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[RELEASE] Operation Shoe Lace - A TvT Campaign

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Operation Shoe Lace v1.05

by Engima

 

Description

Tensions arise, and two special teams on two different sides fight for victory in this operation about navigating through many of the challenges in modern warfare. This is a Team vs Team campaign divided into seven short missions, playable for 2-10 players.

 

I’m really proud to present my third large project after Escape and Intrusion. I realized that Bohemia do not support MP custom campaigns, so I created a solution for it. I hope you will like it!

 

Features

  • Multiplayer 2-10 players.
  • Team vs Team. Two teams fighting against each other.
  • Campaign divided into seven missions, each with a maximum length of 30 minutes.
  • Storyline adapting to the teams’ achievements.
  • No revive! Dead is dead until next mission starts.
  • Score. Successful objectives and players kept alive earns score for their team. The team with the highest total score when the campaign ends wins.
  • AI bots can be used on both sides (useful when playing e.g. one vs one).
  • Easy to get grip of. Full documentation about mission mechanics in dialogs and briefing.

 

Campaign assumes players on both sides

Note that this campaign/mission assumes that there are human players on both sides. It is not intended to play COOP vs AI. All humans on one side and AI on the other may result in strange behavior like skipped missions and prefulfilled objectives etc. That said, you can start it alone with AI enemies if your goal is just to test the concept to see if it is something for you and your friends.

 

Download

 

Licence

MIT plus the following addition: The text "Built upon Engima's TvT Campaign Framework (TvTCF)." shall be visible to all participants in a multiplayer game, either during mission load time, or when the mission/campaign is starting.".

 

Dependencies

Arma 3.

 

Compatibility

Works on hosted and dedicated server, and is JIP compatible.

 

Version History

Version 1.05
-Made insertion areas black instead of blue.
-Further improved the insertion behavior.
-Increased base size from 100 to 300 meters.
-Minor fixes and improvements.
 

Version 1.02

-Improved insertion handling by making it simpler and more intuitive.

-Added parameter to randomize missions.

-Fixed: spectate camera did not work well in all situations.

-Fixed: Performing insertion with more than one vehicle could explode the vehicles.

-General fixes and improvements.

 

Version 1.01

-General fixes and improvements.
-Added parameter to control the campaign's maximum time.

 

Version 1.00

-First version.

 

Some Of My Other Missions

Escape Tanoa by Engima (built on the original Escape Chernarus branch from Arma 2)

Intrusion Malden

Operation Broken Arrow

Night in July

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On 10/4/2020 at 12:42 PM, johnnyboy said:

Congrats on the release bro.  I am a fan of your work.

 

Yeah me too! In fact I think we should join forces for a super mission in the future, I have some cool ideas but I am sure all of you have too 😉 

 

But basically I favor the style of Engima's work:

- Super optimized missions.

- Most missions are not too short but also not so long that you will require some sort of saving mechanic).

- Low to none reliance on mods.

- Multiplayer but does not require too many players to be fun. (Basically the MP scenario where arma 3 behaves acceptably).

- Option to include bots (which are represented quite realistically too so they don't break the immersion of the mission).

- Missions seem dynamic and realistic:

Example: We took an Airfield, the next mission was to destroy a downed Heli, and next we had to defend the Airfield we previously had taken. Additionally time passes between missions.

I don't know what would have happened had we not taken the airfield (perhaps another missions?).

 

All in all I am super impressed. This could be the next Recon Ops with some more tweaking 😉

 

@engima do you have a discord channel?

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Ok I was doing the "Capture the Airbase" mission and when we won the script failed to teleport my two ai team mates back to the base with me.

 

It was the second mission and when we finished the first one they were teleported just fine. (Fixed super easily with the insertion option that put the whole squad together again)

 

On the next mission "Cannonball Run" it destroyed the EAST Truck with the heli yet it did not end the mission. All the other vehicles on the map where AAF and the mission description said I shouldn't destroy those. So I waited at the truck destination point but it never arrived there so I lost that mission after the timeout. Not biggie and the mission was very cool still!

