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Author Topic: A "Jagged alliance" style campaign  (Read 2189 times)

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Dagon

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A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« on: 15 Feb 2005, 01:45:37 »
I dunno if everyone has heard of or played it, but Jagged Alliance 2 has been often regarded as one of the best TBS/RPG games of all time. It involves the player character being hired to retake control of a third-world country from an evil dictator known as queen deidrianna, and procuring the services of mercenaries to help with this objective. At the start of the game, the mercenaries and the player character are both poorly armed and tasked to slowly take back all of the countryside.

Has anyone thought of making a JA2-style campaign for OFP? I've been thinking it couldn't be too difficult to make one; here's my idea anways:

Firstly, we'd need a large map, about the size of arulco (JA2's world) and recreated to high detail. We'd also need new gun models, character models and so on. A faster day-night cycle, or a rest option, could both be helpful, too.

Anyways, the aforementioned stuff is simple compared to what I perceive as the largest problem; that is, how exactly to present the game. Currently, my three ideas are thus:

Idea one: Make the entire campaign one big mission. Give the player a savegame option on the radio which allows them to save the game every 30 seconds (to prevent oversaving) and, to prevent lagging, have enemies spawned in towns, plains etc whenever the player comes within activation range of special triggers. This option would be good, have non-linear gameplay, but it'd make resuming a mission annoying.

Idea two: Make the cities a mission each, and make the wilderness one big mission. Players switch to the "city" mission whenever they get close to a city, and witch back to the wilderness afterwards. However, I don't know if there's a way that you'd be able to "save" a mission and go back to it exactly as you left it earlier in the campaign.

Idea three: Make the game linear, based off the standard player's pattern of movement in JA2. While this optin would be easiest and would allow for the best options, it would remove much of the non-linearity which JA2 is popular for.

Anyone care to comment on this?

Offline nominesine

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #1 on: 15 Feb 2005, 14:47:39 »
Your basic idea is very good indeed. This is exactly what makes OFP such a great game IMO. I like the second option best. Why? Because:

1) It let's you use more units and fill every city with a lot of detail without risking lag.

2) It creates an illusion of unlimited freedom on the whole map (similar to the Dynamic Campaign in Missions Depot) even if you are actually bound to the mission tree specified in the campaign description.ext

3) From a mission designers point of view it seems to be a fool proof method to create the illusion of total freedom I mentioned in #1 above.

Good luck with your idea. If you cut down on unneccessary addons (or stick to a single mod) I think it will be even better. I don't see that you need any custom island or new guns to realise the idea. I'll keep an eye out for your project.
OFPEC | Intel Depot
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PrejudiceSucks

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #2 on: 15 Feb 2005, 20:55:21 »
Fantastic idea!

I especially loved the original Jagged Alliance, maybe you could make it a little more like that, gaining sectors at a time.

I agree, the second idea is the best.

But how would you start it? Would you have a small base and maybe a Custom Crate with basic munitions (AK47s, flareguns etc.) or would it be more that you had a base 'offshore' and were transported onto the island, with weapons stored back at the offshore base?

I also agree with nominesine in that you would need to stick to just a couple of addons. I know that I personally use FDF mod a lot, but its size will put many off. One of the best mods I have downloaded is a small one, which adds 'Mapfact' objects, which is for Nogova Mining (or something) but it adds many buildings as well as the dumper trucks and stuff.

Offline Raptorsaurus

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #3 on: 15 Feb 2005, 22:11:09 »
I like it!  I agree that method 2 would be best.  You could also make it so that if you get on a boat and go a certain distance in certain direction you would "start" a new mission on a different island.

Regarding your question about saving your status from one mission to another, you should be able to do that with the special campaigne save functions.  But I think that destroyed buildings will be repaired if you "return" to an island after leaving.

PrejudiceSucks

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #4 on: 15 Feb 2005, 22:23:14 »
Yeah, that would be cool. I don't know how easy it would be to code, though (Although I guess you could use the 'entities' to repair things maybe)

And maybe add a little bit of strategy by, as in JA, being able to buy guards to stop the enemy attackers, maybe at a price relative to skill + weapons.

