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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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That's interesting. Though I'd be careful as this might just be the backlash of the recent disappointment with Apex Protocol. From what I got, many expected Harvest Red well done. In any case, the sample size is probably too small and it's just leading by one or two votes.

 

 

That's true. I might add that, while I also enjoyed it and actually voted for it as best campaign here, the whole thing didn't make any sense. In reality, the story could have ended after mission two or three. AAF had air planes with bombs equipped - and all NATO survivors came together in one place. If my name was Akhanteros, I'd have Miller and the NATO survivors fried in their camp by noon of the first day.^^

 

But even if the survivors made it to Altis, there was still CSAT with drones, tanks, and even more planes. And the resistance is again bunching up in camps with fancy shooting ranges and lights everywhere. It's just a campaign designed around the mechanics of 1985 instead of 2035. Arma 3's fault to implement actual futuristic mechanics is an entirely different story though...

I also voted for East Wind, but indeed-it made no sense.  Altis is what- 250kmsq-how long would it take to find a rebel camp with a couple of jets and a drone?A day or two. What makes insurgencies so deadly-as the US found out in Afghanistan-is the guerrilla's ability to blend into the populace,living with them and moving through them.Because they are them. East wind was more like a medieval Robin Hood setup with bands of outlaws living in the woods.

 

Still-the raids on supply points and ambushes were done well.

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I also voted for East Wind, but indeed-it made no sense.  Altis is what- 250kmsq-how long would it take to find a rebel camp with a couple of jets and a drone?A day or two. What makes insurgencies so deadly-as the US found out in Afghanistan-is the guerrilla's ability to blend into the populace,living with them and moving through them.Because they are them. East wind was more like a medieval Robin Hood setup with bands of outlaws living in the woods.

 

Still-the raids on supply points and ambushes were done well.

 

Come to think about it, why it took so long for US reinforcement to arrive in Arma1?

Isn't Saharai just outside US East coast? Can't they sent in jets from Florida or Puerto Rico?

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thought it be relevant to post a couple videos here, from back at e3 2011, which indicate arma 3 initially might have had a direction which fulfilled some of the wishes expressed in this thread, but was abandonded for some reason (design flaws, budget?)

at 4:21 in the above video there is a short gameplay section.

2:03 dev says a few words about the older campaign

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Damn, remember the awesome clouds.

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thought it be relevant to post a couple videos here, from back at e3 2011, which indicate arma 3 initially might have had a direction which fulfilled some of the wishes expressed in this thread, but was abandonded for some reason (design flaws, budget?)

at 4:21 in the above video there is a short gameplay section.

2:03 dev says a few words about the older campaign

 

4:21 is exactly what I've always wanted from an official ArmA campaign.

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I wonder why it was abandoned. Seems a bit silly from a business point of view to drop a project already implemented - in part at least.

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i agree-I remember those videos and the campaign looked really exciting. I was looking forward to different factions and shady dealings with weapon dealers and the black market etc. Not rebels with F2000's..  Still-I did like the east wind.

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Basically the OFP/Resistance is the basic model for a good Arma campaign, interaction with civilians, free roam and put us with sad feelings about war, not the spec-ops one army invincible characters with no gore attached. War isn't beautiful.

 

And we got a felling of that in the Prologue, too sad it didn't continue in the Apex story in that beautiful terrain.

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Agree.

BIS did an excellent job with the mini prologue campaign.

I didn't find East Wind awesome; it was good, but nothing more - could have been better.

Apex Protocol was a disaster IMHO. Not to mention the "no-solo" experience and the respawn thing, the story was not that great. More a bunch of SP missions one after another - which were not that bad after all.

I consider AP more like a mission pack rather than a campaign.

Pity though, I expected to find something close to the Prologue thing, atmosphere, etc...

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OFP: Resistance campaign was my favorite because of:

  • Freedom. Being a resistance fighter you are not hindered by military bureaucracy and can do missions your own way.
  • Narrative storytelling
  • Interaction with enemy characters like Guba and Soviet officers. I remember that funny interaction where Resistance leader gave vodka at russian checkpoint to get through lol
  • Some civilian interaction for more immersive experience.
  • Keeping weapons after you collect them for later missions
  • It was hard and challenging fighting a powerful, bigger, better equiped soviet army with a handful of resistance fighters. I find this kind of gameplay most exciting and fun when you barely win
  • It has nice immersive cutscenes. I'm not sure about music I think I liked CWC music a bit more than Resistance music.

Another thing you can do in a campaign is make the main protagonist of a campaign a pilot and he can be jack of all trades. Doesn't take to be a genius to operate a BMP and everyone is infantry first anyways. So making the protagonist know how to fly fixes all those problems if he is unregural resistance fighter. He can fly, fight on foot and operate tanks. I suppose the only thing to learn is advanced firing systems which many rebels don't use and aim manually in real life.

