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Mission Contest Discussion Thread...


ENO
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Eh guys.

 

Re: Mission Builder Contest Thread.

 

Not sure if guys want to talk about missions or ideas or not- thought a discussion thread may be useful to talk out some ideas and maybe find ways to accomplish game play orientated tasks.

 

I suspect MIST / MOOSE are going to be getting a workout over the next few weeks!

 

 

FC you offered to help with MOOSE and I know I'm DEFINITELY going to take you up on that. Hope you got some time on your hands!


Edited by ENO

"ENO"

Type in anger and you will make the greatest post you will ever regret.

 

"Sweetest's" Military Aviation Art

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yeah - i would have been all over it but alas... no WWII allowed :(

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So recently, I've considered this a lot as I am doing a set of missions for the Viggen and I went as far as asking Wags what the criteria for DLC is. If I'm right, I believe the mission they are looking for is much more along the lines of what you see in DLC, ie using standard ME tools and triggers, single player, voice acted....pretty, polished, but not something you run on a server and not using rocket science to power it.

 

And here is my dilema. I just don't involve myself in Single Player or it's requirements unless i'm testing a mission that's for multiplayer! SP is about fantasy immersion, not dynamic play brought by other players, but controlled RNG. Remove the immersion and it's weak. Put a multiple cooperating players in your mission and you don't know what is going to happen, the excitement is real.

 

As soon as I found squadron organised multiplayer my eyes were opened and I could not go back. The problem with this is that it's only a minority who are playing regularly with friends and to a lot of the SP crowd, they think that the MP borwser is what we are talking about.

 

To answer your question, i think playability actually means...replayability as in RNG via ME triggers. I think its based on a single session, solo, without the use of anything fancy, with maximised artwork and briefing. And it just shows you how far we've come from SP, in that we didn't even understand the entire premise of the question to begin with.

 

I'm curious about whether "playability" means long term or just that initial game? Randomization is either a big factor or none at all.

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Playing SP content in general is just down to the individual user. Some people don't like going online, and there are many possible reasons for that. While the majority of my actual flight time in game is in MP, there are times where I have played through SP content for my own enjoyment. Usually its to learn or figure out an aircraft though. I'm sure other people have their own reasons for it. So while some of us don't necessarily play that way, there is still a logical reason why others may prefer it.

 

would be fun to get to Co-op campaigns someday, but I enjoy the single player ones.

 

Some of the stock campaigns translate pretty easily to co-op. The problem is with the heavily scripted and story driven ones that rely on triggers that only work in single player. At that point it doesn't make the most sense to try and convert it. Technically we could already have some co-op campaigns once the Huey or Mi-8 get multi-crew. Would love the ability to have a "natural" co-op campaign where in SP you get AI wingmen, but in MP the slots become clients. Not to mention a tie in with the logbook or campaign system rather than just loading up the mission manually. Way to tempted to wish other advances to campaigns so I digress.

The right man in the wrong place makes all the difference in the world.

Current Projects: Scripting Wiki, Something...

Useful Links: Mission Scripting Tools MIST-(GitHub) MIST-(Thread), SLMOD, IADScript, Mission Editing Wiki!, Mission Building Forum

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I'm still amazed that anyone plays this single player.

 

Amazingly, that is how most people play.

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Amazingly, that is how most people play.

 

Me too!

 

I like being able to chose when I play the game and the level of immersion I will get. If I only have 45 minutes to fly a mission before going to bed I really want to make sure that those 45 minutes are used well.

 

I'm not saying that you can't have great experiences in MP, actually my BEST flight sim experiences have been in MP. SP is more consistent though.

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Is there a functional difference between Skill = Player and Skill = Client?

 

Yes. All of the triggers that deal with cockpit arguments, stop and wait user input, setCargo mass, and maybe something else I am forgetting are all tied to whichever aircraft is set to "Player". Also there can be only one aircraft set to player.

The right man in the wrong place makes all the difference in the world.

Current Projects: Scripting Wiki, Something...

Useful Links: Mission Scripting Tools MIST-(GitHub) MIST-(Thread), SLMOD, IADScript, Mission Editing Wiki!, Mission Building Forum

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I asked about Witchcraft for 2.0 since it would be very useful in creating content in Nevada- no feedback so I'm assuming it's out of service for good? Anyone using any other solution other than move an object, fly / save, observe, quit move and repeat?

"ENO"

Type in anger and you will make the greatest post you will ever regret.