Dagon

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #5 on: 16 Feb 2005, 14:59:52 »
If it is possible to save corpses in their positions, excellent. Now just to find a coder who knows how to do that... :/

I have another idea, also - a "money" system to hire new mercenaries (and buy new guns, perhaps) that's based off how many towns you've captured, wether they have mines, and so on. Just like in the original JA2, yahknow?

Offline macguba

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #6 on: 16 Feb 2005, 15:26:50 »
Option 1 has, functionally, already been done.    Or rather, it is being done.    See "Abondoned armies" on the beta testing board.

There are also many money scripts out there.
Plenty of reviewed ArmA missions for you to play

PrejudiceSucks

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #7 on: 16 Feb 2005, 17:26:49 »
Are you sure that corpses wouldn't be taken away. Maybe an hour after they are killed, the corpses are dragged away. Maybe vehicles in a day or two?

Knowlife

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #8 on: 04 Mar 2005, 23:44:40 »
I have also thought about making something Jagged Alliance related in ofp, I will gladly help in making this come true. I know that Crashdome was inspired by Jagged Alliance 2 when he made Sinews Of War, maybe a project like this could be of interest to him (having an editing buff like him on the team would be great).

Regarding the mission thing: I agree on idea number two, but the towns will have to be really detailed to justify the added loading times.

I suggest using Mapfact's Nogova island. Mainly because of the mines, but also because of the airport, it could serve nicely as the airport in Drassen in Jagged Alliance 2. You know, as the place to order/smuggle in guns and other goods.

And another thing, I have all the music from Jagged Alliance 2 on my disk in .wav format. It would do great as background music. That is, if we don't get our asses sued for using it ::)


If anyone starts a project like this, and wants some help, I'l be happy to be a part of it. Here's my email so you can contact my: thomas.jensen.88@gmail.com

(I'l also be keeping an eye on this thread)

Fishion

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #9 on: 06 Mar 2005, 13:37:31 »
I loved JA2 when I played it, and OFP has the potential to realising something like JA2 in it. However a few words of advice:

1) I for myself have tried to use approach #1 to the problem around 3-4 times at various stages of OFP Scripting development (i.e. utilising several commands). I am quite sure that it is possible to do, however as you can see by the number of times I tried it not a easy or trivial task.
I'll mention some design ideas down below...

2) Since OFP is first person real time, there is a design issue in some way.
You could make this sort of a commands view and have people commandeering them around. Or playing your own personal character and are able to hire a few others. Thanks to the "dumb" AI in OFP (acutally the AI is not really dumb, but much less efficient than a player) the AIs in your team become somewhat useless except for ammo and weapons bearer off course.
To make long things short you#d have to do some serious change in design...

3) The real problem I always came across sooner or later was the fact that I if I take Malden (I liked Malden...at the time nothing else was avaiable...and even today I would pick it...it's sufficient in size). There are alot of space to fill. I had a system up and running that did let you simulate a phone booth to call someone, and gas station to refuel etc. However I had to do things like that over the whole Island. JA2 did live from all the details, and if you want to capture a bit of the feel of JA2 you will need alot of details and quests.

4) One big part of JA2 was to follow the Hunter and Collector instinct (much as it was with Diablo 2). Didn't you all WANT to have a M24 at the beginning or an Mp53 (until you realised that they both are not very good in JA2)?
Similar to that precious G11. Getting the right tools was an important part, and made much of a difference. I had "Raven" always running around with "her" Styer AUG modified with the "spring and bolt" system and the barrel extension.
Now in OFP some of those weapons don't differ alot. Range considerations are somewhat important, however damage usually isn't. G36 kills just as good as a SVD Dragunov, instant that is. JA2 was a bit ridiculous with damage (my Character could take sometimes shots from a lose range with his treated spectra shield without recieving an injury...).
In the end, you need that also to get a JA2 feel. However the variety of weapons and their needed rise in effectivness is somehow limited. This does create a problem.

The real problem in #3 with the Quests. Someone has to make them, and it's too much work for one person, and coding them in the "to build"-JA-OPF "engine" is neither trivial.

So much for now...

-Fishion

Fishion

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #10 on: 06 Mar 2005, 14:10:06 »
Hiho,

now I will talk a little about the approach I took toward the realising of approach Number 2, when I tried.

