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Author Topic: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)  (Read 1628 times)

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Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #60 on: 17 Sep 2018, 00:24:53 »
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Still didn't have a good idea how to shorten it. Maybe cut it in half after Grishino and before Nemec calls? But then, what sense would it make? It would be only a cut, maybe with a new briefing that summarizes the mission... But it would be kind of redundant IMO.
Another way would be to skip a part of the walking, e.g. from the colonel to Grishino (fade out, position T and K a bit further, fade in). But especially that part is quite suspenseful and skipping some meters - I don't know...
If you have good idea it would be great.

Ok so I have been giving this some thought. In order to make this a bit easier, let's break the mission down into 4 sections:

A) Sniping the officer
B) Saving Private Tomek
C) Meeting Nemec
D) Taking the base

Alright so let's talk about A & B first. Everything up to the point when you receive the objective to save Tomek is fine as it is. In terms of pacing and story up to this point, it's fine. Now I do have an idea about the rescuing Tomek part. So we see that the Red Star guys have massacred this village. What if they carry onto another village, but the player has a chance to get to this village to warn the villagers of what's coming....BUT, the player has to make a choice: save those villagers or save Tomek. The player can't do both.

This puts the player in a very difficult and challenging position. In a lot of missions we see very contrived storylines where everything goes to plan without any issues. In reality of course, war is not like that. So far I don't think the player has had to make difficult decisions like this before, so perhaps we've reached a point in the story when it would be good move to make.

I also wonder whether we've come far enough so that the loss of a character would have an impact on the player. I don't know whether you intended to keep all the characters alive until the end. I'm willing to bet that you intended to at least kill one off before the end. But, we'll see  :D

To be honest, all the way through the campaign I've been expecting one of my guys to get killed in some way. I was expecting it in the Alexei Pribotow mission as a sort of cliffhanger. This is a very good aspect of the campaign because you get a sense of danger.

The idea of presenting the player with a difficult ethical decision is something I've thought about doing in one of my missions. What's the 'right' thing to do? Save one man or save many? It's the kind of thing that does belong in this story. Question is though, does this still make the mission fun? I suppose that's what everything boils down to in the end.

Your decision to save either Tomek or the villagers could and probably should impact the rest of the story. Perhaps if you save the villagers they may join you. If you save Tomek but leave the villagers to their fate, what would be the consequences? Would your guys think less of you? What would Tomek think? I think this adds a lot of depth to this mission and to the campaign. Maybe you could have a sort of discussion over the radio to create tension.

Anyway, that's what I think about A&B.

So what about C&D?

Well, to be honest if I were making the mission I'd go with the new A&B and ditch C&D. If you chose to keep C&D and put them in another mission then you'd need to flesh that mission out. Right now I don't think there's enough substance with these two for them to be in a separate mission. They're ok as far as objectives go. Personally though, I think there's enough in the new A&B to compensate for not having C&D. Do C&D really add to the story that much?

Ultimately the decision is yours to make. Reducing the amount of walking would definitely be a plus, because it did feel very repetitive. But if you choose to go with the new A&B and ditch C&D then reducing the amount of walking would be done anyway.

Those are my thoughts anyway. I am looking forward to carrying on with this, it does make you want to come back to it.
« Last Edit: 17 Sep 2018, 00:27:58 by Gruntage »
Some of the most memorable missions made involve the player doing very little...

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #61 on: 17 Sep 2018, 08:21:15 »
Wow, that decision (Tomek or the civilians) is great and I really liked it. It's even so good that I'd really implement it if there weren't some designing / story aspects in the way. Problem 1 is that Tomek is story-relevant and thus can't die at this point.

A short spoiler, nothing too important:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Problem 2 is that there are not many villages up there in the north. I'm at work right now so I can't check the map but I think that the only village around is the one south of Grishino, where Jegor and his friends come from. That means: Why not rescue Tomek while on the way there?

As to ditching parts C and D: It's worth a thought but there are two things that I need: meet Jegor and his friends as they are part of the group from there on and finish the mission at these ruins in the south (Kumyrna) as the next mission starts from there just some hours later.

So as much as I loved your idea with the decision, I still don't have it sorted out how to realize it. Maybe I could send a fourth guy in the team on the mission that dies when the player decides not to rescue him (and Tomek survives wounded). But who? Sergej is visiting his I'll mom and Petja is not an option. Hmm....

Also (if there's no second village around) is there another thing we could use as decision factor? Not a village but something else (similarly problematic)?

