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Player's behaviour
« on: 02 Mar 2003, 01:50:01 »
I do not know if this kind of post fits here, I hope so.

 This is an issue about which I have been a little thoughtful for a long time, but now I need some, at least, opinnions. My question is: when you make a mission, how do you care (if you do) about the player's behaviour?. I'll explain myself. In a game like OFP, the player is free to do almost whatever he wants when playing a mission. He can run away, he can even when he is not playing as a leader attack and objective from wherever he wants, etc. But there have been some times at which in order to make a player do a mission as I thought it, in order to allow him to "enjoy" completely what I designed, I tried to make some "tricks" so he didn't run away. For example, in the first mission of the campaign I made, the player is supposed to go to a certain place, walking along a street. I put triggers so he couldn't leave the path he was supposed to walk (those triggers returned him to the starting place when he entered their area with a message which said: "You cannot escape from your destiny").

Now, I'm making a mission in which the plan is changed during the action. The player (who is the leader of a platoon) is to move eastwards to attack the enemy from the flank, allowing another platoon, which was to attack from the right flank, attack from the front, and the player's platoon from the left flank. When the plan is changed -actually the platoon on the right flank is discovered, so they have to change plans to try surprising somehow the enemy-, the player is on a hill, about 200 meters from the enemy encampment. He now is to move eastwards, as I have said, to outflank the enemy. But I do worry about the fact that the player can, when playing the mission, easily just attack from where he is, in the front of the encampment, spoiling thus the whole plan and, by the way, the whole mission I designed. So, when you make a mission, do you do anything to prevent the player from doing some things which could spoil the mission, as you planned it? Perhaps isn't the player going to enjoy the mission because he didn't follow more or less the steps you had planned? In this particular case, could I do everything to prevent the player from just moving towards the objective which is in front of him, instead of moving eastwards some hundreds of meters in order to outflank the enemy? Or just I leave it as it is, and if the player wants to follow the rules, better for him, and if he doesn't want to do so, it is his problem, not mine?

Are my worries irrational? ???. I've been worried about that since I started making my first campaign in August, 2002. I fear that the player is not going to do the mission more or less as I planned it, spoling all my work because he didn't want to follow some rules, for example, moving to another position to attack a position.

That's all. Thanks in advance


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Re:Player's behaviour
« Reply #1 on: 02 Mar 2003, 04:27:49 »
 For me... .when i'm playing a mission.. i'm doing it exactly as I would do in real life..   I usually don't follow the designated path.... I always look for the weakest point and exploit it somehow.. or the best route around... so on and so forth...  
 I'll even admit that I really don't read most of the briefing usually.. lol only the objectives are what really matter...  ;)

(well and I personally try and see to it that there isn't another living unit or undamaged vehicle.. well  basically anything with positive point values  ::)   when I'm done with a mission.. just so I can compare kills with friends.. lol ;D )

  And I still have tons of fun playing missions made by those great mission makers out there...  ( you know who you are  :-*)

I think that what you need to do .. is either  

A:   for a base or encampment or city.....  arrange the enemy so there are no easy ways in....   and that if the player does stray from the path that  likely they'll regret it quickly ....  

make use of the guard and sentry waypoints.... these are real gems....

a group guarding an area will join any skirmish as they are needed
and a sentry group will scout ahead till an enemy is spotted.. and then return to report the coordinates to the guard group

B:  Make the player too scared  to stray from the path... if it's an infantry mission... some armor will keep you in line real quick... ;D
 and any helis flying over will keep the player on their toes as well...

or superior numbers....  

  I'm sure your worries aren't too bad mate... lol ...   all you need to do is toss in some more waypoints and shore up the defenses on your missions then it shouldn't matter how ya go about playing it ;)

 BTW... I'm not too hot on the whole.. "teleporting back to where you started thing"  I'm sure there are better ways ;)
« Last Edit: 02 Mar 2003, 04:29:41 by Kaliyuga »


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Re:Player's behaviour
« Reply #2 on: 02 Mar 2003, 07:51:15 »
For most of the action -> Kaliyuga  :D

Though I usually use a small trick, to keep the player from completely running away.
I got a (large) area in which there are units, i.e. there is life, and I don't want the player to run into areas in which there is nothing, just empty houses. One thing I usually do is to place "death triggers", though they
don't kill the player, but execute a variaty of scripts (each trigger executes
always the same script). Usually one is always a "minefield" (because it's the easiest). You hear the player scream "MINES"...booom, mission ends   :o
Another (when running to the rear, where friendly troops are suppost to be)
he's arrested for being AWOL (and court marshalled...mission end :o )
Being captured by the enemy is also a possibility, or being killed by a sniper.
Or he can be suddenly faced with a platoon of tanks (which do attack him).

I place those trigger fairly far from the actuall mission area, so that the player
doesn't walk into it by mistake if he attempts to solve the mission (in any way).

In the end just a way to restrict the battlefield


Offline Sui

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Re:Player's behaviour
« Reply #3 on: 02 Mar 2003, 13:36:50 »
Fishion.... pretty much the same methods I use ;)

I'll generally have a distance where if the player exceeds that, his superior tells him to get back into the action, then if the player goes further the Court Martial ending pops up ;D

Offline macguba

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Re:Player's behaviour
« Reply #4 on: 02 Mar 2003, 14:14:23 »
Yes SeAnVeR, we all worry about that.  It's a big problem.

There are really two distinct questions here.

