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What Makes a Good Arma Campaign?

Community Poll on Arma Campaign Essentials  

139 members have voted

  1. 1. What are the most important features of a good Arma campaign? Please try to make a limited selection.

    • Freedom - allowing players to do things in unexpected ways, or through optional tasks, etc.
    • Narrative - a compelling and interesting storyline which adds to immersion.
    • Music, Voice Acting - generally, the audio presentation of a campaign.
    • Well Scripted - a campaign that is correctly configured, without RPT spamming and error messages. Spelling mistakes.
    • No 'Rambo' Mechanics - the eschewal of a 'one man army' play style.
    • Authenticity - a strong emphasis on realism as a contributing factor to an immersive experience.
    • Civilian Interaction - a return to interaction with civilians, as in previous Arma titles.
    • Different Roles - a campaign that allows you to assume the different combat roles available (e.g., medic, pilot, marksman).
    • Consequences - in-game consequences for player actions, either in a single mission or throughout the course of several. Multiple endings.
    • Challenging - the feeling of a fair and balanced experience; challenging but not too difficult.
    • Consistency - the evolution of the player and characters in a persistent, evolving environment. E.g., weapon storing.
    • Mods - the interpolation of third-party mods.
    • Cutscenes, Cinematics, Custom UI - generally, the visual presentation of a campaign.
    • Localization - a campaign available with subtitles and text in your native language.
    • Linear - missions that unfold in a manner intended by the designer.
    • Non-Linear - missions that may unfold in a manner not explicitly intended by the designer.
    • Interesting Characters - figures that are well-rounded, fully explored, and generally carefully considered.
    • Variety - missions which are different in setting, approach and execution.
    • Non-Terminal Mission Failures - missions that can still be completed, despite failing certain tasks.
    • Cliches - campaigns that abstain from cliches and formulaic scenarios.
  2. 2. What is your favourite official campaign to date?

    • Arma: Cold War Assault - Resistance
    • Arma: Cold War Assault
    • Arma: Armed Assault
    • Arma: Queen's Gambit
    • Arma 2
    • Arma 2: Army of the Czech Republic
      0
    • Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead
    • Arma 2: British Armed Forces
    • Arma 2: Private Military Company
    • Arma 3: Bootcamp
    • Arma 3: East Wind
    • Arma 3: Apex Protocol
  3. 3. Do you consider yourself new to the Arma franchise?



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I can't remember ever not workarounding the 1-save thing. It was annoying as hell and not fun or thrilling at all for me.

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Yes, but in that case, you don't have the stress of failure.

 

Yes, you do. Unlike Apex Protocol's respawn, the ability to save doesn't lead to having fewer and fewer enemies left on each try. It's easier than the one-save-system but still not a cake walk.

 

In my opinion, this is somewhat of a meta-option that shouldn't really play too much of a role in mission design considerations. If the difficulty / tension of a mission depends on the save mechanic, the designer is doing something wrong. Having fewer or just one save point only stretch the gameplay and frustrate the player. Alien Isolation and its retarted save system is a good example. I still didn't get past some level in the beginning because I'm tired of doing the same shit over and over again just because the next save station is miles away. Yeah, it's fun and thrilling getting killed by the Alien in the same corridor for one or two times but then it becomes annoying and I just want to progress.

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you don't have the stress of failure.

 

 

In my case it always was rather frustration of failure and repetition from the beginning over and over, which drives me mad basically. Since I play for fun, and frustration/anger isn't funny to me, quickly learned to avoid games with such terrible design concept. I do understand, what supposed to generate such limitation, but at least in my case it simply doesn't work. Or it does work till the first death. Perhaps it could pass in some very, very short mission, where player don't mind starting from the beginning several or more times.

Besides that, one save only to me is one of the worst design decision ever, that simply makes me not play. For me optimal is free saving any time. Arma save system making saves gone after you finish a mission in the campaign (still don't know, why actually it is done that way) is bad enough (one of the reasons, I prefer rather big single scenarios (one-scenario pseudo-campaign is doable too) that chains of them put into Arma campaign). 