I don't know how to express it better in English but you really got me with this idea and I'd like to keep on thinking about it. :good:


EDIT:
Something that comes to my mind: I could meet Jegor and his friends not on their way to the Russian camp but either on their way to Grishino or fighting in their own village (and taking heavy losses). And the travel to the Russian camp (revenge) and then to Kumyrna could be a next mission.

« Last Edit: 17 Sep 2018, 13:14:12 by Undeceived »
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)

Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #62 on: 18 Sep 2018, 21:25:26 »
Alright so I resumed my playthrough this eve, and I think my post can be summarised in one word: wow  :D

I haven't finished the campaign yet, I'll save the ending for another time. But before we go into what I played tonight, I'll just re-address the Petrovka mission briefly.

On reflection I do realise that my idea would require some planning before-hand, i.e. shaping the story around it. But still, 'twas worth sharing. I don't think you should invent another character to make it work....the idea would only really work with someone whom the player has an attachment to. Someone like Martin or Tomek for instance. If you create another guy, the decision would be quite easy for the player to make because he won't really care about the new guy.

I'm also not sure about splitting the mission. Sure you could split it, and the best place would be right after rescuing Tomek and just before you go meet Nemec. But I'd be concerned that there isn't enough going on in C&D right now. Unless, the guys you meet in the forest want you to help them take back their village and then go for the base. The guys you meet would be from another village of course. That could work.

If you're against splitting the mission, then I'd strongly recommend reducing the amount of running at least. Maybe unlocking a few vehicles. In some of the later missions I stopped looking for unlocked vehicles because every vehicle I came across was locked. Anyway, it's up to you.

Now, onto:

Resurrection & Stealing the Camera

With Resurrection there isn't much to report, apart from the absolutely amazing feat of cinema. I mean, seriously, it felt like watching a movie. I have to admit though, the twist was briefly lost on me because I hadn't seen Dmitri for a long time and I was like 'who's this guy?'  :whistle: But the lead-up to the twist was very well done. The action sequence was easily the best part.

Incredible work here. The mission itself worked fine, no issues at all. I did wonder though whether it is possible to kill the guys outside the house at the start. I figured it was impossible but I tried it anyway for the sake of testing. Each try resulted in me dying, which is fine...working as intended  :D

So, onto Stealing the Camera.

To be honest it's hard to say how I feel about this one. It seemed rather underwhelming and not all that engaging in terms of gameplay. We've gone from being a heroic Resistance leader, calling the shots etc, to just being a follower. I would have liked to have seen something more tactical. This is what I mean.

From my perspective at least, we the Resistance movement are probably the most knowledgeable of the Russian/Red Star tactics at this point, and that makes us incredibly valuable in terms of the intel we provide. We know where the Russians are strongest and where they are weakest, presumably. Therefore, I would totally expect to be the one coordinating this operation really. Not being baby-sat as one of the Marines put it. It's funny that he said because that's exactly how it felt.

Not only would I have expected to be the one leading the operation but also coordinating the assault from the supporting teams. We had the Germans and the Czechs apparently in the AO, yet we never saw them and they didn't contribute. Seemed like a missed opportunity.

More depth could have been added to the mission in terms of other objectives. Maybe there could have been hostages being held in the castle. Maybe the castle was being used to question and interrogate. Otherwise, why is the castle of importance to the Russians? Why are they guarding it?

Also, we see in the opening cutscene that NATO can't be openly involved, yet the mission finishes with a US helicopter openly flying around Chenarus  :P We may as well be flying around waving a US flag. It felt a bit weird and not all that plausible.

The next mission is in Utes, so I'd totally expect to be going with the Marines in scuba gear to a submarine or something to finish. Just needs something a bit more special than a chopper pick-up. Something that cries out Special Forces. Something that cries out, Black Op.

I'm sorry if that's too critical. I really like this campaign and I'm invested in making it better.

As I said, I'll save the ending for another time  :)

« Last Edit: 18 Sep 2018, 21:32:34 by Gruntage »
Some of the most memorable missions made involve the player doing very little...

"But one thing I can tell you from not just OFP but life in general:  criticism is directly proportional to quality. The more criticism a mission receives, the better the outcome" - macguba

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #63 on: 18 Sep 2018, 22:47:15 »
Thanks, Gruntage. No, it's not too critical at all. It's exactly what I need. :good:

I can understand that you feel that especially the camera mission is a bit underwhelming. Yeah, it's kind of straight forward and there would really be some chances to improve it. But that's not on my top priority list at the moment. Other than that I want the player to feel the desperation Tomas feels. His hopes didn't come true so far but now, running with the Marines he feels that he and his men are almost there (even though they are still far away from their goal). He doesn't feel like that warlord resistance leader. He does feel like someone who urgently needs help.