 

"Sweetest's" Military Aviation Art

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I asked about Witchcraft for 2.0 since it would be very useful in creating content in Nevada- no feedback so I'm assuming it's out of service for good? Anyone using any other solution other than move an object, fly / save, observe, quit move and repeat?

Did it break? I was using it in 1.5 without issue. There was an old method running a server and client somewhere buried in those FSF Ian threads.

 

Lot's of digression here but theres a good conversation to be had about the limits of designing for coop versus single player. Managing two players against one objective seems to me it could get hard and complex depending on the criteria you measure against, especially where "group" and "unit" became complex in MP with a few bugs. MP is often scored with the event system, but seldom much else, I don't really use the log book but I guess that doesn't come into play as a client rather than a player.

 

Objectives tend to be the MP aim on a team level, measurable things like destruction of one object counts as a team goal. Air to air might be easy to measure for specific targets but goals like preventing or denying attacks via CAP are impossible to measure (as it assumes you can record a humans decision not to attack), and the newer helicopter tasks are now being seen a little bit more in scoring by delivering SAM's to the field or measuring troops unloads, but can get pretty hard to measure also depending on what it was, and whether its a meta goal or small part of the process. I reflect on the efforts in Blue Flag to keep airspace clear for strikers, when doing the job you can have no air to air kills, but deny or offput the enemy an easy striker kill. Yet somehow everyone refers to the tables of PvP air to air kills as the ultimate score.

 

Again, scoring and valuing seperate individuals is not that worthwhile if the team got the objective done. A bit like "scoring" a lost battle or individual sacrifice down, the outcome of the entire thing is the most important part even if you lost battles on the way. This is one of the great advantages of MP - you can 'die' and still 'win'. In SP, that state doesn't exist well in my opinion, if you die, you don't win the mission and don't proceed to mission 2.

I find building SP or very single objective missions quite hard as a result.

 

The misison must be achievable, that's a criteria (it's not always acheivable in MP at differeing times/circumstances). So you are limited in the amount of RNG and randomisation or have to severely test it in case it provides too great a challenge. And for a single player we tend to have these Herculean one man shows - destroy 5 million troops, win the war single handedly and get home before lunchtime. Creating scenarios for smaller targets or even no targets requires a great story to immerse in to be able to carry this concept.

 

Then there is the art of illusion for SP. If you are to put someone in a believable conflict with many other units around him, there is a lot of work to be done. And the AI doesn't do the expected. In fact, play testing where you rely on AI is just downright time destroying and to be avoided in mission design unless you find ways to "cook the books". And for that comes my real bone of contention, the illusion gets dropped as soon as you know how the mission designer approached the problems. Every time I see another SP mission made I look at it with different eyes, ones that know how to acheive illusion and it's like the magic is destroyed....I mean, how can you really enjoy a magic show when you know how the magician chopped the lady in half? There's a reason its a secret!

 

Another issue with SP missions is that you expect the Player to fly the route or do what you told him to do. This is a massive limitation. MP, set the objective, let the player decide how he will approach it, its not about the route, hitting a trigger, performing an actionable input for a deliverable output, it's just objective based and gives a problem to solve, not a hoop to jump through. So much easier to design for, and as a Player, i prefer my own route and problem solving the issue, deciding on weapons, profile, ingress and egress. Route planning is a massive part of flying, yet we barely get much input to it, and with a single player heavy scripted type mission, it's provided and that's it, if you deviate you'll likely either fail (terrible outcome for fun) or break the mission. I don't even know how to approach that problem in SP, If I put a ToT in and the player failed and a script or event didn't trigger, what do I do but fail the mission there and then? It's not an argument about "Yeah well in real life you might get routes given to you", it's an argument about the consequences of not doing that breaking the immersion of the design of the mission.

 

I much prefer designing for MP as the players create the content and immersion themselves and AI can be the victim/fillers, but in terms of this and other competitions its just a lot harder to manufacture a believable world for the immersion and to me it never works effectively (any more).


Edited by Pikey
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Then there is the art of illusion for SP. If you are to put someone in a believable conflict with many other units around him, there is a lot of work to be done. And the AI doesn't do the expected. In fact, play testing where you rely on AI is just downright time destroying and to be avoided in mission design unless you find ways to "cook the books".

 

SOOOOO much this.

 

Definitely have to try and minimize dependence on AI- yet SP missions are entirely dependent on it.

"ENO"

Type in anger and you will make the greatest post you will ever regret.

 

"Sweetest's" Military Aviation Art

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SOOOOO much this.

 

Definitely have to try and minimize dependence on AI- yet SP missions are entirely dependent on it.

