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thirith

Under siege in Kavala: any balancing tips?

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I'm currently working on a coop mission where up to six players are stuck in Kavala after an invasion gone horribly wrong, and one or two Hummingbird pilots are tasked with bringing the remaining survivors back to base.

 

I've put roadblocks and fire teams at the entrances and exits to Kavala; there are another half-dozen enemy units guarding the castle. Mainly I've placed five fire teams patrolling various sections of Kavala (courtesy of UPS). The idea is that the survivors don't know beforehand where to meet up (the starting positions are randomised) nor does the helicopter crew know where best to pick them up.

 

Since I'm not particularly experienced with respect to making missions, I wanted to ask if people here had any tips on the rough number of mobile enemy units that should be deployed throughout Kavala. I don't want to make survival too difficult and frustrating, but at the same time the city shouldn't feel deserted. As my group only plays every 2-3 weeks, I'd prefer to already have a solid basis ready that I can then tweak, rather than having them try out a very sketchy first draft.

 

So, any tips on balancing? Is there a rule of thumb on how many enemy units work well? Or have any of you done similar urban missions and have suggestions?

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I'd say, set it up roughly how you think and then put a zeus module in for the first run, so you can change it on the fly if need be.

 

Then after, adjust as needed.

 

I would probably go for anything from a 3:1 ratio of AI to players up to 5:1 if you think they can handle it.

 

Players being players, you can do all the prep you like and someone will do something unexpected that throws your mission balance off.  Plus we don't know how good your squad is.  They might be potato-heads, or budding Chuck Norrises.

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We're definitely still at the potato-head stage. Still, setting things somewhere between 3:1 and 5:1 sounds like a good starting point.

 

Now I'll just have to find a way to keep the guards atop the walls of Kavala Castle from throwing themselves off the side. Apparently the HOLD waypoint wasn't enough of a hint to them...

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There's no simple answer to this.

 

Mission balancing depends on AI skills, precision, armament, assets, player coordination/skills (rookies/veterans) etc.

How AI interact/share information with each other can have a bigger impact than one might think.

 

If the players only have rifles with iron sights and the enemies have marksman/sniper rifles then you're in for some butt kicking.

For equally armed sides and AI skills at highest level you can take the basic 3 to 1 (sniped by good ole @das attorney) rule and go from there.

For a more mathematical approach take a look at this site.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

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@Grumpy Old Man Love that cartoon dude.  Someone should do a psycolological study comparing ARMA players and Doom players someday...

 

Regarding balance:  You can also script adjustment of number of enemies and/or their skill levels based on a Difficulty Setting players choose, or # of players joined.  In Property of Mabunga, I adjusted enemy skill based on # of players.  This allowed mission to be challenging for a single player, or for many players.  I also had QRF/reinforcement teams that would start converging on hostage location once he was captured by players.   I had a loop that started each enemy QRF team to pursue the hostage using a time delay between each, so they wouldn't all start at once and surround and overwhelm the players too quickly.  This time delay was longer if few players, and shorter if many players.

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In this case, I'm hoping not to adjust the number and/or skill of enemies dynamically. To some extent the mission is more about avoiding contact than about having a chance in combat; to begin with, the survivors are scattered across the city, and while they're apart, they're better served avoiding enemy patrols. Once they have found others, they've automatically got more of a chance against the fire teams patrolling the city. When they get towards the outskirts of Kavala, I don't want them to have much of a chance against the checkpoints and roadblocks, so they have to find a place within the city where they can be evacuated.

 

What I'm thinking, though, is to add a sense of urgency by having reinforcements brought in to clear the city after 15-30 minutes.

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9 minutes ago, johnnyboy said:

@Grumpy Old Man Someone should do a psycolological study comparing ARMA players and Doom players someday...

 

 

 

Ha! Try playing Doom like it's Arma (400 yards combat) and Arma like its Doom (20 yards combat).  It's total rubbish!  xD

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21 minutes ago, thirith said:

What I'm thinking, though, is to add a sense of urgency by having reinforcements brought in to clear the city after 15-30 minutes.

Sounds good.  Tighten the noose slowly!

 

Another idea to increase atmosphere and tension could be to have a few pockets of resistance fighters in the city for the Opfor to take out.  Players would then hear firefights in the city.  Players could potetially recruit a few AI resistance guys as well if they find them first.

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my two cents would be to lower the AI precision to 0.2 and increase the skill to about 0.7/0.8. This way the enemy will flank well and surprise your team but at the same time not be ninja-shots. You can have more bad guys in the mission and it's lots of fun  shooting people / surviving such a large engagement. Then as you become less green you can increase their accuracy.

 

Take a look at the VCOM AI mod/script. Really easy to use and set up, make for more interesting engagements. You can just use a scripted version of it so no need for downloading mods. Kavala has always run like poo for me on my machine, so i tend to use few enemy in the city.


Gav

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That's what I usually do anyway; I prefer AI that acts in interesting ways even if it's not a great shot to ultra-accurate marksmen that don't actually need to act in (seemingly) strategic ways. The latter side of Arma has never appealed much to me.

 

How well does VCOM play with others? I use ASR AI for our coop sessions.

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