That said, this idea really blew me away!
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Maybe there could have been hostages being held in the castle.
Man, you and Clayman really are specialists in overloading me with more work with your awesome ideas! :D

The chopper ending is illogical, I agree completely. :D Maybe I should add a civilian chopper or a safehouse in the forest where the mission ends... I'll think about it.

Good point with Dimitri too. Maybe I'll implement a short flash back how he dies so that the player recognizes him immediately... Thanks!
« Last Edit: 18 Sep 2018, 22:50:33 by Undeceived »
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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #64 on: 18 Sep 2018, 22:53:13 »
Btw. the mission on Utes isn't the last mission of the campaign. There are still around 7 to come.
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Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #65 on: 19 Sep 2018, 08:39:17 »
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I can understand that you feel that especially the camera mission is a bit underwhelming. Yeah, it's kind of straight forward and there would really be some chances to improve it. But that's not on my top priority list at the moment. Other than that I want the player to feel the desperation Tomas feels. His hopes didn't come true so far but now, running with the Marines he feels that he and his men are almost there (even though they are still far away from their goal). He doesn't feel like that warlord resistance leader. He does feel like someone who urgently needs help.

Fair enough. Though if you want to try and make the player feel relieved that NATO are now involved, I'd try and make NATO's presence seem a bit stronger than it does currently. Make them seem more professional. I don't necessarily mean adding more troops; in fact it's best if you don't add more because it's still supposed to be a covert operation. But I would recommend bringing the KSK and the Czechs into the fight, visibly. Maybe we need more dialogue from the Marines about the operation ahead. Maybe it's just a case of making the 'mission' seem a lot more than it actually is. Make the marines seem more than just a normal squad of infantry is what I'm saying.

I understand the feeling you're trying to create; it just seems to be falling short right now. From my experience anyway.

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Good point with Dimitri too. Maybe I'll implement a short flash back how he dies so that the player recognizes him immediately... Thanks!

I think my not knowing who Dmitri was is down to taking a long break between the two chapters  :D A flashback would be good to see anyway.

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Btw. the mission on Utes isn't the last mission of the campaign. There are still around 7 to come.

That's good, didn't know there was another chapter to this  :)
Some of the most memorable missions made involve the player doing very little...

"But one thing I can tell you from not just OFP but life in general:  criticism is directly proportional to quality. The more criticism a mission receives, the better the outcome" - macguba

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #66 on: 19 Sep 2018, 13:55:17 »
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Maybe we need more dialogue from the Marines about the operation ahead
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Make them seem more professional
Do you have any more specific ideas how to do that? How would I highlight them a bit more for being a specops unit? Just asking because there are no official NATO troops in Chernarus and these covert units are the only ones (yeah, I'll scratch the US evac chopper :D ). Thus there are no ordinary squads around that these guys would fail to stand out against. You know what I mean?

Thanks for your ideas, mate, I really appreciate it that you are spending so much time and thoughts on it.

Actually I think there are even 2 or 3 chapters to come. But I'm not sure if I will beta-release them as whole chapters. I might update when I finish one or two of the missions.
« Last Edit: 19 Sep 2018, 13:59:38 by Undeceived »
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Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #67 on: 19 Sep 2018, 23:43:52 »
Alright so now I have some time to reply  :D

I know what I said was a bit vague so hopefully this'll help. If I was given this mission to design as a project, there's a number of things I'd do to make this seem more 'special'. In my opinion you want to make these guys seem ultra-professional in order so that you don't have the player thinking that these guys aren't even that good.

Firstly, I'd make the Marines the KSK instead. Why? Because the KSK are the guys who rescued Tomas and so straight away they've had a pretty cool impact. We've just had that amazing action sequence, so the notion of Tomas going on an operation with these guys sounds and feels pretty cool. They've already been made to look awesome in the cinematic, so that's half the battle right there.

You can still have the Marines, just put them where KSK were in that mission.

Secondly, choose a different time of day for the operation. This goes back to what I was saying about it supposedly being a covert operation. These guys are not gonna operate in broad daylight. Any Russian is going to be able to recognise who these guys are; by their gear, their uniform etc. So, go for a dusk/dawn or even night time operation instead.