 

I have to say I disagree entirely. Success being based on AI behaviour rather than player action is IMO poor mission design, for precisely the reason you gave. For SP missions the outcome should always be dependant on the actions of the player, with the AI being used to provide believable opposition and "filler" in terms of friendly forces and if desired a "living world" to whatever degree is required for suspension of disbelief.

 

From my point of view both as a player and mission designer, I want these things from an SP mission:

 

1) The background to the scenario has to be believable.

 

2) I want a detailed briefing. Why am I assigned to this mission? What happened to cause command to give me this mission? What are my objectives? Etc.

 

3) My mission has to be realistically achievable. Making missions pointlessly hard purely for the sake of them being pointlessly hard (with the very narrow exception of very artificial "challenge" missions) just makes me delete and never play the mission in question. For example, if I'm being sent to bomb a power station, having the target guarded by entire squadrons of fighters, dozens of long range SAMS, several battleships and enough SHORAD for several entire armies isn't fun, it's pointless and boring.

 

4) A mission must be immersive. For me, this means it has a detailed briefing, achievable objectives and a believable background but other very important aspects are communications, voice overs and both friendly and enemy units that are suitable for that scenario.

 

5) I MUST be able to achieve the mission even if the AI goes totally potty, which we all know it does on occasion. Having missions depend critically on AI behaviour is bad design. By all means arrange things so that friendly AI supports the player, in the same way that principal enemy units should also be believably supported (if appropriate), but success or failure should never depend entirely on AI behaviour.

 

6) The best missions allow for player creativity. Yes it's realistic for (most) missions to have a set mission plan, but ideally missions should be able to cope with the player approaching a given mission objective in their own way. Of course, the fact that doing so can make a mission harder or easier is entirely the players' problem.

 

Having considered it further, I guess the last point is somewhat dependant on what sort of mission is being undertaken, e.g. a strike mission where the bombers need to very carefully co-ordinate with fighter sweep and SEAD elements will necessarily involve a tightly controlled TOT, but other missions e.g. a HVAA kill, not so much.

 

Anyway, just some random thoughts... :)

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I have to say I disagree entirely. Success being based on AI behaviour rather than player action is IMO poor mission design, for precisely the reason you gave.

 

Well then I'll place myself firmly in the category of "poor mission designer" since I have a hard time finding much to keep a player occupied that doesn't involve some creative application of AI and even more particularly in NTTR.

 

I understand the fact that additional content comes into play, and you can dress up a mission brief all you want but when the substance is crushed because AI takes a dump whenever it chooses to... and siphons all that immersion you've struggled so hard to achieve out of the mission...

 

Sorry, I maintain that AI is an integral part of SP mission development.


Edited by ENO

"ENO"

Type in anger and you will make the greatest post you will ever regret.

 

"Sweetest's" Military Aviation Art

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I said you depend on AI for immersion, not success. Perhaps it's not obvious. You depend on AI for that. Without it, you are in an empty world. Where you rely on AI is on doing something simple. Like flying from A to B without crashing into a mountain. Or flying with you providing...ermm help, if you are lucky. Or something to shoot at that won't kill you or behave unrealistically. All of these things you have to play test, mostly, whether it will stalk you and ruin your mission. if you don't have AI you can't write a SP mission that goes beyond a navex, it's as simple as that, but because it's got RNG elements it makes you have to run the mission through several times where you interact with it to ensure that it's going to behave consistently. There's nothing to disagree with here, it's part of DCS and it's a huge issue for testing unless you switch AI off, make it stupid and blow it up manually with a trigger.

 

Success of a mission that relies on AI is exactly what you have to avoid, the AI should win if you dont play, lose if you put in some effort and the tuning in between is where the difficulty challenge seperates the good mission from the badly designed.

 

As for your point - allowing for creativity, if a mission doesn't have any triggers then the player can do what they like without penalty. If you require the player to be somewhere to experience or start something interesting you want them to be part of, then your creativity just broke the mission design should they choose not to be there. So by allowing flexibility which we would all enjoy you need to cater for the creative whim of the user, which can include, shooting down his friends, going off the map on autopilot, going to the last phase accidently before the first, or literally anything beyond your imagination which leads to again, more work trying to test.

 

What i'm trying to say is that it's far easier to create an equilibrium with AI, that sits there and doesn't win or lose and is relatively unimaginative then let players tip the balance one way or the other and thus you have a truly dynamic and unpredicatable situation that is as cheap as chips. And by players I mean humans that are still somewhat working deliberately together to beat AI, or to beat each other (since they seem to like that contest and apply much more effort to it). You dont need voice overs. You dont need to roll a dice, it needs minimal playtesting on the small logic you put in. Nice to have a meaningful scenario, but again, players understand the objective and can immerse into it without a massive storyline.

