerful. Maybe too powerful? After all the supply vehicles are already a big reward for this objective. I'm considering relocating the shilka and creating a new objective around it.


Quote
I would recommend separating the harbor and airstrip into two objectives or make the harbor optional without being part of the objective, since it is so far away and offers little other than additional NVG.
I would also suggest to immobilize the Shilka until the player can capture the eastern portion of the airstrip to attain the support trucks to bring them back to it. That would certainly increase the challenge in the area. Of course, I remember it being far more challenging in the previous version since I didn't draw all the forces away from their posts.
The harbor contains a small weapons cache in one of the containers. It's an alternative to the much better guarded supply depot.


Quote
Eastern guerrilla camp
Abandoned my Shilka temporarily while I helped these guys out. All went great until we encountered an enemy group halfway to the destination. All but the leader and one other guerrilla was killed. Once I got to the destination, the cinema showed the pickup which we had abandoned. It was then setpositioned afterwards with the dead guy in it along with the transport truck. I would slice that cinema to not include the vehicles. Then just delete the refugees. No harm in doing it simple.
That's a good point. Never lost any of the vehicles so I never encountered this issue. Will be fixed.


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Travel
At this point, I was sure that I had cleared out the southern part of the map with my little duck hunt at the radio tower and patrols were no where to be found. This made travel boring and uneventful. The biggest challenge I had now was waiting on the slow AI to drive the roads back to the main guerrilla camp with our new found equipment. It takes them so long that I seriously contemplated giving the equipment up. It wasn't worth the frustration of gathering it.
AI convoy handling is terrible since the last patch. Not that it ever was really good, but I doubt it could ever get any worse than the current situation. Hopefully it will get fixed soon.


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Airport assault
...
Hmm, Had I known it would only take two shots to end the war, I would have abandoned my endeavors to scavenge the world to it's end.
To be honest, I never expected anyone to try it the stealthy way. That indeed is a great letdown, rendering the complete mission pretty much obsolete. I have to admit that the airport objective is not very polished at all. I will definitely rework the objective, find a better spot for the bad guy and make sure he is guarded properly.


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Thank you for not destroying or locking every spawned vehicle
The status of all the vehicles is random, including damage, fuel and if they are locked. However, you are able to unlock any locked car / truck by shooting its windows. Wink


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I spot one group idle, on the road behind a compound. A small truck with MG and a transport behind it. I also see some support trucks, parked inside some sandbags near the idle trucks and next to that access road. I crawl across the field toward the compound to attempt to glass the cargo hold of the transport to see how many troopers are in it(none)
That was actually meant to be one of the convoys. Due to the pathfinding issues they simply refuse to move at some point. I guess I'll have to come up with a temporarily workaround.  Huh?


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I would consider increasing the numbers of guerrilla fighters that the player acquires to make the tasks worth the trouble. You don't even have to give the player those fighters until the conditions are met, for example: Once the guerrilla families are safe, the player can acquire the rest of the guerrilla fighters from the camp they started from. OR by the time he is done hunting, more have returned from scouting expeditions.
That's a great idea. I will definitely include this.


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On a side note: I did encounter many randomized patrols and checkpoints in the last version but absolutely nothing in this one.
The enemy convoys are meant to secure a constant supply of enemy units. The trucks bring captives from Chernogorsk to the northern airport. The player can ambush these convoys and recruit the captives for his own army. Once a convoy reaches the airport, a new enemy group is created with goes on patrol somewhere on the map.
However, as the convoys currently don't work as they should, there are no new enemies created. If you then kill all existing enemy group right at the first objective, there is not much left to encounter.  Cheesy
But I'm working on it, aswell as adding more ambient life to the mission.


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You could also create firefights in distant towns with sounds. When or if the player goes in that direction, he can find either a fleeing civilian truck full of assumed guerrillas who have won, pilfered and fled with dead enemy and destruction in the town OR he could stumble across enemy occupants walking around dead guerrilla cadavers.
Yes, something similar was actually one of my ideas and is at the top end of my todo list.


Probably I have forgotten half of the stuff I wanted to comment on, but seeing that I should have went to bed two hours ago.....  Don't Know
Some closing words: I can't thank you enough for all your time and the valuable feedback. I have learned that a mission like this is way too big to be completed in only two months, lots of ideas left out and lots of frustration getting it ready for the MEC deadline, which pretty much killed all the fun of making the mission for me. As I said before, I actually didn't want to add new stuff to the mission, not only because I felt tired of editing. (The fact that my computer is so old that it can barely handle the mission also didn't help very much.) But SaOk's and your post, and the overall feedback I have received - much much more than I had ever expected - shows me, it's well worth all the hassle. Meanwhile my motivation has returned and I am looking forward to including all ideas I had and others have provided. Thank you once again!  Smiley
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mathias_eichinger
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« Reply #7 on: 03 Apr 2012, 15:45:48 »

Hi Clayman,

do you still need feedback about his version (1.30)?
I would play this mission again, but I do not want to pour hours of gameplay into it when the next update is just around the corner.
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« Reply #8 on: 03 Apr 2012, 21:25:52 »

Hi mathias.