 

So far loving the structure of the mission! It is quick but not super quick and everything is clear.

 

I also love how each mission gives players map hints but the task themselves do not show the exact position on the map so you really need to explore and be aware of the map rather than just following a gamey 3D marker like most Arma missions.

 

Perhaps both teams competing for the points could get some shared objectives so there could be some forced encounters between the two player factions at some point, specially if the scores are tied... (Or maybe all objectives are shared among factions but since I was playing vs Ai only if couldn't tell).

 

Also, when you die and you have alive Ai team mates perhaps it is better to teamswitch to them rather than just spectate them maybe?

 

Is there a way to set the campaign length? Like XX amount of missions and it is over?

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Hi

 

Thanks, I'm glad to hear that you like the mission and my style. That's correct, I always try to fokus on immersion, optimization and keeping things clean.

 

I notice though that you play the mission alone, and without human enemies, and the mission (or campaign) is not intended so. I can see that I will need to clarify that a bit. All missions assume that there is at least one human taking initiative on each side, and the AI bots that can be used is more for when you play with like one other human friend. And some of your thoughts on improvements are also due to this fact I think. The AI bots alone on one side only "inserts" into the action area, but then they just stand there, let's say for development and testing purposes.

 

That said, i will also comment some of your feedback a little further:

 

8 hours ago, LSValmont said:

Ok I was doing the "Capture the Airbase" mission and when we won the script failed to teleport my two ai team mates back to the base with me.

 

This has happened to us to sometimes, but not often enough so that I have been able to track it. It might even be so that it only happens when one of the sides are missing human units, but I'm not quite sure about this. I will look into it. It kills the immersion a bit, but as you said, the start and insertion in the next mission usually fixes the problem.

 

8 hours ago, LSValmont said:

On the next mission "Cannonball Run" it destroyed the EAST Truck with the heli yet it did not end the mission. All the other vehicles on the map where AAF and the mission description said I shouldn't destroy those. So I waited at the truck destination point but it never arrived there so I lost that mission after the timeout. Not biggie and the mission was very cool still!

 

You say you destroyed the east truck with the heli, and if that is true, you have found a bug. I will check it. I assume the east truck was on its starting position, since it will not move without humans? If you destroyed a running truck, that was not the objective.

 

8 hours ago, LSValmont said:

Perhaps both teams competing for the points could get some shared objectives so there could be some forced encounters between the two player factions at some point, specially if the scores are tied... (Or maybe all objectives are shared among factions but since I was playing vs Ai only if couldn't tell).

 

This is the whole point of the project. All of the missions have common contact points of some sort. In Cannonball Run one side is driving the truck and the other is searching for them in a helicopter. In Air Station Assault one side is defending the station and the other is attacking. In Capture the Airbase both sides tries to take the airbase from two different directions, one inserting with helis at south and one inserting with armor at north. And so on...

 

8 hours ago, LSValmont said:

Also, when you die and you have alive Ai team mates perhaps it is better to teamswitch to them rather than just spectate them maybe?

 

Great suggestion!

 

8 hours ago, LSValmont said:

Is there a way to set the campaign length? Like XX amount of missions and it is over?

 

Not without edit. But I'll read that as a suggestion for a mission parameter maybe.

 

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On 10/6/2020 at 3:32 AM, engima said:

I notice though that you play the mission alone, and without human enemies, and the mission (or campaign) is not intended so. I can see that I will need to clarify that a bit. All missions assume that there is at least one human taking initiative on each side, and the AI bots that can be used is more for when you play with like one other human friend. And some of your thoughts on improvements are also due to this fact I think. The AI bots alone on one side only "inserts" into the action area, but then they just stand there, let's say for development and testing purposes.

 

Yes I played with only 2 Ai bots on each side but with just one human player (me) but this weekend I will be playing on a 8 players LAN so I will have further feedback then.