1)   How do you stop the player from missing cutscenes, screwing up hidden objectives etc?

Here I think it is vital to give clear instructions.   It is also important to arrange your triggers and so on so that the game can cope.   For example, if there are to be 3 cutscenes in 3 different places in a certain order then the trigger for the first cutscene must have !cutscene2 and !cutscene3.  In other words the mission should not advance unless the player follows his instructions.      

In extreme circumstances mines and courtmartials are appropriate here, but its much better to have proper things in the game .... for example the truck doesn't unlock until you speak to the sergeant like you have been told to do.   If you wanna miss a cutscene and walk to the battle area then you're missing out an important part of the mission, why would a player want do to that?   And why, as a mission designer, would you want to stop such an idiot?

2)  How do you make the player do what you want in gameplay?  

This is really what SeAnVeR is talking about.      Given that one of the great strengths of OFP is its flexibility, mines, courtmartials, etc are, IMHO unacceptable and just lazy designing (nothing personal dudes!  :)).   The exception of course is when the CO says "whatever happens don't go east of Morton" and if you do you get zapped.  But if the CO or the briefing is going to say that, there better be a good reason for it.

If the player's character has been given orders by his CO, then whether he obeys or disobeys these orders should have consequences in the mission.      SeAnVeR's problem, of how to control the player's axis of attack, is a very common one.     In certain circumstances its very easy:   for example, in a tank mission you have to go between the woods and a few mines or fences soon channel you into the right area.      I usually take the view that if the player wants to spend half an hour driving right round the island to avoid those sorts of things that's his funeral.   I don't use "death triggers", though I do use hint "You are leaving the mission area".   I really don't see why the mission designer should say to the player "No, you can't use that part of the island" without a very sound reason.   This choice is one of the game's strengths, why would you want to limit it?

I play like Kali, in that as a matter of course I will always flank an objective rather than approach from the direction of the insertion point.    Sometimes it makes a difference, sometimes it doesn't.      In this case, SeAnVeR, it should make a huge difference.      Tanks and helicopters are crude and unrealistic.   What would actually happen?    Your orders are to attack the village from a particular angle because your CO thinks that is where the defenses are weakest, or because that's the most favourable direction geographically, or because that's the best way to link in with the other squads, or whatever.     So the consequences of disobeying should be appropriate to the cicumstances.   You, the mission designer, are the CO.   Why do you want the player to attack from that direction?   What advantage does it give?    How do you represent the removal of that advantage if the player goes in from a different angle?  

Winning SeAnVeR's mission by going straight in should be virtually impossible:  winning it by going round the flank should present a fun challenge.    It's up to the mission designer to ensure that that is what happens.      Another strength of the game is that subtle difference of unit placement, weapon loadout etc make huge differences to gameplay.    Imagine advancing your squad across 400m of open ground with a few soldiers shooting at you: easy.    But against a couple of snipers and a couple of machine gunners?   Different story altogether.    The mission designer can use this strength of the game to his advantage.

In this particular case I would do something like this.

1) stronger fixed defences on the direct side (better quality soldiers, more strong units like snipers and machine gunners)

2) better placed units:  you may even place some deliberatly badly on the flank side

3) add advantages on the flanking side such as camcreated bushes ... or simply choose the flank side such that it offers better lines of sight

4) the other squad will only attack when the player reaches the correct position.   If he attacks incorrectly he doesn't get the support of the other squad and if he makes itinto the village from the wrong side he gets a radio message asking what the hell is going on.     Or have the other squad move around and also approach from the wrong angle, making it more likely there will be a "blue on blue" and therefore reducing the forces available to repel the inevitable counter attack

5) a little goodie appearing when he reaches the flanking side, like his squad is strengthened by the 2 special ops loons who have been hiding there are observing the village.      Or capturing a deserter from the village who gives information on its defences.    Or these special ops loons have had an ammo drop and they have one or two nice weapons they can lend you ... you could hear about this via a radio message

6) you can do tricks with the timing of guard groups.    Attack from the wrong side and they will come at you all at once:  attack from the correct side and they will come at you one at a time.

7) if all else fails and you really can't think of anything else then have slightly more defenders on the direct side

That's 7 ideas off the top of my head, you could think of 7 more ... each one of them would only have to be implemented to a small degree for the overall effect to be decisive.      And that's all before you even start thinking about any real scripting.

In summary, a well made mission will make the player "want" to take the correct path.      However, it will cope effectively whether he takes the correct path or not, and reward/punish him appropriately.  

« Last Edit: 02 Mar 2003, 14:39:13 by macguba »
Plenty of reviewed ArmA missions for you to play

Offline LCD

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Re:Player's behaviour
« Reply #5 on: 02 Mar 2003, 17:10:23 »
we all worry about that.

not all ::)

i try 2 never make a linear mision  :) - makes it boring 2 play more dan 1-2 tmes  :-X (and prooly cuz i hate plaing ma misions step after step cuz it gets boring ::)) - so da only mision dat i realy hae borders was 1 dat u need 2 defend a base (cuz da base is not defended if u r very far from it ;))

so if u wanna make da player o somwere b4 doin somthin else just make him want 2 (promise reinforcments dere or somin else - in da army lots of things can b FUBARed and not arrive ;D) - after all OFP is all bout free selections in da misions u make (at least dat wat i think ;D)

and alwayz make sure dat all ur bases can react on attacks from all sides ;D

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