 

And, as for stress of failure, I have more than enough of that in the real life, every day. No need to seek that feeling in computer games. 

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And, as for stress of failure, I have more than enough of that in the real life, every day. No need to seek that feeling in computer games. 

 

 Funny I see it the exact opposite. I wanna feel the stakes of death in the virtual world but not in real life. I like games with perma death as respawn makes me yawn -with monotony. I do agree with the need for Autosave as that should be part of the dungeon master aka mission designers calibration of 'what it takes' to beat this puzzle. You give me unlimited saves and Ill beat any mission be it me against a 1000 via pixel sniping -period. And thats just beat.

 

 The exception to this would be the open world never ending dynamic mission ie WLA etc

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Funny I see it the exact opposite. I wanna feel the stakes of death in the virtual world but not in real life.

 

 

I didn't say, I want feel this "stress of failure" in the real life. I said, I have more than enough of it in the real life. There apparently are people, that don't mind repeat same thing from the beginning as long, as it takes to beat the challenge and it's completely fine & OK for them, or people that good, they don't need to, but I'm definitelly not one of them. Such thing kill all the fun for me, and as for me there's no a feeling thanks to that, that could compensate this. Constant repetition of the same isn't a fun for me. It's effective rage generator and thus - waste of time. 

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Seems like those of you advocating for few or no saves are quite good at the game. If that works for you and you enjoy that, awesome, but the shoe doesn't fit everyone...

 

Let me give the opposite perspective. As someone who absolutely sucks at playing Arma, not being able to have unlimited saves causes me to quit a mission instantaneously. I am simply unable to complete missions in one go due to my lack of skill. And yes, I know, here it comes, "well get gud bro" and "practice, go slow, don't suck." Unfortunately, there are those of us out there who will never be good at shooting games no matter how much we practice or whatever tactics we use. It was the difficulty of this game that ultimately led to me going from not even knowing how to open the editor to now making compete mission for the game; I needed to be able to make my own missions I could actually complete myself because the official campaign was too difficult for me.

 

Unlimited saves vs one or no saves changes nothing about the campaign from a difficulty perspective or enjoyment perspective. What it does do is heavily limit or eliminate the fun for some people. I don't find it fun replaying the same beginning sequence of the first mission of a campaign 100x because I can't save the game. I doubt I'm alone in that aspect. A good campaign should be fun, otherwise why bother to play it? If you personally don't want to have unlimited saves... then don't save the game while you're playing... but don't limit those of us with less talent from enjoying the campaign or mission because we aren't good enough to beat it in one sitting.

 

Time is the other issue. I've encountered several campaigns that for whatever reason the creator decides a mission should force you to traverse 5+ kilometers of enemy infested terrain to reach an objective. I simply don't have 2 or 3 hours straight to sit there and play the mission, so if I can't save, I can't finish it.

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 Unlimited saves vs one or no saves changes nothing about the campaign from a difficulty perspective or enjoyment perspective. What it does do is heavily limit or eliminate the fun for some people. I don't find it fun replaying the same beginning sequence of the first mission of a campaign 100x because I can't save the game. I doubt I'm alone in that aspect.

 

 

 Beg to differ, quite a few here fondly (and by fondly I mean it in the most nightmarish way) remember the challenge that was After Montignac in CWC with that 1 damned save. Before that I had never experienced a mission so 'against the player' and felt desperation in the most delicious way.  Being all alone, surrounded by enemies on all sides with only a few possible escape routes - damn it felt so real I still remember like it was yesterday. The SP mission Bomberman also had similar sense of urgency and needed timing to pull off a successsful mission. Probably restarted each of those 15+ times and always in between thought about where i went wrong and how to approach differently. The way I saw it, Bohemia crafted a few very well thought out missions and dared you to beat it with one save as well as the mission autosaves which became imperative and a huge sense of relief when I would achieve one. That just doesnt exist for me with unlimited saves. once you see the guy that beat you you just slightly adjust and pixel snipe and move on.