Not only is this more realistic but it also makes the operation feel more 'special'. Subtle things like this really make a difference, despite the objective being rather simple. Operation Rattlesnake was built on this principle.

Those are the two things I'd change straight away. I would also implement the hostage idea...or at least make the castle seem more important. Killing the radio antenna is ok, although the explosion can be heard for miles. I'm not sure if you wanted stealth to be a factor. That's up to you really.

As far as dialogue between the specop guys is concerned, I know I said that perhaps more dialogue is needed. But, I'm wondering whether it's better to keep the amount of dialogue down to a minimum, if any. I think this makes them more interesting. Their minds are totally focused on the operation ahead, so perhaps they don't want to break concentration with chit chat. Also would Tomas be able to speak German? Not sure if that's something to consider.  The KSK don't come across as being the gung-ho type, so maybe keeping them silent might make them seem more professional.

I think I'd have to see this in action to see. Unfortunately we're talking about how things feel, and that ultimately is down to personal opinion.

I hope that helps a little
Some of the most memorable missions made involve the player doing very little...

"But one thing I can tell you from not just OFP but life in general:  criticism is directly proportional to quality. The more criticism a mission receives, the better the outcome" - macguba

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #68 on: 22 Sep 2018, 09:00:37 »
Thanks a lot, Gruntage, yeah, that helped a lot.

I'll stick with the Marines (I want to show other NATO specops than the KSK too and ze Germans will have another appearance in a later mission), but I'll change/add some things like dusk or dawn, sabotage of the antenna instead of blowing it up, hostages, personal contact to the KSK or the Czechs so that they take care of the hostages, no U.S.M.C. chopper (civilian one or safehouse in the forest).
Maybe silencers even though I don't know it makes sense because the Russians will shoot as well and if possible I'd like to keep the different weapon types in the group (means: LMG too) as this way it easier to distinguish the members in the conversations. Speaking of different weapons: there will be an explosion anyway because of the UAZ coming to reinforce the antenna...
« Last Edit: 22 Sep 2018, 10:33:59 by Undeceived »
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Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #69 on: 22 Sep 2018, 21:15:12 »
Alright so I was able to have a little play at The Mole. I haven't finished it yet, but I can give some feedback based on what I've seen so far.

It's certainly looking to be a very clever mission with some very interesting problem solving to do. I was able to take out the first officer using what I think was the intended method. Knock out the two guys in the garden next door, then knock out 'vasily' and then shoot the officer. It took a few tries to work out a system of misdirection.

But before that though, it didn't seem clear that in order to take out the first guy you'd need to turn him around and then do it. Not too much of a problem, I did figure it out in the end.

One thing I am noticing though is that doesn't take much for the enemies to notice you. Some of those guys can see through fences, and of course when the bullets start flying it's basically game over. Also for some reason some of those guys switch to combat mode but without raising the alarm. Surely if the level of 'danger' is such that you hit the dirt then the alarm should be raised. 

It's certainly a very challenging mission so far but I wonder whether the enemies are too observant. It is dark after all and I'm always moving in the shadows yet they see me anyway. I've run into this problem as well....funny really we often complain that the AI are stupid yet there are times when we want them to be. Getting spotted by a guy through a fence is a bit annoying but it's not the end of the world. Just means having to reload and try something else.

It's a bit like a steady hand game, or treading a tightrope. Seems like I do have to go down a very specific route to avoid detection. But it's good though; it makes you have to think, which is exactly what a stealth mission should be. I know when I'm playing a very good mission because I'm often thinking why on earth didn't I do this  :D. The system of team switching and distracting is very clever indeed. Very Splinter-cell/Metal Gear-esque.

Will resume playing tomorrow
« Last Edit: 22 Sep 2018, 21:17:59 by Gruntage »
Some of the most memorable missions made involve the player doing very little...

"But one thing I can tell you from not just OFP but life in general:  criticism is directly proportional to quality. The more criticism a mission receives, the better the outcome" - macguba

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #70 on: 22 Sep 2018, 21:32:06 »
Thanks, I really was looking forward to read what you think about this mission (just as much I was looking forward to read your feedback on the Resurrection cutscene, for which I needed MONTHS! :D).
I don't know if you know the Commandos game series (a tactical strategy game set in WWII). This mission was inspired by this.

Never had it that the AI detects Tomas through fences or so. What are your AI skill settings? Mine are: Skill 0.70 and Precision 0.50.