 

Why am i saying this? Well the only thing I was trying to say from the offset was that the NTTR contest excluded multiplayer and this made it a lot harder to design something for, so I went to explain the effort that was required. I'm stil playtesting a SP mission that I argue with myself about the realism in (make siomething unusal and intersting in the worlds biggest aeiral combat training area that doesn't involve UFO's or training or some ridiculous Russian attack on Las Vegas), and so far i'm making slow progress before I even get a voice actor on something people will play once then discard because the cool surprise is over, whereas my previous attempt gives me hours of fun with or without friends to play in and doesn't rely on a tight script. It's just painful and excessive work for little gain.

 

 

I have to say I disagree entirely. Success being based on AI behaviour rather than player action is IMO poor mission design, for precisely the reason you gave. For SP missions the outcome should always be dependant on the actions of the player, with the AI being used to provide believable opposition and "filler" in terms of friendly forces and if desired a "living world" to whatever degree is required for suspension of disbelief.

 

From my point of view both as a player and mission designer, I want these things from an SP mission:

 

1) The background to the scenario has to be believable.

 

2) I want a detailed briefing. Why am I assigned to this mission? What happened to cause command to give me this mission? What are my objectives? Etc.

 

3) My mission has to be realistically achievable. Making missions pointlessly hard purely for the sake of them being pointlessly hard (with the very narrow exception of very artificial "challenge" missions) just makes me delete and never play the mission in question. For example, if I'm being sent to bomb a power station, having the target guarded by entire squadrons of fighters, dozens of long range SAMS, several battleships and enough SHORAD for several entire armies isn't fun, it's pointless and boring.

 

4) A mission must be immersive. For me, this means it has a detailed briefing, achievable objectives and a believable background but other very important aspects are communications, voice overs and both friendly and enemy units that are suitable for that scenario.

 

5) I MUST be able to achieve the mission even if the AI goes totally potty, which we all know it does on occasion. Having missions depend critically on AI behaviour is bad design. By all means arrange things so that friendly AI supports the player, in the same way that principal enemy units should also be believably supported (if appropriate), but success or failure should never depend entirely on AI behaviour.

 

6) The best missions allow for player creativity. Yes it's realistic for (most) missions to have a set mission plan, but ideally missions should be able to cope with the player approaching a given mission objective in their own way. Of course, the fact that doing so can make a mission harder or easier is entirely the players' problem.

 

Having considered it further, I guess the last point is somewhat dependant on what sort of mission is being undertaken, e.g. a strike mission where the bombers need to very carefully co-ordinate with fighter sweep and SEAD elements will necessarily involve a tightly controlled TOT, but other missions e.g. a HVAA kill, not so much.

 

Anyway, just some random thoughts... :)

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SIMPLE SCENERY SAVING * SIMPLE GROUP SAVING * SIMPLE STATIC SAVING *

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I don't want to be entirely negative about the contest- though I'm certainly less than enthusiastic about its parameters. It gives me some cause to try out a concept I've been trying to hash out and if I can get my head pulled out of my ass long enough tap into some of the capability of MOOSE to make some of the added versatility a bit easier to manage.

 

FC has put out some new videos that are nice and quick and outline various features really well so I'm getting there inch by inch.

"ENO"

Type in anger and you will make the greatest post you will ever regret.

 

"Sweetest's" Military Aviation Art

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Crikey no, don't take my personal whingeing as negativity, I've lived with a Scottish wife all these years and the moaning just seems to rub off on me. :)

 

I really wanted to embark in the competition and put some of my experiences to work for positive and it's the idea of so much work for so little replayability when I see a broader use case for mission design, and easier path to enjoyment. That the Single player market is larger and more catered for in DCS but harder to please, is a personal whinge as I was considering going into DLC.

 

I don't want to be entirely negative about the contest- though I'm certainly less than enthusiastic about its parameters. It gives me some cause to try out a concept I've been trying to hash out and if I can get my head pulled out of my ass long enough tap into some of the capability of MOOSE to make some of the added versatility a bit easier to manage.

 

FC has put out some new videos that are nice and quick and outline various features really well so I'm getting there inch by inch.

___________________________________________________________________________

SIMPLE SCENERY SAVING * SIMPLE GROUP SAVING * SIMPLE STATIC SAVING *

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