 

And no, i wasnt any damned good at it in CWC's time tho now I find the game pretty damn easy cause i understand the AI routines a little too well. And noone is saying to eliminate unlimited saves -it is and will remain an option -but im personally glad they didnt take yet another road to casual accessibility and make it standard.

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Once again I think you're painting the community as a whole (especially those who are non-vocal on the forums and not part of the "quite a few of us...") with your own ideal brush. The campaign you described I never played, but honestly it sounds like something that would have turned me off from future Arma games had I played it. I'd never have been able to beat it, and not everyone finds it enjoyable to grind on a mission forever until they miraculously do. I got stuck on several East Wind missions for months at a time, but after 300 hours I eventually got that campaign finished (and then BI went and combined it in an update so now it'll never show as complete on my game again...). Without those saves I'd have never finished it and likely would have shelved Arma 3 for good.

 

At the end of the day, it's a video game, and video games are meant to be entertainment. I don't find frustration entertaining. I don't mind a challenge, but when a challenge becomes frustration in a video game, something that has zero impact on my actual life, I choose to quit, not because I'm a "quitter" in the traditional sense, but because I want to enjoy my free time, not be frustrated by it. Why play a campaign or mission that's no longer fun when I can enjoy something else?

 

But again, just my opinion which is being projected into the vacuum of the internet which makes it essentially worthless. Everyone in this thread is leaps and bounds better than me at playing the game and making missions; I'm just the annoying voice from the corner of the room. I know my place.

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The campaign you described I never played, but honestly it sounds like something that would have turned me off from future Arma games had I played it. 

Cold War Crisis is a brilliant example of what the early Arma/OFP game was capable of. It wasn't impossible to beat. There were auto saves too. You only got one save of your choosing per mission. Which by the way you could alt tab and delete thus being able to save as much as you want.

 

If you have Arma Cold War Assault then fire it up and give it a blast. It looks dated since it was released mid 2001. Don't let that stop you the campaign is by far the best in the series. BIS nailed it for pacing and variety. You just have to look beyond the graphics. If you have hundreds of hours in Arma then the game play will be easy to pick up since it hasn't changed much at all. The controls are slightly different but you can change them. You'll get a good 10 hours out of it. Perhaps more. 

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But again, just my opinion which is being projected into the vacuum of the internet which makes it essentially worthless. Everyone in this thread is leaps and bounds better than me at playing the game and making missions; I'm just the annoying voice from the corner of the room. I know my place.

No worthless opinions here, mate! :D Actually, your thoughts and feelings are gold dust on this thread and you've already highlighted some important points. Remember, there's no right or wrong answers. Our adventures through the Arma franchise are all very different!

Cold War Crisis is a brilliant example of what the early Arma/OFP game was capable of. It wasn't impossible to beat. There were auto saves too. You only got one save of your choosing per mission. Which by the way you could alt tab and delete thus being able to save as much as you want.

Save games, auto saves, and their impact on a campaign are another excellent point. Despite our mixed feelings on them, I think they should certainly be something content creators should consider. This, I suppose, ties in with the broader ideas of 'challengeability' and balancing in general. Obviously, this is an unknown variable and will differ from player to player. Perhaps avoiding extremes, with either superfluous saves or none at all, is the best plan of action(?)

Thanks guys, for all your posts!

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BTW, where is this topic going?

What is the point of it?

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BTW, where is this topic going?

What is the point of it?

Good question, Wiki :D

Ideally, I was hoping it might provide a clearer idea of what it is that we, collectively, enjoy in an Arma campaign. As a result, this thread would help mission makers in their work; allowing them to focus on those areas which we deem most important. I suppose, in a wider context, it might also prove to be interesting reading for the developers too (though the findings here do not reflect the wider, casual Arma gaming community). Lastly, it helps us understand our own constructive criticism in terms of official and unofficial releases.

