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IndeedPete

[SP Campaign] M.E.R.C.S. - mercenary expendable ruthless covert selfish

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Glad to hear, I'm working as fast as I can! Yes, Arma 3 lacked some user-made SP content. But there are a some very interesting projects in the MANW contest!

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Two new shots of the recently finished 7th contract mission "Riot Control":

m02b_load_sourceeoftq.jpg m02b_overview_source2kdd0.jpg

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Hi, 1st off great immersion and nifty design -I really like your cinema style of conversation :)

Only got to the first mission ie Rescue the girl and

my only complaint is the invincible comrade who joins you for the mission. I know it's a pet peeve of mine but after we killed the 2 guards outside and I was searching the house, I got the warning that there was incoming. Tension flared up as a bullet smacked thru the window right next to me and I ran outside, braced for cover to help my compadre. Only then did I notice bullets weren't hurting him and actually an enemy got right up in his face and opened up without hurting him an iota while he reloaded and proceeded to blast the guy. Immersion gets hurt here as well as tactical concern as theres really no point for me to fight it out as my bud can be the bullet sponge while i sit in cover.

Hope i didn't offend you as this looks to be a first class experience but perhaps you could alter that?

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Glad that you liked it so far! No offensive was done. :)

Invincibility for important NPCs is a bad design decision - but a necessary one. Arma's AI is ranging from "Damn, these smart fuckers circled me again!" down to "Really? I'm like two metres away from you and you can't hit me?" And I have the feeling no matter what skill you define, they sometimes simply behave stupid.

So, if the buddy was mortal I'd have two options to deal with his death. I could accept the death and make him disappear in following missions. But he's a major NPC, provides hints and covering fire and some missions are simply not possible to accomplish alone. Second option would be to fail the mission. And I tell you, that would be insanely frustrating. Playing the babysitter in games is usually very tough and very unfair - and that's for "normal" games. With Arma's unpredictable AI it would be ten times harder. Most of the time I'm already busy by trying to stay alive. Watching out for another AI is impossible for me and would cause a lot of stress. I've made one exception though where you have to protect a VIP. But that's all in certain borders and he can take more than a regular civie.

To sum it up, I took the not-so-nice-way because I saw no other option to keep it fair and fun to play. I hope that's not too much of an immersion breaker for you!

Keep on playing! ;)

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What if the comrade were to enter the role as Over-watch in missions.

Not sure how this could be done, but as player gets close to mission sector, the comrade could disembark ( if approached by vehicle ) or simply Un-join the player and walk/run towards a trigger area that keeps him safe, but somewhat still part of the action.

Player does have the opportunity to purchase help, so comrade is not necessary to join in close up fire fights.

Instead, can keep to the rear of the action and be there in case of enemy flanking or covering the player "six".

Just an idea. Don't know how you can pull it though.

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Hm, that would be possible in some cases but I don't see much sense in it. He's part of your team. The idea was to have him as your partner in the field. You can do all missions just with him. However, based on how you play it might be necessary in future missions to have more manpower. Maybe some kind of wounding / revive system could be possbile. But I also find that stuff highly unlikely. I'd rather pretend that he doesn't get shot.^^

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I agree that it's slightly lame and exploitable to make your buddy invincible. I think a balanced way would be to make him bulletproof sometimes and make him vulnerable at other times and let the player unclear about it. Also having the outcome and consequences of a mission unclear would make the campaing much more interesting and dynamic. An example could be that at missions where your buddy is vulnerable the consequences of him getting shot would be that you had to face the next missions alone until he recovers. Some missions might even get impossible to solve but hey, there's always the option to revert now. Think of further ways to make him believable: The vest stopped the bullet so he's getting up once you cleared the enemies, he's running away/taking cover, he's on overwatch, he's conced from a nade, his weapon jammed right in the heat of the action etc. And let him die now and then. Make the player feel the loss!

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Random invicibility? I agree to surprises during the course of the campaign but I want to make sure the player can rely on some rules regarding the gameplay. Having the buddy recover for one mission after he got hit is as unlikely as reviving (or the Arma wounding system in general.) Vest stopping bullet and knocking him out might be more realistic. It reminds me of Mass Effect, where your buddies can go down during a fight but get up once it's over. However, as from what I understand there's no safe way to determine whether a fight ended. It's a miracle to me how BIS triggers cutscenes etc. exactly once the (AI) leader said "clear". I've looked up some threads in the past, most common answer was using behaviour. But the problem with player controlled groups is that you can specifically control the bahaviour of your group with the comm menu (^-7-2 for "COMBAT"etc.) So the player could order a permanent state of combat. That would make it hard to determine when the buddy should get up after he took some. A light weight revive system forcing player interaction ("Come on, get up!") might be possible though.

