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Author Topic: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)  (Read 3102 times)

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Offline Undeceived

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[SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« on: 29 Jun 2018, 22:55:16 »
Time to finish this campaign! >:(

As my premise is the one of good ol' Mapfact "Don't think BETA", I resisted releasing this in the more frequented BIF but wanted a small and calm corner in the WWW so I can get some feedback to get out a release that is as stable as possible. So here we go and thanks for any feedback!






BLACK LANDS
(Arma 3)


Author: Undeceived
Game type: SP campaign
Version: 0.6 alpha (13 of 20 missions) (released August 31, 2018)



D E S C R I P T I O N :

After the Russian army takes control over Chernarus, Tomas Cerny and his best friend Dimitri, among other war-survivors, form up a resistance movement. At first, the group is able to cause harm to the Russian intruders, but little by little, Tomas sees the strength of the movement crumbling and deteriorating. As eventually Dimitri is killed in an Russian ambush and Tomas, all at once, loses everything he loves and cares for, the resistance fighter finds himself all alone, devitalized and a broken man. In his darkest hour, Tomas is suddenly contacted by an agent of the U.S. intelligence, who is able to light up a small flame in the young Chernarussian again. Tomas learns that there are still people who want to rise up against the Russians. He is able to find new courage, meets new friends and goes on the most difficult journey of his life. He passes through adventures and defeats, experiences friendship as well as betrayal and faces survival and death.



F E A T U R E S :
  • Story-driven resistance campaign (20 missions + cutscenes + multiple endings) with an enthralling plot about a group of men struggling against their enemies
  • Ported from Arma 2, expanded (one more mission + details in the original missions) and polished to Arma 3 standard
  • Custom music (including some self-composed titles)
  • Cutscenes, intros and outros, briefings - everything carries on the story
  • A mix of linear, straight-forward missions and wide and complex ones with many tasks
  • "Real life"-weapon pool: As a low-equipped resistance cell you will start from zero with empty hands. Collected weapons and equipment will be stored in your hidden field camp though, where you can prepare and arm yourself for the next missions.
  • Squad management system: Get to know the background story of your men and chose your group for the next mission. Your squad members will improve their skills in combat.



C H A N G E L O G :

V. 0.5 (alpha)
  • Campaign ported to Arma 3, releasing missions 1-8 of 20
  • Changes and additions in some missions

V. 0.6 (alpha) (updated August 31st)
  • Added missions 9-13 of 20
  • Bug fixes and optimizations in missions 1-8
  • Additional minor changes in some missions



R E Q U I R E M E N T S :

➔ AUTOMATIC subscription of all needed SW mods:

Download this html file and drag & drop it into the official Arma 3 launcher. The launcher will offer you the automatic subscription of all required mods.



D O W N L O A D :

Read the ReadMe for installation instructions.

Black Lands v. 0.6 (alpha) (380 MB) @ OneDrive (Download removed until next version)
« Last Edit: 05 Jul 2019, 09:56:27 by Undeceived »
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)

Offline Gruntage

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Re: Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #1 on: 29 Jun 2018, 23:03:13 »
Now I know what I'll be doing tomorrow  :D

Don't think I've had the pleasure of playing any of your projects yet  :)
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

Offline Undeceived

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Re: Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #2 on: 29 Jun 2018, 23:06:12 »
Oh, I wasn't expecting such an early reply. :D :D

Thanks, Gruntage. I hope everything works somehow. There shouldn't be any showstoppers at least.
« Last Edit: 29 Jun 2018, 23:07:55 by Undeceived »
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)

Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #3 on: 30 Jun 2018, 19:51:12 »
Alrighty let's get to it. It's been a long time since I last wrote one of these.

So just as a preface, I never played this during Arma2 (never actually played Arma2) so I have no idea what I'll be faced with, it will be an entirely new experience.

Intro

First off, wow. That opening cutscene was certainly a feat of cinema. Very well chosen camera angles but even more so was the music. It set the scenes brilliantly. It's very hard to critique this, but I suppose the only thing (literally) that's missing is voice acting. I know it can be very difficult to implement and most of us don't exactly have a room a voice actors at our disposal.