I'm currently working on the next update and made quite good progress the last few days. Expect the new version to be ready in a week or two, so I'd suggest to wait until then. Thanks.  Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: 10 May 2012, 00:46:33 »

I guess the "week or two" was a bit optimistic. Or, to put it in the words of a wise man:
I think the best part when creating missions is just the final tweaking (that could continue months).
Indeed. Especially when you finally have a computer that can actually handle your own mission.  Cheesy

So today, after more than three months of hard work and sleepless nights, I can finally present the V1.40 update for Zero.


ChangeLog:
  • Added five hidden sidetasks
  • Added several random events and hidden "specials"
  • Updated group management system
  • Added usable fuel canister to drain fuel from empty vehicles
  • UI interface to transfer weapons / equipment between vehicles and / or ammocrates
  • Main characters (Nikolay, Boris and Igor) now must stay alive
  • Improved "guerilla camp 1" task
  • Completely reworked "guerilla camp 2" task
  • Tweaked win condition for "radio tower" and "supply depot" tasks
  • Fixed amount and distance for enemy reinforcement calls
  • Zotkin is now located at a random position inside the airport area
  • Reworked intro and various cutscenes to reduce lod switching (still not perfect)
  • Removed AI group caching
  • Countless script tweaks and bug fixes
  • Probably much more stuff I can't remember right now  Embarrassed


Some notes:
I noticed quite some problems with the caching of AI groups, like disappearing enemies, killed units respawning out of thin air and civilians not leaving the trucks. I have disabled the caching scripts for now to remove all these  bugs. The downside is that now all units are present all the time, which might result in quite a performance drop. On my computer the mission runs fine with 50+ fps, however on older / slower systems it might be problematic. Any feedback on this is appreciated.

There are five hidden tasks at different locations around Chernarus. No map markers or other information lead to these (although there are minor hints in the actual game world). I'm unsure if a player will be able to find these at all. Feel free to let me know what you think.


Thank you for taking the time testing this mission and for your feedback. Have fun playing!  Smiley
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savedbygrace
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« Reply #10 on: 30 Jun 2012, 22:34:14 »

Played with 1.60 on regular(love that savegame)

Skipping straight to the mission. I'll cover each area independent of one another.

Throughout the mission, the encounters worked well. We were always running into patrolling vehicles or foot patrols, crossing paths with defended bunkers or destroyed vehicles. Those patrols and bunkers seemed to be balanced nicely as I was never frustrated during engagements. I fell in love with the PKP(Scoped machine gun). It's a great universal weapon for taking out flesh and lite armor together and kept me from having to tote an rpg with reduced ammo for my primary. It also allowed me to remove sniper threats that hung back away from the action as well as take out vehicle drivers and gunners without much collateral damage to the vehicle while retaining the ability to engage at close quarters with just a small disadvantage in weapon control.

I usually place my men away from the action to prevent unneeded casualties but after the first assault on the radio tower, I gained the confidence to use them in infantry battles. (They are still fodder for BRDM's and other armored guns).

The Radio Tower
This went off without a hitch. I took out the weapon mounted vehicle first and then pushed aggressively to catch the enemy inside the compound before the leader could organize a proper defense and flank strategy. Success also depended upon getting inside those walls and using them as flank protection. It worked with the only drawback being those darn BI gates that are so difficult to find the action position to open them. After eliminating the vehicle and crew, I order my guys to return to formation as I wiped out the compound defense and secured those vehicles without damage. I was then able to defend the gates against outer patrols coming to respond while my guys impressed me with their ability to engage and maneuver without babysitting. The cutscene played through and once my guys were inside the compound with me, I waited to see what sort of response my assault would stir. Last time, I think I spent several hours pinned up inside that tower while every patrol on the map made their way to my position. This time, things were far better. The radio disruption worked.


The Relay Station
I regrouped and rearmed and decided to stay on foot to keep our profiles down then made my way toward the Relay Station to further cripple local activity. On the way we engaged a patrol that crossed our route. A weapon mounted vehicle was near the station but continued on its way before we began the assault. Nothing else responded. I wondered about this for a moment but figured it made sense since numbers were spread thin across the island. I didn't have any satchels on me and no rockets or launcher to take out the transformers but didn't worry too much about it. I had night vision and so long as I spotted the enemy before they spotted us, we would have the advantage. I would return here later.