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I didn't mean to randomize it. Obviously it needs to be scripted to allow a flow of the campaign.

As an example (for one mission, don't repeat it all over) drop the buddy once he gets damaged and have him recover from the vest-knockout once OPFOR NOT PRESENT. Don't overcomplicate it.

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Might be an option.^^ But I already have a similar plan regarding the buddy and his physical state in the later part of the campaign. ;)

A well scripted vest hit on the way would be cool though!

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If I can make one suggestion, I would increase the cost of the body armour a bit. (Talking about the plate carrier series) After only a couple of missions I easily had enough money for some, I'd assume the high tech body armour should be more of a luxury item.

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That's totally an option, thanks for the suggestion! Prices as well as rewards are still Alpha (like the rest of the palyable campaign). Once I've finished the raw missions I will go over the shop prices and stuff again to find better balanced prices.

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Good evening ladies and gentlemen!

Please allow me to present the new corporate design logo:

mercs_banner_512_256kp5kcx.jpg

All my appreciation and thanks go out to the fellow Armaholic called Surfer whose help and advise was insanely useful on this one as I am a total fail when it comes to image editing. Thank you, dankeschön!

---------- Post added at 11:33 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:55 PM ----------

Also happy to tell you that M.E.R.C.S. entered the social media world! Feel free to follow me on facebook or like my page on twitter. Or was it the other way round? :)

Edited by IndeedPete

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IndeedPete Sir,

I must say that I am enjoying every aspect of this campaign!

So far, my only sugestion is to make the TacPad on the support menu (IE 0-8-1) instead the action menu!

As is now the TacPad pops on screen all the time!!

Thanks for this great Campaign!

And good luck on the MANW contest...you have my support and vote!

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Good day to you, Sir!

I appreciate your interest and thank you for voting on the contest! Yes, I've noticed that the (prototyped) TacPad action shows up all the time and that's quite annoying. I will play around with the addAction parameters or do it as you say with the comm menu. Thinking about this it could fit nicely with the new view enhancements I've prototyped yesterday...

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hey IndeedPete,

extrem gelungene Atmosphäre!

I will go through your campaign again starting today and intend on giving you the most detailed feedback.

I already have one suggestion at hand: I would much enjoy if you would implement an option to sell looted stuff. This would only work if you raised the prices on an overall factor of 5-10 times as to not compromise the experience (most gear is rediculously cheap btw; an NVG of the ingame quality costs between 5k-7k euros IRL as of now, and I don't see the PMC shop to give a special discount, more like the opposite ;)). I am afraid it also would demand a very strict limitation of loot and the most rigorous erasing of vehicle stashes content.

I hope you find this idea as interesting as I do :D

Be prepared for a probably lengthy PM

in the mission "Very Important Pickup" the Tigris' stash on on the left side of the Airfield contains some very good and potentially exploitable Items like a Katiba, RPG42, Titan rockets,...

EDIT:

The mission in which you man an AAF outpost with your buddy does not work for me. I do not know whether you randomized the order or type of the approaching vehicles, but for me the third one (Red boxer transporter, black box) does not drive through the gate but instead stops just underneath the lifted pike and vanishes after a few seconds standing there. This results in a not-firing trigger so I am unable to progress. Any advise?

Edited by ProDomo

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Hi there,

freut mich, dass es dir gefällt!

I have no idea of weapon/equipment prices whatsoever. Only thing I read somewhere that the MG3 (or was it MG42?) costs the Bundeswehr around 10000€. Might be an old or false value, feel free to correct my little knowledge. I've made some basic prices that are increasing with caliber, hence the 6.5mm stuff costs more than the 5.56 etc. Again, I have no idea what I'm doing. But it's more a balancing issue. Selling stuff is planned, however I need to find a way to determine prices dynamically or I have to mirror the whole CfgWeapons and define selling prices. (I'm too lazy to do that at the moment.)