I did however receive a couple of error messages during the cutscene, but they didn't cause the intro to stop. This message appeared twice: "no entry 'bin\config.bin/CUP_D_RadioProtocol_CZ_ACR/SentCovering.'. I don't know what might cause such a message to appear...I'm sure I installed all the addons listed. Might just be on my end but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Death Came Upon Me

Very dramatic start - though I was kinda expecting Dimitri to get shot   :D An interesting starting mission; good atmosphere with very strong cinema once again. I suppose I'd put more patrols in to increase the pressure and suspense but the mission is fine as it is. The sense of hopelessness does come across very well. If I was being really picky I'd go for harsher weather for emphasis - heavy rain or perhaps just the sound of the wind. For me atmosphere is everything  :D

As for the outro, again very dramatic and quite gut-wrenching as well. Very good start.

Awakening

I always like stealth missions especially those of the urban kind. Using the buildings as cover was pretty cool. I have to admit I was expecting something a bit more challenging. But then it could easily become overpowering and frustrating if you did increase the patrol count. Perhaps it's down to personal taste.

Good cinema although there were a few spelling mistakes and I did chuckle at the 'perforated by bullets' phrase...it sounds like surgery  :D I think you need to phrase that so it sounds more harrowing and not quite so clinical or procedural. How about 'riddled with bullets', or 'cut to pieces by rifle fire'?

The only other thing that might improve this mission is music. Adding music to missions is also down to personal taste; same say that music is best left to the cutscenes. I personally think music can do well in missions so long as it doesn't interfere with gameplay. It should act as a supplement. I'm not suggesting having Hans Zimmer blaring out of my headphones but just something suspenseful to enhance the stealth aspect. However, if you prefer to keep music out of the missions then I totally get it; it's down to opinion.


Anyway, that's all I can do for now. I'll resume my testing tomorrow. So far though it's very good. Great atmosphere and it's certainly making me want to play more of it. I haven't played many campaigns to be honest but this is one of the best. I hope this feedback is useful to you  :good:


« Last Edit: 30 Jun 2018, 19:53:54 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

Offline Undeceived

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #4 on: 30 Jun 2018, 20:36:26 »
Perfect, thanks a lot, Gruntage! Very useful!

That script error "SentCovering" is something you'll encounter more often - it's a (known) bug in CUP. They will fix it eventually... Other than that there are some scripts errors coming out of another external script (they'll appear when you die).

Your suggestions to improve the atmosphere are great (weather in mission 1, music in 2) - I'll definitely look into that.

The patrols in Awakening are random, so I think you had some luck in avoiding them. And yeah, once they spot you, it gets uncomfortable.

On these spelling mistakes: YES, please give me more suggestions and corrections! No native speaker, so there's much room for improvement in this matter...... :dry:
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)

Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #5 on: 01 Jul 2018, 10:11:34 »
Quote
That script error "SentCovering" is something you'll encounter more often - it's a (known) bug in CUP. They will fix it eventually... Other than that there are some scripts errors coming out of another external script (they'll appear when you die).

Fair enough; thought I'd missed an addon or something.

Quote
The patrols in Awakening are random, so I think you had some luck in avoiding them. And yeah, once they spot you, it gets uncomfortable.

That makes sense. Perhaps on future playthroughs I'll have a different experience.

Anyway, it's time to resume testing. So moving on to....

Starting to Inflame Again

Good briefing with enough info for the task ahead. The music is exactly what I had in mind for the previous mission (although maybe use a different track for the mission before). Think this one was used in the Arma Rahmadi campaign intro; always liked the music there.

So, onto the gameplay. Unfortunately I didn't get to complete the mission. Sadly it seems that the radio savegame feature is a bit of double-edged sword..it doesn't allow you to pick an earlier save game whereas the in-game save does. This resulted in essentially ending up in a position I couldn't advance or retreat from without being gunned down. Doesn't help that the enemies have the accuracy of hawks. Even when I was in the long grass they had no trouble one-shotting me.