The Balota Airfield
We move southwest, over the hill and through the woods. Not sure of what is at the airport, I decide to scout ahead and leave my team hanging back a ways. I make it without incident to the warehouses on the eastern end of the strip and discover, to my enjoyment, a treasure trove. Discovering also that there is an RPG in the ammo truck here, I decide to engage the patrol outside, confident that I can handle any incoming armor threats, should I stir the hornets nest too much. That patrol was all that stood between me and victory, or so I thought. I begin to pull vehicles out of the warehouses when I get interrupted by a response team that consited of infantry and a BRDM. I remain buried inside the warehouse, and decide to exploit the AI's poor decision to abandon the vehicle when the tires are shot out. The rest of the infantry is slowly eliminated by myself and my returning team that have been ordered to my position. The western end of the airfield proves to be boring and unguarded.


The Harbor
I decide to do this one with my two mates that began the mission with me while the rest guarded the warehouse. I repair the BRDM, order my number two into the BRDM as the gunner and three in the back and start for the harbor. I encounter a stuck patrol at an intersection midway there. I believe they were hung on some of the ambient vehicles that spawn randomly. It didn't matter though because in my mind, they were inspecting something of interest to them and I happened to get the drop on them as I passed by.
I drive past the road that leads to harbor inside the town, and cut left through a resident lawn, using the harbor compound fence that closes in the back as cover from whatever is inside the compound. I stop short of the tracks, get out and sprint to the fence while my gunner engages another patrol near the town. I go prone on the other side of the RR tracks to prevent that patrol from making me a target until my gunners muzzle goes quiet. I pie the fence edge and take out two infantry before sprinting to the building. The BRDM exits the compound to the west but never engages my BRDM. I take out it's tires and crew and clear the area before grabbing the undamaged ammo truck and transferring the cargo from the shipping crate to it. (awesome feature that transfer script is BTW)

Return to Balota
On the way back to Balota I encounter two separate patrols. The first was in the same city as before. I order the BRDM to hang back while I enter the city and whip the ammo truck in behind a house off the side of the road, disembark and make my way up the road, using the structures as cover. I engage what infantry I cross and notice that the vehicle is a uaz with mounted weapon. I order my BRDM forward to sweep out any stragglers and to help remove the entire focus from me. Together we clear the area quickly, I remove undamaged vehicles from the road, mount up and move on. The next encounter was in the village next to the airstrip. I passed them before noticing the headlights in my window and whip the truck behind another house, disembark, order the BRDM to halt while I scout the threat. With that PKP, any threat becomes easy prey from me. I clear the road of threats and vehicles before ordering the BRDM to the warehouses and mounting up myself to join them. I transfer as much as I can to the open ural, load the guys up in it while me and my two stay in the BRDM.

Hunting Boar

The BRDM spearheads the travel to the forest and first guerrilla camp. I get all the guys out while I go hunting. I bring the two boar back and a whole bunch of men begin to pop out of the tents (This makes it worth the time and trouble). I arm them as best I can, transfer the ammo from the guerrilla cache to the truck while moving the extra weapons that have little ammo to the brdm. We all load up into the truck and move out, leaving the BRDm behind.

Return the Relay Station
We move back to the airstrip to refuel and while I am there, I rethink my weapon and ammo choices to accommodate the influx of men and our future needs before pushing on to the relay station again. I fire two or three rockets into the relay station and it crumbles.

Relocating the Guerrilla Families
We arrive at the second guerrilla camp and I speak to the leader. After agreeing to the terms, I lose all control of my men and they end up in the leaders control. This worries me because the AI's tendency to push forward with no regard for casualties. I get in the truck and take the lead, ignoring the leaders calls to return to formation. I spot a camp on the way to the town and disembark to engage, ignoring the leaders orders to get back into the truck. My actions of contact forces the leader to begin ordering everyone else out and into the fight. When its done, the leaders immediate buddies are ordered back in the truck while the rest get back into the open truck with me. The leader and another, remains out of the truck on foot which results in a drawn out trek to the barn. Once at the barn, a cutscene takes over, but I don't recall seeing a lot of action. All my men stay loaded in the truck, no civilians get loaded and are left standing around the barnyard and the leader still does not mount up. This results in the worst part of the mission. I drive ahead to scout while on 4x speed increase to allow the leader to walk to the sea. I initiate the attack on a camp half way there and lose no men, thankfully but none of the guys in my truck were ever ordered out to help. We eventually arrive where I get all of his men and end up having to take the small truck to find another big truck to carry them all back to the camp. I trade that truck for my original truck that we left there and start toward Miroslav. It would be great if you just let the player follow the leader and his men with or without your own men, allow the player to choose. Just use a distance check so that the leader doesn't go more than 100 meters without the player. I liked the change in camera angles here that presume no outcome.