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I remember that funny interaction where Resistance leader gave vodka at russian checkpoint to get through lol

It was in CWC, when you had to reach Saint Pierre ;)

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Yeah I know but still pretty funny. Resistance also had some funny moments. Private Stoyan Yakotich or what his pun name was lol

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Bit of offtopic. Talking abot localisations - this is how it should be done (ideally):

 

1.) Language used should be determined by story, not users convinience - Americans should talk in English with each other, Russians in Russian, Brazilians in Portuguese and so on. If, say, an Iranian interrogates an American, he should use English. So no more "stupid foreigners" talking to each other in a "stupid funny accent".

 

2.) Translation should be done with subtitles - and only if a player character (not the user himself) knows the language spoken. Which can be cutomised as a part of avatar customization or be predetermined by story.

 

3.) This way all of the recorded audio goes for all localisations, with only subtitles being changed.

 

Example: I'm a Russian and I know (a bit) of English, my game is in English localisation, protagonist of this game speaks English and Greek. When the protagonist overhears a conversation of several Russian characters it goes in Russian and the game doesn't show any subtitles (even if I, myself, can get what they talking about), if the same protagonist  overhears a conversation in Greek language the game does show subtitles - in English. Rather simple and realistic.

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Good to see more options added to the poll :)

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How can i put like 10 votes to "No 'Rambo'" option? :)

 

Lol, duly noted :D

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Bit of offtopic. Talking abot localisations - this is how it should be done (ideally):

 

1.) Language used should be determined by story, not users convinience - Americans should talk in English with each other, Russians in Russian, Brazilians in Portuguese and so on. If, say, an Iranian interrogates an American, he should use English. So no more "stupid foreigners" talking to each other in a "stupid funny accent".

 

2.) Translation should be done with subtitles - and only if a player character (not the user himself) knows the language spoken. Which can be cutomised as a part of avatar customization or be predetermined by story.

 

3.) This way all of the recorded audio goes for all localisations, with only subtitles being changed.

 

Example: I'm a Russian and I know (a bit) of English, my game is in English localisation, protagonist of this game speaks English and Greek. When the protagonist overhears a conversation of several Russian characters it goes in Russian and the game doesn't show any subtitles (even if I, myself, can get what they talking about), if the same protagonist  overhears a conversation in Greek language the game does show subtitles - in English. Rather simple and realistic.

 

I am pretty sure that was done in Arma2, the protagonist was the only character that can speak multiple languages.

The problem is it's really difficult for player made campaigns, also the engine by default doesn't support eastern subtitles like Chinese.

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Two things that makes me rage quit, and are connected I think, is when the missions are setup like a rambo movie and I am somehow to destroy 7 tanks and kill truckloads of enemies by myself, and when it is obvious that the missions are made by a person that have most help features activated.

I have totally failed on many missions as I have no clue where to go or no sane way to survive. It seems like one are to play with visible waypoints, enemy tags and extended armour. In CWC and resistance the missions were made so you could immerse yourself, but in later official campaigns it seems like you are supposed to play at recruit and/or grind until you manage.

I want immersion not gameplay achievments. I want to experience the situation, not win it.

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I am pretty sure that was done in Arma2, the protagonist was the only character that can speak multiple languages.

The problem is it's really difficult for player made campaigns, also the engine by default doesn't support eastern subtitles like Chinese.

 

Well, I wasn't really talking about player-made campaigns or even official campaigns of Arma in particular. Just mused how things should be in (realistic) games in general (thus "offtopic").

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The problem is it's really difficult for player made campaigns, also the engine by default doesn't support eastern subtitles like Chinese.

 

I'm pretty sure Chinese is now supported in Arma 3 :D Don't quote me, but I think this is something the devs have been working on.

 

 

Two things that makes me rage quit, and are connected I think, is when the missions are setup like a rambo movie and I am somehow to destroy 7 tanks and kill truckloads of enemies by myself, and when it is obvious that the missions are made by a person that have most help features activated.

 

Yeah, I agree - I think it's great to feel 'a part of something bigger' and that's one of the game's real strengths. Also, I'm guilty of leaning towards the Rambo playstyle in the past, owing to a fear of AI mechanics; so, um, apologies there - I'm a convert, promise! :) Mindful to learn from past mistakes!

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True. The AI can be a real bummer. I have found the AI works best when separated from the player, or when the player is not in command. Additionally, the freer the AI can operate, the more effective it is. Putting it in static positions or scripting all of its movement is not only a lot of work, it also renders the AI combat ineffective more often than not. Unfortunately, the AI still operates on a group level only since Arma 3 doesn't offer any form high command or inter-group communication out of the box. However, frameworks like Alive or MCC GAIA offer some really good high command simulations. It's just much more believable and immersive when the AI can dynamically patrol, flank, or call support. Ironically, it is also much less work for the creator to use solutions like MCC GAIA instead of placing lots of waypoints or doing some heavy scripting.