At least when you have a selection of earlier save games to choose from it's a bit more forgiving if a strategy doesn't quite work out. As it is at the moment you have to commit to a strategy and if it fails (which it did for me), I have to start the mission from the start. Bit frustrating as it wasn't exactly a cakewalk escaping the city. It's probably not so bad if you know the mission and you know the right strategy to follow but if it's your first time and it's trial and error and you can't rectify a mistake then the fun element drains away pretty quick.

It just seems like the radio savegame feature is a bit redundant given you have in-game saving anyway. I thought that on the previous mission.

I'll have another go at the mission later but this time I'll use the in game save rather than the radio. Aside from the occasional 'sent.covering' error message the mission seems to work fine...though I haven't seen all of it.

I probably would prefer it if the boat ride was skipped to be honest. Perhaps if you were to have the dialogue in a cutscene and then skip the rest of the journey?

 I don't mind long missions but having to start the mission again and go through everything again doesn't really excite me.

I hope I don't come across as overly critical. I can be quite blunt at times. It's a good concept. Hope you find this useful.

 
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2018, 11:06:28 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

Offline Undeceived

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #6 on: 01 Jul 2018, 12:08:54 »
Don't worry, I'm used to harsher criticism (which is good too as long it's not destructive). :D

The savegame issue is a good point and you have put it into words perfectly. In this (and some of the next) mission(s) you have to go with one strategy but it could fail and you'd have to restart, which indeed is frustrating. Or even more frustrating is when the AI or perhaps a bug messes it up. :D
I finally have to find out how to make the saveGame command save into the user-made save slots. Right now - as you say - it overwrites the previous slot which is the problem...

Thanks for bringing this problem up - I always noticed this but never was able to realize it. :good:

The trip to the light tower is skipped after a dialogue. It's not a cutscene but it skips a very long drive in the rather slow lifeboat. :)

And please keep in mind to note down odd / wrong expressions so I can improve them. Thanks!
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)

Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #7 on: 01 Jul 2018, 13:13:07 »
So I came back to the mission for another try and I was able to start the mission from the when the boat drops me off. I was fully expecting to have to start the mission from scratch so this was a welcome surprise. Gave me an opportunity to rethink my strategy. I pretty much concluded that going to the overlook was just asking for trouble, so I decided to approach the site from the trees to the east.

One thing I did in order to make things more manageable was to put my terrain detail all the way to low so that the long grass doesn't obstruct my view too much. Unfortunately the AI can see through the grass whereas I can't so it does make for a rather unbalanced playing field. This is just how the game is and isn't your fault.

So I made more progress this time around and I was able to secure the site of enemies. However, when the two hostages joined me they were unable to leave the building via either entrance and were subsequently gunned down by the APC. Despite my best efforts of trying to move them out of the shed, they just didn't want to move. This unfortunately is a showstopper. I thought that by trying to get them to board a vehicle it would work but it seems all the vehicles nearby are locked. Perhaps teleporting them outside would work?

Hope this helps
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

Offline Undeceived

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #8 on: 01 Jul 2018, 13:31:16 »
Hmm... They should leave through the back door (the one they're close to). At least this is what my experience always was.

But ok, I'll setpos them outside and put some objects around the exit so they're a bit covered until the player commands them elsewhere.

Thanks!

I'll see if I can fix and upload this later today. In that case I think you will be able to continue from the start of this mission, a complete restart of the campaign won't be needed.
I'd recommend you not to skip the mission via cheat though, because at the end your gear will be saved for the next mission.

I'll also check out if I can tune down the AI's skill a bit more. Maybe there are units in these missions where I forgot to do it. The AI seeing through the grass really is a PITA.

Btw. this mission is actually two missions. After the Chernogorsk part the other one starts.




EDIT:

Updated the third mission (prisoner rescue) some minutes ago. Please re-download from the first post (didn't change the version number as to small fix).

Now the guys are setpossed to the back door and should move out of the compound without problems.

You should be able to rewind to this mission without problems.