And I agree that it would beneficial to state at the mission description that the mission works as intended when there are at least one human player on each side commanding the Ai units.

 

On 10/6/2020 at 3:32 AM, engima said:

You say you destroyed the east truck with the heli, and if that is true, you have found a bug. I will check it. I assume the east truck was on its starting position, since it will not move without humans? If you destroyed a running truck, that was not the objective.

 

The truck was moving when I found it, at about 2 minutes (or 3 kilometers) from its starting point, perhaps the 2 Ai units that I added on the enemy side were driving it but I did notice that the truck did not go directly towards their "end point".

I assumed that was because there was a heli firing at them. It was the only truck on the whole map. There was a Strider and several Quad Bikes from the IND side moving around but no other truck and specially no other opfor truck. Also no civilian vehicles in sight.

 

On 10/6/2020 at 3:32 AM, engima said:

This is the whole point of the project. All of the missions have common contact points of some sort. In Cannonball Run one side is driving the truck and the other is searching for them in a helicopter. In Air Station Assault one side is defending the station and the other is attacking. In Capture the Airbase both sides tries to take the airbase from two different directions, one inserting with helis at south and one inserting with armor at north. And so on...

 

That is good to know, it makes the mission even more fun as both sides are always engaged to each other which is far more immersive and changes every time you play. That also explains why the attack never came when I was defending the Air Base. The missions are random or are always in the same order?

 

On 10/6/2020 at 3:32 AM, engima said:

Not without edit. But I'll read that as a suggestion for a mission parameter maybe.

 

That would be awesome, since at 30 min for each mission for 7 missions ends up being a 3.5 hours session.

 

We often do 2 hours sessions and being able to choose less than 7 missions would be godsend.

 

One more suggestion: At one of the mission we had to clear a town and the insertion point what inside some of the buildings of said town. When we Inserted one of the Ai units in our group got stuck under the building. So I suggest doing Insertion points on said mission on the outskirts of town instead so it is a bit safer.

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Hi @LSValmont

 

Thanks for all of your feedback! I look forward to hear what you think about it after the weekend, when you said you were about to play it with friends.

 

The truck you saw in Cannonball Run was not the target truck. It was an AAF Truck. A challenge in Cannonball Run is to identify the target, and hitting independent or civilian will cost you "guerilla alliance", which you will otherwise gain out of the mission. The AI enemy units do not do anything other than inserting and waiting for human initiative.

 

The missions in this particular campaign is always in the same order. However, you will play different roles depending on how you progress. The most obvious is that if you win Capture The Airbase you will always play the "airbase owner" role in the rest of the missions.

 

30 min for seven missions is 3.5 hours. That is a "worst case" scenario though. If objectives for both sides are fulfilled earlier, or e.g. if all players die, then the current mission will end. More likely you play it somewhere in between 1.5 to 2.5 hours. A parameter for the maximum time is still a great idea, and is now written as a TODO.

 

I have done some fixes, let's see if I manage to release version 1.01 for you in time for the weekend.

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New version.

 

Version 1.01

-General fixes and improvements.
-Added parameter to control the campaign's maximum time.

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Ok so me and my LAN group of 7 players + me tested the mission last sunday for almost 5 hours!

 

Results:

- We did not play anything else! (And we usually do a couple new coop missions and other LAN games too).

- This is the most fan we've ever had outside of Warlords. In fact it felt far less repetitive than Warlords even after multiple playthroughs.

- Your team is always on their toes. We made the mistake on our first playthrough of not setting the "In Between missions rest time" high enough and had to rush some missions unprepared. The outcome is that the mission never felt long even after hours of playing.

- The mission was played on a plethora of hardware configurations from crappy 5 years old notebooks to i7 9900 Desktops and all with optimal results (Compared to Warlords or other missions we had much higher performance and no stuttering). That was helped by the relatively small and barren map thou. No performance degradation after very long sessions too for both the server and the clients.

- Some missions can be incredibly cinematic! That is almost unheard of for the PVP TVT scene, rivaling some of the best COOP and even SP scenarios.