Abstract:
I will outline what I have tried, and with what and why I ended up in my last try (I'm not sure but I think the files were destroyed at some point). I will also talk a little about technical problems I did have at that time.

Overview:
To fill up a whole Island with live we would need to "lift" the OFP limit on units and more Importantly on Groups. This is possible under the assumption of a group that stays together. A system that can also lift this assumption will also be outlined at the end.

The basic idea is to remove units that the group/player cannot possible interact or see. This means he cannot shoot or see. At this point viewdistances in OFP are important to match to values of the system/engine that will be build around the idea.

I had two approaches to the problem. The first survived all but the last try:
Divide the map of OFP into small segments. Usually Squares (is easier). If the player/group is in one of the 8 surrounding segments this particular segments needs to be active, that is everything in it needs to exist. If not, everything in it should be removed.
Of course a logic was build around it to check if the player has changed the segment he was in, then do all the checks.
The problem with this is, that to do it consistently there is no other way than
to put the patter of segments over the whole map. Which means that towns sometimes lie at the boundary of 2 segments. The result was that the player changed often from one segment to another, but a segment change had the effect of a second or five from lag....
I later realised that most of the island is empty space, and are most segments. That gave rise to the idea (a bit similar to approach 2) to put secgments around a city/town, and other important sites (such as some huts), with proper radii, and the possibility of having more than one active.
You then only need to see if one of the units of the group are close enough to the town (no trigger per script...script can do with less lag, you don't need to check often, if you say playes or choppers are not possible)...

So far the easy part. Now to the difficult par in OFP: all this means we/you need to be able to create groups/units "out of thin air". The problem with OFP is not that you cannot create a unit, but that you cannot create a new group. In all 64 Groups are possible per side IIRC. That means you need some logic managing groups. The good news is that once you created a group you can grab the identifier, and it will persist even after everybody in the group died/was deleted. (i.e. group_1 = Group Leader bad_guy_1 will mean you can always join people in group_1...). But in the end you will need a logic to decide which group is not in use, and then use the group and release it if not needed anymore. This will be the more difficult part. If OFP had an Object Oriented Scripting Engine this would be easy, but so harder to do, but possible. The last try on that did die because of lack of attention. I never had the feeling anybody was interested in it...and you know you need alot of ideas for the Quests (see above).

And in the end you need to be able to delete all units in a segment/sector that nobody can interact/see. Here OFP throws a few problems that in the early versions of OFP didn't exist: OFP deleted dead units out of the group.
That means you need an array of each and every object that you created in a segment, to be able to delete it. How to treat vehicles with that? I don't know but it would require some additional logic. I for my part always said that's not that important because JA2 had traditionally little to no vehicles in it. But in the end you could check if a player is in the vehicle or if the vehicle is still in the segment, and delete accordingly.

What you realise is, that with this design, it's not possible for units not belonging to the player group to cross from one segment to another, but again this is not really a problem. Most units would stay in or near a town. Only if the AI flees this is one, but in most cases nobody would see them anyhow.

In the end it's not all that difficult, but alot of work to fill the world and get the Quests in it...

For any questions and/or design help (i did spend quite alot of hours thinking about that) feel free to contact me.

Email adresses are:
jochen.baaz(at-sign-here)epfl.ch
or
jbaaz(at-sign-here)gmx.net

I'd love to see something like that realised, even if my current notebook is a bit week to play it.

-Fishion

Fishion

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Re:A "Jagged alliance" style campaign
« Reply #11 on: 06 Mar 2005, 14:16:32 »
Hiho,
thinking about it, old ideas come back:

The last design of the misson play would mean it is also possible to make in Multiplayer  :)
And the idea was to give every player at the end of the game (or at any point of time) a code. In this code would be stored almost everything important. Meaning equipment. So in other words you play with a few friends, write down the code, and continue playing at some other time. The problem would be that if you have a full loadout of say G36 Ammo, you would always be able to play with a full load out. There ways around it, mainly also keeping a "story" code which stored the place in the story and to have the Equipment-Code being in relation to the Story-Code...But that would by like crytography...but possible.
But then you'll only play that with friends, and if you want to cheat your problem...
Would be a new thing in OFP but for an MP coding much more complicated.
But I believe a first in OFP history no?

-Fishion