EDIT 2:

Btw. could someone with admin powers give me the permission to double post? That would make things easier to see updates in the threads. Thanks. :)
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2018, 20:45:45 by Undeceived »
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)

Offline h-

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #9 on: 02 Jul 2018, 17:17:41 »
I'm the most powerful thing here and I can't  :D
The double-post stopper settings only allow for setting up the delay between posts, in days. Currently set to 1 day.

I guess I could disable it, it's not like we have massive traffic  ::)
Will turn it on after the first spam bot that posts 800 consecutive posts in a thread...  :P

EDIT:
Hmm, I should probably test this campaign too...
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Offline Undeceived

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #10 on: 02 Jul 2018, 18:56:48 »
Ok, thanks!

Quote
Hmm, I should probably test this campaign too...
Maybe you should. :D If you're up for another bunch of nasty bugs (probably), you're most welcome! :P
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)

Offline Undeceived

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #11 on: 02 Jul 2018, 18:57:21 »
Testing double posting.

Edit: Yay, works! Thanks again. :good:
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)

Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #12 on: 02 Jul 2018, 20:52:55 »
Hello again, it's time for more testing  :D

So I had another go at 'Inflame' and I'm happy to say I finished the mission. Though it did take a few attempts due to the AI being....AI. I have to admit I didn't realise that the mission was split in two. I thought that when I had to restart I'd have to do part I again.

The teleport change was definately noticeable and it did seem to solve the problem. However, it does need some refining. I think you need to do a 'savegame' after the 'black in' has finished. I had to reload several times from that point and I got the 'black in' again everytime.

There were a few other challenges I was presented with. The first was having to find a medkit to heal one of the hostages. On the first attempt he was just limping and he didn't get out of the village alive. On the second attempt the fence around the back door seemed to interfere with their pathfinding as they were once again stationary.

In the end I didn't bother giving them weapons as I didn't have time before the UAZ and APC arrived. It seemed like a case of just 'gtfo or die'  :D I have to admit I'm somewhat wary of missions that rely so much on the AI in order to work properly. Sometimes you end up screaming at them to move.

If it were me, maybe I'd allow a bit more time between having secured the hostages and reinforcements arriving. What I think would be cool would if the hostages never joined your group but rather went to the hiding spot themselves while you and your guy would lay a trap for the Russian reinforcements. Like a way of getting back at them.

Just an idea. The mission is alright as it is, just a little rough around the edges.

So moving onto...

Setting Up Time

Really like the intro cutscene and it reminds me so much of the resistance camp in OFP  :D Plenty of nostalgia right here.

My only criticism here is during Tomas's exposition when he says what's weighing on his mind and he says 'my family is dead'. I think the audience get the message now. I don't think you need to repeat it. We get what he's going through. I understand the need to stress that point but stress it too much and we stop taking notice and we stop caring. The key to a good story is make the audience care. But you know that already I'm sure. Don't try too hard is what I'm saying.

I don't really know how to say any of that without sounding rude so I hope you don't take offense to that.

But anyway, onto the mission itself...

So I decided to play a bit of the mission first and then post here. I haven't finished the mission yet but it's shaping up to be a really fun experience. There are a few things though that are testing my suspension of disbelief however. The first is that there seems to be no consequence to running soldiers over with my quad bike. I took out what I think was an entire squad, loaded up their weapons and took them back to the base. I also took out an APC with rpg which was satisfying, all the while standing in front of it and not being shot  :D

I don't know what system you could put in place so that the player can't just run over soldiers with no consequence. Maybe a killed eventhandler that makes the player an enemy? Are the soldiers gonna be killed by someone other than the player? If not, then perhaps that's a solution. It just seems too easy and dare I say it, too fun. Sounds weird when you talk about a game like that.

Anyway, I'll get back to that mission either later or tomorrow. It looks really good though  :)

Hope you find this useful
« Last Edit: 02 Jul 2018, 21:28:14 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

Offline Undeceived

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #13 on: 03 Jul 2018, 08:42:45 »
Quote
However, it does need some refining. I think you need to do a 'savegame' after the 'black in' has finished. I had to reload several times from that point and I got the 'black in' again everytime.
Did you save right before talking to the prisoners?
I'd prefer not to save right after the black in. It happened once that a Russian stood at the fence some seconds after. I put the fence there to protect the guys a bit but this is no guarantee, which means that the automatic save could cause serious trouble.