 

Suggestions:

- Randomize everything, from the starting locations to the missions order.

- Bring the mission to Malden/Altis.

- Make the Insertions usage cost a little "Mission Points" to use?

- Make sure that Insertion points are not too close to the objectives. (Basically that they are balanced and do not promote the "Enemy Spawned right in my face" scenario that no one likes because it reminds you that you are playing a video game and breaks the immersion).

- Add some more missions variations in case you go for the random missions order.

 

Conclusions

- Mission maker really knows what he is doing. From the mission design, to the scripting and the flow, everything is top notch.

- You don't see missions playing on Arma 3's strenghts while masking its weakness so well very often. For the first time in a long time I didn't mind dying to Arma 3's horrible default damage system. Dying felt punishing enough but not overly so, and I had fun spectating and cheering for my team to finish the current task while I was dead.

- The respawning after the timer or the mission ends is brilliant and fits like a glove for Arma 3.

- It saddens me that so many players miss gems like this because all they look for is the screenshots and the mods on the mission rather than how well the mission uses the resources at its disposal and how well coded the mission is.

 

I hope that @engima continues to refine this gem until it is polished because its foundations are very very strong and well lay out.

I feel that every new mission, tool and content that the dev releases keeps getting better and better and it is pleasure to watch and enjoy his growth.

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Thanks @LSValmont for letting med know about your experience playing! I love that you like the mission. It gives me inspiration to continue on with the project. It's been a bit intense last weeks, you know polishing before a release and so. All that RL stuff that always is getting in the way.... 🙂

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5 hours ago, engima said:

Thanks @LSValmont for letting med know about your experience playing! I love that you like the mission. It gives me inspiration to continue on with the project. It's been a bit intense last weeks, you know polishing before a release and so. All that RL stuff that always is getting in the way.... 🙂

 

I am on the same boat, got to 90% of my dream Arma 3 project and then a new born child and RL hit and I haven't found the time to resume work yet.

 

I am thankful that you managed to finish and share this with us.

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This sounds fun.  Stratis is kinda lame map.

 

One suggestion like someone stated and like another older tvt was having the aoe randomized.

 

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3 hours ago, jandrews said:

This sounds fun.  Stratis is kinda lame map.

 

One suggestion like someone stated and like another older tvt was having the aoe randomized.

 

 

I agree about Stratis. But I thought it was fun as a variaty. And it doesn’t really matter for this game mode. I think I found at least one interesting enough local area per mission.

 

I’ve heard you about playing randomized missions. It will be in the next release.

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New version.

 

Version 1.02

-Improved insertion handling by making it simpler and more intuitive.

-Added parameter to randomize missions.

-Fixed: spectate camera did not work well in all situations.

-Fixed: Performing insertion with more than one vehicle could explode the vehicles.

-General fixes and improvements.

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16 hours ago, engima said:

New version.

 

Version 1.02

-Improved insertion handling by making it simpler and more intuitive.

-Added parameter to randomize missions.

-Fixed: spectate camera did not work well in all situations.

-Fixed: Performing insertion with more than one vehicle could explode the vehicles.

-General fixes and improvements.

 

You just gifted us another weekend of fun! Thank you!

 

Looking forward to the port to other maps 😉

 

PS: Some of my friends said this was the most fun they have had in Arma 3. Some are pretty new and couldn't get into Arma 3 before as they found the Single Player to be too boring and MP to be too punishing or requiring too many mods until I showed Operation Shoe Lace to them and then Arma finally clicked for them.

 

May I ask, do you have a discord channel or a channel were you hang the most?

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On 10/16/2020 at 2:58 PM, LSValmont said:

May I ask, do you have a discord channel or a channel were you hang the most?

 

I’ll send you a PM.

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New version.

 

Version 1.05
-Made insertion areas black instead of blue.
-Further improved the insertion behavior.
-Increased base size from 100 to 300 meters.
-Minor fixes and improvements.

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