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Good question, Wiki :D

Ideally, I was hoping it might provide a clearer idea of what it is that we, collectively, enjoy in an Arma campaign. As a result, this thread would help mission makers in their work; allowing them to focus on those areas which we deem most important. I suppose, in a wider context, it might also prove to be interesting reading for the developers too (though the findings here do not reflect the wider, casual Arma gaming community). Lastly, it helps us understand our own constructive criticism in terms of official and unofficial releases.

 

Ok  :P 

I hope BIS and the usermade mission makers will use it to provide good content  ;) 

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BTW, there hasn't been any new campaign for a while.

I wonder what BIS is up to now ArmA 3 is fully released.

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BTW, there hasn't been any new campaign for a while.

I wonder what BIS is up to now ArmA 3 is fully released.

 

You mean not since Apex campaign was released 3 months ago and updated a few days ago?

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You mean not since Apex campaign was released 3 months ago and updated a few days ago?

I meant usermade campaign.

And yes, I wonder what BIS is up to - they said they still got some surprises ;)

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I am currently working on something, but the progress is slow right now, due to RL issues.

 

We need more quality campaigns in A3! :-)

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I am currently working on something, but the progress is slow right now, due to RL issues.

 

Great to hear, mate! :D Any aspects discussed in this thread you plan on focusing on? Good luck with the project!

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Great to hear, mate! :D Any aspects discussed in this thread you plan on focusing on? Good luck with the project!

 

Actually, there are many aspects discussed here I plan focusing on. This thread has helped me a lot!

 

But still, much work needs to be done until my campaign is complete.

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A lot of my votes count for the more storytelling aspects of a campaign. So stuff like characters (having guys other than Billy Badass from SEAL Team 60 whose sole character trait is... uh... uh...), the dialogue and interactions, the narrative aspect, etc. I like the campaigns to have a story unfold because at the end of the day, the cool missions can be tied into something bigger and that makes them even more cool. It's like watching a movie... you can have all the dope action scenes you want but the plot can be horrible and turn you off from it.

To side with that, I included cliches and immersion into the choice. Those are definitely things that can detract from the narrative if done wrong.

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I'll have to dig up this old thread, because it had lots of good thoughts in it and I wouldn't mind it continuing.

 

Here is a question from me now:

How are y'all mission makers dealing with scenario difficulty? To take my campaign as example, plenty folks are very positive about it, but every once in a while there's someone who has issues with the difficulty, calling it hard or impossible. But what to do about this? Usually the enemy skill is set around 20% to 25% already, so not much else to do here anymore, and if I keep removing enemy soldiers, or just force them a very low hit chance, it *will* affect the general mission difficulty, which then again might make it way too easy for anyone else again.

Then there are reports about AI sniping them dead (your usual "180° insta-headshot" talk), but if I go through and try to behave as stupid as possible, I just can't get the same experience.

 

So what's a solution for that? Is there a solution anyway? How come the experiences differ so highly? Could it be related to folks playing on different general difficulty settings (regular vs. veteran)? Would it be wise to force a difficulty setting, just like the bootcamp campaign did, as example? Is the ai affected by computer performance? E.g. what if I am running a very low system vs. a very high system?

 

tl;dr -- what difficulty makes a good campaign? How to roughly get everyone to have the same experience? (is that possible at all?) Should the creators care about this at all? (ArmA is hard, bro?)

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Since no one answered this recent question yet, I will contribute with my humble opinion. I won't comment from the perspective of a mission maker, since my own campaign is currently due to RL issues on hold, but from the perspective of a player. 