They both always limp and the player needs to treat them. I'm aware that this costs more time and thus, as you suggested, I'll delay the reinforcements a bit, even though the mission indeed is supposed to be one of the
Quote
gtfo or die
kind. :D

Thanks for letting me know about the fence. I'll try to improve that a bit.

I'll leave them in the group because this way, if the player is fast enough, he can give them weapons which are collected at the end. This doesn't work every time, even I sometimes just go GTFO of there. :D


Quote
My only criticism here is during Tomas's exposition
Good point here, thanks!

That problem with killing soldiers without consequences is something I finally have to fix. :) And you're idea with the EH is great. Yeah, they can be killed by patrolling APCs or cars but through the EH I'll try to identify the killer. Thanks for the hint! :good:

What SHOULD happen though is that the player gets engaged immediately when he is seen with a gun. Did you say that you stood before an APC with an AT weapon and they didn't react?

Thanks a lot again, Gruntage! Great work!

And you'd only be rude if you said something like "This is total garbage and crap and you can do whatever you want - this won't change!"  :D So don't be worried about how you write - just let your thoughts flow.
« Last Edit: 03 Jul 2018, 08:44:37 by Undeceived »
Current project: Black Lands (Arma 3)

Offline Gruntage

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Re: [SP/CAMP] Black Lands (Arma 3)
« Reply #14 on: 03 Jul 2018, 19:30:36 »
Quote
Did you save right before talking to the prisoners?
I'd prefer not to save right after the black in. It happened once that a Russian stood at the fence some seconds after. I put the fence there to protect the guys a bit but this is no guarantee, which means that the automatic save could cause serious trouble.

Now that I think about it I did, which may explain why it looked and felt weird. I saved a LOT in that mission and the reason why I saved before I secured the prisoners was because I kept getting shot in the head whenever I leaned around the doorway to shoot the two guys in there. I don't think I've ever had to concentrate on not dying as much as I did in that mission  :D

Having just a little bit more breathing space when they're secured would be great. I'm not particularly good at micro-managing, and so doing stuff like patching the guys up and arming them within a short time is difficult; for me at least. Others may test this mission and have a completely different experience. They may find what I found difficult a complete non-issue. Helps to have other perspectives I guess.

Regarding 'Setting Up Time', I'm not 100% sure whether a killed eventhandler would work. Is it the player or the vehicle that kills a guy? I've never tested it myself so I wonder what would the EH return if you run someone over with a vehicle  :scratch: Is a vehicle considered a means of killing someone or is it the guy operating the vehicle? Something to think about for sure. I wonder if h- knows  :hmmm:

Quote
What SHOULD happen though is that the player gets engaged immediately when he is seen with a gun. Did you say that you stood before an APC with an AT weapon and they didn't react?

That is correct yes. I'd just wiped out a squad with my quad bike in a village to the north. I noticed a BTR (?) parked near the squad. Though you do say in the briefing that if I equip a weapon I'll be shot at, I'm sure you understand that I can't just take your word for it  :D I have to test it  :P

So I grabbed an RPG from a guy in the open and in clear sight of the BTR and shot at it. I saved just before I did all this so I don't end up dying needlessly. In fact the first time I completely missed but I waited a few seconds before reloading to see what the BTR did. It did nothing. When I reloaded I shot and hit the BTR but still it did nothing. So I grabbed another RPG and destroyed it.

I'm sure there is a system in place but for whatever reason it wasn't working when I played it. There was also something very strange that happened shortly before my engagement with the squad. Upon my approach to the village I got told to stop by an officer. So I did and I went along with what he said. I said my name was Czerny and then the officer called his squad over and said 'thats the guy!'. I was expecting to get shot and then have to reload. But nothing happened. I got back on the quad bike and drove off.

Seemed like something was supposed to happen there but didn't.

Anyway, I'll hold off on testing for now until a new version is put up. I was having fun with it but if it's not working as it should then it's best to play it when it is. Hope this is useful to you anyway.

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