Ah, that stuff is created by a composition script I "stole" from the BIS Campaign and modified it to fit my purposes. Thanks, I'll sort that out. In my opinion, locking a vehicle should also prohibit the player to take stuff from it.

Yes, I've encountered this bug in the recent version too, sorry for this one. Restarting/reloading (old saves) works in some cases. Quick answer to not break the mission flow: Shoot the civie, another event will then be triggered and the mission goes on. Second way: Hit ESC and use the dev console. Type ["Hub01", true, true] call IP_fnc_endMission; This will get you back to the hub with mission completed. That's why I've left the debug console in the Alpha - to give you a possibility to bypass such errors. I'm looking for a solution, I might have to change the trigger system to something more reliable.

Keep on playing! ;)

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Just finished the raw version of the 8th contract mission "Panzerfaust"! Below are two new development snapshots introducing a new character - the grumpy looking bald guy on the left. Unfortunately, he's working for a rivalling merc band. Would you try to get in his way even if that means to compromise the joint operation to re-take the AAF tank depot captured by FIA "terrorists"?

m02c_load_source8quvn.jpg m02c_overview_sourcez2unc.jpg

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Another development update! *yay*

I want to show you on what (hopefully considered magic by historians in future times) I'm working on these days. With the coming update several fixes as well as (likely) some new Alpha content will be released.

Among the additions will be an enhanced HUD option. Inspired by playing Doln's Showcase (it's good, you should try it) and Google Glass I've decided to make up my own enhancement system using the Tactical Glasses / Tactical Shades available in the hub shop. If you're wearing the glasses you can activate the enhancements via TacPad (finally found some buttons to fill the empty space). Following a short boot process you'll be able to de/activate the three optional software packages "Core", "Status" and "Details".

"Core" involves unit / object tracking, "Status" gives feedback about the player's coordinates, heading, pulse, breathing and overall condition. Finally "Details" will gather additional information like name, faction, health, armament etc. about an object once you hover over it with the cursor. It's all just quickly prototyped and bears a lot of potential in my opinion. I have to do some more research about performance impact and additional functions like nightvision, thermal imaging, zoom, beauty and more. But the current state should already offer some vast advantages on the battlefield as well as new mission possibilities. Check out some screenshots I've made (because my current machine sucks too hard to make videos):

2014-05-19_00001myknj.jpg 2014-05-19_00002x6jsz.jpg 2014-05-19_00012jxjy0.jpg 2014-05-19_000144jjtw.jpg 2014-05-19_00019wjjs6.jpg 2014-05-19_00020hgkz3.jpg

Edited by IndeedPete

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Ah, someone else had the same idea! TPW Hud looks definitely cool but I will stick to my own development and keep working. However, I can still learn one or two things from TPW's hud function. And if somebody already uses the TPW addon version he can ignore mine, it's completely optional.

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Ah, mate - post MANW I'd love to work with you - on a HUD or something similar. It's looking great! Shame there's no way you can put a video together?

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Would love to see some of us contestants working together after MANW. Imagine what awesome stuff we could pull off with our different talents and skills! Either we'll create a masterpiece or end up fighting over every detail.^^

I can't do vids I'm afraid. Maybe with my rig at home, but right now I'm in my "study town" where I just have my laptop. And I'm happy that Arma 3 is running on medium with barely enough FPS for editing. But you can try it yourself soon. I plan on releasing another update later today or tomorrow including the first prototype of the glass system. There's still some polishing and testing to do and I don't know how much time it will take.

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New update! *yay*

I've sorted out some minor and bigger errors, changed some stuff here and there and added some new content. Players who played v0.51 (the first update) should be able to continue their campaign from the last hub mission. However, players from v0.5 have to restart the whole campaign due to major technical changes in v0.51 - sorry guys! Three new contracts are available, one of them already slipped through in the last update - this was not intended!

But the biggest feature should be the "Glass" - a framework for utilising the Tactical Glasses and Tactical Shades. If you wear one of them you're able to activate a three-packages-based HUD enhancement system via TacPad (Radio-0-8-1) during a mission. A word of warning: This system is as Alpha as the rest and has some flaws as well as significant performance impact when dealing with large amounts of objects. Disabling some features might increase performance in certain situations. As said before the "Core" package will mark and track objects and units in your HUD and if activated, you can switch to NV/low light-mode by hitting "n". (Only works if you have no NVGoggles equipped.) "Status" shows some basic info about position, direction and health of the player and "Details" calculates some stuff regarding the current cursor target.