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Seems like I do have to go down a very specific route to avoid detection.
There are some routes through the village, not only one.
« Last Edit: 22 Sep 2018, 21:58:24 by Undeceived »
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Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #71 on: 23 Sep 2018, 08:44:51 »
I actually have the AI turned all the way down, because if you recall from earlier tests I was having issues with the seemingly unstoppable AI, sometimes even in missions when their 'skill' was very low.

I have encountered this problem elsewhere and was actually the reason why a couple of my projects were shelved. Even with their perception turned down to basically 0, or with parts of their AI disabled, they would still see the player through certain objects; cargo containers in this case. In this case they actually tried to shoot the player through the container, like they'd empty their weapons at the container with the player on the other side. Very annoying and I never worked out a solution.

I wouldn't call the issue gamebreaking, just that the player needs to adjust his strategy to deal with it. In my case it means having to keep my distance, or use the Spy to make them look the other way. Although I'm not sure if I'll need to do this with 2 guys at the same time and how that would work.

Will carry on playing later
Some of the most memorable missions made involve the player doing very little...

"But one thing I can tell you from not just OFP but life in general:  criticism is directly proportional to quality. The more criticism a mission receives, the better the outcome" - macguba

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #72 on: 23 Sep 2018, 10:17:51 »
I hate it when I'm not able to reproduce issues that others have. :dry:

Yes, it's possible to have more than one soldier paying attention to the spy.
« Last Edit: 23 Sep 2018, 10:22:58 by Undeceived »
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Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #73 on: 23 Sep 2018, 16:29:32 »
Ok so I came back to it to see how far I'd get. I was able to take out all 3 officers; the third one was annoying to get and in the end I just went in the pistol and shot all three guys in that area. Sometimes the brute force approach is best I find.

Unfortunately though, the 'kill the officers' part of the mission is where I come to a dead-end. I cannot use that machine-gun to shoot cans off a fence, let alone take out guys shooting at the spy. Despite steadying the rifle and using the bi-pod, the recoil makes it impossible to shoot enemies quickly. And I need a lot of speed to take out those guys without shooting the spy. If I had a sniper rifle or even a DMR that would help, just something that doesn't have bad recoil. At the moment it's pretty much impossible, and I'm not gonna lie, it's frustrating.

I'll tell you this, I cannot stand the whole 'protect this guy from enemy fire' concept. I've played a lot of games that use this, and it's never been fun; just annoying and a relief when you finally do it. I daresay some people like it, but for me, it just isn't fun.

I would have preferred it if I was the spy and I've got to get in and out myself. Maybe even whilst trying to maintain stealth. I would have also thought that the moment bullets start flying from anyone the alarm bells would be ringing, and it would virtually impossible to get off an island that small without getting killed. Also the spy is getting shot at, yet he's just strolling along like it's a day at the beach. If I was getting shot at and I was holding critical information I'd be sprinting from cover to cover. That adds to the frustration because you're there telling him to move his ass.

Annoying thing is though, this is a really cool mission with suspense throughout, but I just don't like the 'protect the spy' part. It feels a bit like a 'whack-a-mole' game. A silenced sniper rifle might make it more tolerable, but unfortunately I think it's the concept itself I dislike more than the choice of weapon.
« Last Edit: 23 Sep 2018, 16:31:56 by Gruntage »
Some of the most memorable missions made involve the player doing very little...

"But one thing I can tell you from not just OFP but life in general:  criticism is directly proportional to quality. The more criticism a mission receives, the better the outcome" - macguba

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #74 on: 23 Sep 2018, 20:04:30 »
:D Reading your feedback I literally sensed that you didn't like that part at all. :D

I'd suggest though that perhaps you'd still dislike it but not THAT much if everything had worked as intended. :-[ i.e. if the weapon worked right and the spy managed to escape (and this running, not taking a walk). :whistle:
Of course these problems (especially the walking) never occurred in my playthroughs, so .... this is Arma... >:(

I'll give my best to tweak this part so it's not that frustrating. Apart from me you're the first person ever that played it in Arma 3 so your frustration for me is valuable information. ;) Arma 2 was a lot different.

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I would have preferred it if I was the spy
That's a great idea again, but this would take more time than I have right now.

I'll think about the weapon choice though. A SD sniper rifle with that high-tech scope sound like a good idea.

Thanks a lot Gruntage!
« Last Edit: 23 Sep 2018, 20:06:44 by Undeceived »
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)