Return to Main Guerrilla camp
I break off while the others wait at the camp and head over to talk with Miroslav.


Assault on the Airfield
I return for my guys and then make my way to the Airfield. On the way we engage a bunker where I grab an ammo truck and lead the convoy. We flank the airfield and unload in a city to its east. I order everyone to hang back and then proceed to drive the ammo truck up to the eastern fence of the airfield. I disembark, grab a bizon and RPG and infiltrate through the sink hole by the garage, support trucks and barracks. I take out a group infantry on the road and enter the compound. After seeing that it is unoccupied, I return to the Ammo truck and drive it straight through the compounds back fence, turn it around and plug the hole. I then begin a long stand off where I engage practically every infantry and lite vehicle on the east side of the strip. I take out one armor and order the assault, while ordering my guys to return. I eventually kill the main enemy and trigger the end.

Miroslavs guys make their way to the center of the strip but don't help out much after that. I get my guys prone and have them join them there while they exchange fire with enemies that seem to come from all the barracks and guard posts.


Overall
No showstoppers, the random placement of the end bad gad is great. The life definitely increased but no ambient battles between other civilians and the bad guys made it seem lonely. It'd be great if you could throw some civilians with weapons in villages near the player when you spawn patrols and such and then delete them when the player has distanced himself again. Great fixes and improvements overall.

There are only 2 things that seem to bug the mission.
1. There was an error that kept popping up at random(in hint format). It was something about not having more than a certain number in an array. The number was different every time it popped up. I thought I had a pic for you but I don't guess it took.

2. There are still lots of civilians spawning at the airfield north of the fire station, behind the camouflaged building with concrete slabs in the back compound that introduce lag. That's the only lag I spotted.
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« Reply #11 on: 02 Jul 2012, 23:11:51 »

Hi savedbygrace.

Thank you for your again very detailed feedback. I am really glad to see that this time it was a much smoother experience, without all the glitches and showstoppers from your last test.

The guerilla family task is a bit tricky. I wanted to have a change in the mission flow by having an AI leader for this objective. But I see your point and I'll think about how I can enhance the experience.
Another problem is the limited cargo capacity of the trucks. If the player shows up with too many men in his group, there isn't any place for the civies, and having more vehicles is also a hassle because of the lack of AI driving skills.
Not sure why the leader refuses to board the truck again after enemy contact. But I'll also look into that and try to improve the complete objective.

There are a few more guerillas hidden throughout the mission, as well as a small chance for civilians / guerillas spawning in the towns, fighting against insurgents. But these are quite rare.
Overall the desolate feel is meant to be part of the atmosphere. In fact, when I saw the first pictures of Chernarus, a post-apocalyptic mission was the first thing that came to my mind. The funny thing is, as a lot of mission makes don't spend much time on adding ambient life to their missions, after all these years I guess people got so used to seeing empty towns. It kinda spoils my intention of creating an empty wasteland feel.
However, I'll look into the scripts and see if I can increase the spawning probability of ambient guerillas.

I'll also take a look at the civilians at the airport. Not sure what's going on there.

Thanks once again for your time.  Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: 10 Aug 2012, 14:19:53 »

After more than one year of work I am pleased to present the new version 1.50 of Zero.
If I haven't missed any major bugs, V1.50 will be the final version. Next to the usual tweaks and fixed there are also some new features.


V1.50 Changelog:
- Fixed error-hint showing up after some time
- Tweaked win condition for first objective
- Fixed captives being stuck at airport
- Added Wait Timer at main base (skip up to 24 hours)
- Added ambient destruction
- Fixed missing 'Drain Fuel' option after using teamswitch
- Removed support trucks from Chernogorsk (now there really is nothing usefull there. believe me. really!)
- Enemy vehicles now have limited fuel
- Increased chance for random civilians / insurgents / guerillas
- Improved "Guerilla Camp #1" task ...again
- Added three more hidden sidetasks
- Tweaked intro, outro, cutscenes
- Countless small script tweaks and fixes


Download links in first post.
Have fun!  Smiley
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Wolfrug
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« Reply #13 on: 11 Aug 2012, 09:57:18 »

Woo! Great on you Clayman, and congrats on a reviewable release, finally Cheesy

The download link requires a log-in to AMS though : maybe offer a mirror somewhere that doesn't require you to make an account to download it?  Scratch Chin

Looking forward to delving into it again.

Wolfrug out.
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« Reply #14 on: 11 Aug 2012, 10:41:55 »

Oops! Sorry for that link. Didn't notice it required an account.  Whistle
I've added a working mirror now.
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