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Yep. Of course in such case mission design/plot must tolerate unexpected AI "ideas" due to dynamic scripting. Popular example are "random battle generators", but these usually are without any plot to follow. IMHO such element of uniqueness thanks to high-level AI frameworks also within a plot is sweet - if code isn't player-centric, but only uses player as one of many cogs in the war machine, that can grind him to dust as easily, as every other unit on the map, a feeling, given combat situation is not a harmless fake, not pretended danger, not precisely directed, perfectly balanced show, but real, not predicted by anyone including mission maker threat, can boost immersion, a feeling of autheticity greatly, at least for me.

 

But it's important for mission maker to understand, what's the goal here, so this unpredictability of such frameworks is their big advantage, not something to be tamed/controlled strictly to fit some linear design. I made such framework some time ago and sometimes I had questions from the users suggesting such misguided approach, kind of - "how to make it to do exact same thing each time". But this misses the point! The power of such frameworks lies in their smart independence, not predictable obedience. Also mission maker needs to learn chosen framework well enough to know, for what AI behaviors/events his design must be prepared. 

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Yep. Of course in such case mission design/plot must tolerate unexpected AI "ideas" due to dynamic scripting. Popular example are "random battle generators", but these usually are without any plot to follow. IMHO such element of uniqueness thanks to high-level AI frameworks also within a plot is sweet - if code isn't player-centric, but only uses player as one of many cogs in the war machine, that can grind him to dust as easily, as every other unit on the map, a feeling, given combat situation is not a harmless fake, not pretended danger, not precisely directed, perfectly balanced show, but real, not predicted by anyone including mission maker threat, can boost immersion, a feeling of autheticity greatly, at least for me.

 

But it's important for mission maker to understand, what's the goal here, so this unpredictability of such frameworks is their big advantage, not something to be tamed/controlled strictly to fit some linear design. I made such framework some time ago and sometimes I had questions from the users suggesting such misguided approach, kind of - "how to make it to do exact same thing each time". But this misses the point! The power of such frameworks lies in their smart independence, not predictable obedience. Also mission maker needs to learn chosen framework well enough to know, for what AI behaviors/events his design must be prepared.

 

Beautifully said, Rydygier - thank you :) The contributions on this thread are extremely interesting!

 

 

However, frameworks like Alive or MCC GAIA offer some really good high command simulations.

 

I've always been a bit timid with third party content - but I should certainly check these out! Thanks!

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I've always been a bit timid with third party content - but I should certainly check these out! Thanks!

 

There's a script version for MCC GAIA: https://forums.bistudio.com/topic/172933-mission-template-stand-alone-gaia-make-missions-fast-by-using-mcc-gaia-engine/

 

Not sure if it's being maintained though.

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Wow, this has been an epic read. I am currently in the planning phase of a campaign designed to follow on from the the Apex campaign.

From the response I've seen, I'm perhpaps a little worried that I won't be making the "ideal" set of missions.

The problem with mission making, for me anyway, is that I feel bound by the lore. This is the reason I'm going to be following on from the official campaigns. I've spent hours reading some super mundane stuff and replaying missions often just for a line of ambient voice over but it has led me to write an almost inpermiable lore friendly story set about a year after apex.

I'm very big into cinematics and model the perfect mission around the opening of the East Wind and the final boot camp mission. This maybe harkens back to my days of playing battlefield and call of duty campaigns.

In regards to revealing story, the East Wind bugged me hugely! I spent a lot of time deciphering the plot via opening up mission files etc. I'd much rather be told in plain text what the back story was. The intro AAN cutscene is infuriating for me.

I'd also like to get your opinion on whether playing as multiple characters would be interesting. For me, being a jack of all trades type soldier would be a real immersion breaker (I.e, you're a tank driver, a pilot and you're infantry.) The way around this in my case, is playing as different characters. But is this also too immersion breaking? It's the trade off for whether you spend the whole time as an infantryman or the whole time as a pilot.

In terms of individual missions, I plan on having some totally non combat missions or at least some heavily scripted mission purely to get story across, they'll be quick missions however and almost reminiscent of a telltale games game. Once I've told the back story or the setup across 2-3 heavily scripted short missions, I plan on opening up combat and having larger scale battles and HUB areas, where civilian interaction can be made.

Would this be something people are interested in? Am I being hampered by my need to be lore friendly for the sake of story (revolving around factions and the geographical and geo-political landscape)? And would your immersion be broken by playing as different characters throughout the Campaign (in my case, a CTRG spec ops guy, an FIA guerrilla, a NATO pilot and a NATO peacekeeper)?

EDIT :: a quick side note - I hated the ADAPT campaign due to the control of units. Is this something treasured by the arma community in single player campaigns though?

An amazing thread and very timely too.

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