Changelog

0.52 Alpha - 21.05.2014

  • FIXED: Spawning team did not work.
  • FIXED: Description.ext error on campaigs loading.
  • FIXED: Some typos / spelling mistakes.
  • CHANGED: Set the conv system simple sentence box a bit higher. Hopefully this fixes the problem users with certain resolutions had.
  • CHANGED: New logo!
  • CHANGED: Helo pilot's sentences are now labeled with his name instead of "driver".
  • CHANGED: TacPad is now accessible via comm menu instead of action.
  • CHANGED: Raised some shop prices.
  • CHANGED: Home Sweet Home, decreased chance of getting the 4-five .45 on first visit.
  • CHANGED: Ransom Demand, more detailed helo guidance.
  • CHANGED: Ransom Demand, maximum distance between enemy car and player raised.
  • CHANGED: Very Important Pickup, cleared weapon and magazine cargo of AAF vehicles.
  • CHANGED: Very Important Pickup, some cars have lights on at night.
  • ADDED: Three new contract missions! Players who played v0.51 should be able to continue from the last hub mission.
  • ADDED: "Glass" - Optional advanced HUD system for the Tactical Glasses and Tactical Shades.
  • ADDED: Brave New World, choice added.

Known Issues

  • The use of DevBranch or mods may impact playability, especially AI driving skills are fundamental to make some missions work. I recommend to run this campaign in stable branch! (Tested with Arma 3 v1.18)
  • Developer console is enabled. In case you encounter a game breaker you can always execute ["Hub01", true, true] call IP_fnc_endMission; In a contract mission this is causing you to be transported back to the hub, with the problematic mission accomplished.
  • This campaign has not been uploaded to the steam workshop as there is no option to add campaigns yet.
  • This project uses TPW civilians. Players using the addon version will face problems. Officially, this campaign does not support any mods.
  • Home Sweet Home: The ambient shooter at the range sometimes shoots the bystanders. This is caused by a messed up aiming AI which constantly drifts away from the assigned target.
  • Home Sweet Home: The gambler mentions BlackJack as possible gamble but it is not implemented yet.
  • Ransom Demand: The fleeing car might be crashing against something or the passengers disembark randomly and walk instead. I'm researching ways to rebuild this mission.
  • Checkpoint Charlie: The incoming cars sometimes crash into or stuck at the bar gate. If they can't continue they get deleted sometimes which breaks the mission flow.
  • Very Important Pickup: Performance might suffer under many ambient AI units.
  • Riot Control: Performance might suffer under many ambient AI units.
  • Panzerfaust: There's always one AI from the player's group stucking at the briefing desk. Sometimes he follows after a few regroup commands. In case he doesn't step away from the table and type into the debug console: {_x setPos (getPos player)} forEach (units group player);
  • Panzerfaust: Other parts of the battle group go funny ways.
  • Glass System: Pulse and breathing values are unrealistic. Haven't found a good approximation yet.
  • Glass System: Usage in an environment with lots of objects might affect performance. I recommend turning down the core functions first.
  • Glass System: Task marker seems to "slide" up. It didn't do that in my test mission.

Credits & Thanks

  • Bohemia Interactive Studios for this great game!
  • aeroson for his get/set loadout and repetitive clean up scripts!
  • Genesis92x for his VCom AI!
  • mrflay for his explosion detector!
  • SHK for his SHKPos script!
  • Surfer for his help regarding the awesome M.E.R.C.S. logo!
  • tpw for his ambient civilian script package!
  • And all the great people on the BI-Forums who helped out with answers and feedback to so many questions!

Download

Dropbox v0.52 ALPHA

Don't forget to: Vote & Support

Have fun with the new update and I'm hoping for some criticism! ;)

Edited by IndeedPete

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Nice update, IndeedPete, and just as a headsup - the chat box is finally fixed, it was a great pleasure to restart the whole campaign and be able to read all those conversations ;)

About the HUD: TPW´s HUD doesn´t have obejct/face recognition as yours seem to have, so I guess you both can share ideas and complement each other´s work ;)

Hope Zeealex realeases her Women models soon so we can have rescue missions with live chicks to save (as a shinning armor knights... or may I say Mercs lol)

cheers!

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