 

I think that the experience from playing a mission differs from player to player. Some players will take the tactical approach, literally sneaking through the whole mission carefully. It was even mentioned by BI when they were making the Apex campaign, more specifically, when people were asking how long each mission in the campaign last. Yes, you could be done with it in let's say 30 minutes, but then they had some military guy to play it, he took careful approach and was able to play it for about 90-120 minutes. Then, you have players who undertake each mission "Stalingrad style" storming the enemy with yelling "Uraaaaa!" frantically. Approach goes hand to hand with difficulty. 

 

Playing only SP missions, actually, I've never turned on MP in Arma, being the "more-careful-type-of-a-player", I was able to observe that even when my difficulty setting is still the same, there are "easier and harder" campaigns & missions. In my opinion, difficulty also depends on the type of units used. For example, in IndeedPete's M.E.R.C.S. campaign, there was this mission where you were attacking a compound in search of kidnapped girl. Enemies were "pirates", so mostly only armed peasants w/o any armor. Really easy to kill them, too. Then, if I remember correctly, in another mission, you were defending a power plant against paradropping CSAT SF. Those were armored, and "better trained" - meaning - with higher AI skill, thus, harder to kill. 

 

What I want to say is, that mission makers should not tailor the difficulty to "specific" players. They should create it as they want it to be, and let the players accomodate. 

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@lexx Well how I dealt with campaign difficulty is pretty much putting myself in the enemies shoes. How would they react?

 

Let's say your an FIA grunt assaulting a military installation, Obviously it would be pretty guarded with a bunch of infantry units on guard but at the same time guerillas never walk in alone and are always with others. So if two or three infantry squads are attacking the outpost the AAF would not deploy a tank and a Mora accompanied by a bunch of artillery added with close air support :P they would send in a QRR and a strider to reclaim the position.

 

There may be other players who simply doesn't care about the poor protagonist and go in guns blazing with AT and a LMG. Usually they would die.

 

Your campaign wasn't impossible at all! they may just be playing it the easy way (guns blazing) I remember sneaking in and hopping on a tank with no fuel and disabling that dreaded APC.

 

Obviously fighting CSAT and NATO would be considerably more difficult as they are a professional army and the AAF can be as weak as the next guy. FIA has little to no armour and are just some guerillas so they aren't as trained as they are supposed to be. So their skill level wouldn't be that high.

 

Essentially: 

 

FIA = Relatively easy to kill, Usually one shot.

 

AAF = In between, Sort of easy to kill taking a bit more shots.

 

NATO = Harder to kill (AAF begs to differ goddamn it task force aegis!) and are equipped with great weapons.

 

CSAT = Superior headgear and uniforms + carrier allows for them to be a formiddable force. Katiba is more accurate than MX and thus are harder to kill. 

 

So in short, The difficulty usually corresponds to the mission. A simple hit on a outpost wouldn't yield much attention. A hit on a airport would yield all the attention there are (make sure not to make it too hard, assaulting an airport should not be without a bunch of infantry squads and some mechanised off roads, ifrits and striders)

 

Those one shot AI happens sometimes... I think there is no way to combat this :(

 

Just something I thought I would share on how I do my campaigns! :D hope this helps you a bit!

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So what's a solution for that? Is there a solution anyway?


I suppose one feasible solution, albeit not a comprehensive one, is to use the 'difficulty' command to tailor in-game events to player settings - e.g.:

if ((difficulty == 1) OR (difficulty == 2)) then { some code that will make the mission easier };

It's particularly handy for scripts handling reinforcements - of course, this command only helps you to catch the unknown variable of player skillsets with a larger net - it's not a be-all-and-all cure! :icon_biggrin:

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About the difficulty, I thin it shoud be adapted to who the enemy is.

 

- FIA : not so much military training. So, low skill and precision - but change it like 1 guy 10%, another 7%, another 18%, squad leader 20%, etc...

- AAF : better trained but still less skilled than CSAT and NATO

- CSAT and NATO : highly trained and skilled - and more for the FS so good to high precision and skill

 

and still, for AAF and NATO/CSAT, don't put everyone witht he same amount of skill and precision.

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