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wiper

'Cipher' - full dynamic [SP & MP/Coop] with unlimited replayability

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The user has no right to decide any difficulty-related options, unless it's specified as a difficulty option ;)

I mean, you can make yourself invulnerable too, but then the mission will suck. Unless it was clearly specified by the mission author that "playing in this mode is too easy" (such as by making it a server option for "easy" and "hard"), then it is his fault that there is a very easy way to complete the mission, and therefore it's also his responsibility to prevent it.

If you give me as many heavy weapons as I want (unrelated to any difficulty settings), you can rest assured I will use them, at least until I've decided the mission sucks with them in which case I'll edit it so the difficulty is more suitable for me, but if a mission made me go that far than it's a failure on the mission maker's side IMO.

Bottom line: Keep whatever weapons you find suitable for your mission, rather than what people ask you to put in. If they want to try toys out, there's always the editor.

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I think alpha-kilo is simply saying 'give me a set of toys and let me choose what to play with'. I tend to be this way, re-playing the same mission using different equipment and even reloading part way to try different tactics.

galzohar it sounds like you lack self control ;) But I hear what you are saying, if you give me the best toys, I will use them and I will dominate, and the mission will be boring.

Wiper said to me 'where did all of your 12 SMAW + 3 Stingers go' well, only one guy was equipped for AT role and he got shot. The truck was destroyed by the enemy chopper, so they all went up in smoke! Of course that makes a new challenge of trying to survive with limited resources :) Searching dead soldiers and enemy vehicles for weapons.

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Now you learned to not leave important stuff in a truck ;)

Anyway it's not a matter of self control, it's a matter of trusting the mission maker to make the mission challenging for me when I give it my best shot. If I have to handicap myself to make the mission challenging then it's a flaw in the mission.

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Greg, this is exactly what I mean. Cipher is all about re-playability with different weapons and tactics.

Galzohar, if it is not a matter of self control, it might have something to do with imagination. Choosing not to use a certain weapon does not mean you are handicapping yourself, it shows you can think up an alternative strategy. Allowing such creativity is definitely not "a flaw in the mission". In fact, it may make the difference between a good mission and an excellent one. Of course this is just my humble opinion.

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If there's an easy way to do something, and you choose not to use it, it's definitely handicapping yourself. This is understandable if the mission is just poorly made to be too easy, but in a good mission shouldn't be needed to make it challenging.

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Interesting points of view and I'm sure you guys dont wonder that I agree with galzohar.

But honestly, I don't do this from the standpint of a mission maker rather than from the standpoint of a player that taylored a mission around his own perception of how a mission should be.

Anyway, thanks to my buddies suggestion I came to a solution that should fit for most if not all players demands regarding heavy weapon supply, read below.

Greg,

I really forgot the possibility to loose all gear together with the truck, I'm sorry :) , in particular as that happened to me repeatedly when I played the mission the first times. Since then it almost never happend to me again but I remember one time I even managed to win under that circumstances by capturing the AGS UAZ (with HE launcher) and luckily sending a BMP3 to hell with that damn thing ;)

Well, as I think the current *number* of heavy weapons (15 pieces!) really should suffice, something should be done in case of loosing them.

Unfortunately supply drop isn't feasible because the plot simply doesnt allow, remember: no radio traffic until the deciphering module is secured :)

So another option should be an ammo crate similar to the one in SpecOp mode.

I think I'll split the current truck load out and add one part to a crate near the insertion point in the next version. This way the player is still forced to take care of his most important gear but nevertheless has always a backup behind.

Maybe in a later version the ammo dump can be random placed but as this needs additional effort (avoiding "harshly" locations) I may leave it this way for now, what do you think ?

Currently having issues with the players AI not disembarking the (non local) insertion chopper on a dedicated server environement :-\

Other than that 1.31 is almost ready to go..

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Don't you have enough men already to load them with more than enough heavy weapons and thus not really need the truck?

Isn't description.ext weapon selection bugged? Patch notes say nothing about fixing it either. It's not that it doesn't work, but in MP it seems to cause incredible desync and sometimes not respond at all leaving you stuck with no weapons at all (as removing weapons works, but placing new ones often fails). This messes up the balance a bit between SP and MP (but then again I guess SP is harder because you have bots on your side). Of course if description.ext weapons would work properly it would be great, but currently it seems like a pretty messed up feature.

Anyway, if you want to restrict gear, it seems to work much better to just use some simple assign loadout script to give realistic loadouts, and then only if you think it's nescessary add additional ammo to the truck. Having some weapons in the briefing and then some more in the truck makes some rather annoying gearing, especially with AI. Not a major issue though.

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Generally spoken I'd like to keep the amount of heavy weapons as low as possible, without making it impossible to win of course. Reason for that is that I think with a sheer plenty of HW some aspects of the mission might get easily spoiled - careful planning comes to mind for example or just being "motivated" to really hit with one shot. Imagine 10 or more SMAW HEDP shots you may pounder at a bunch of AI guys. While it may be effective on one hand does it not take out the challenge to go in for a tense close combat on the other ?

it's a fair comment, and I would also add that we should consider a situation that should be a bit realistic. I think in a normal mission you get your weapons, and that's it.

What I would like to ask, however, is more possibilities to choose at the beginning. I think it's fair to allow the players to give their units the loadout that they consider the best. Therefore I would add more weapons (I miss the Mk 12) and more ammos at the beginning. I'm not sure it's possible, but I would also allow to choose what to put in the truck

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I personally think the mission is pretty well balanced as it is and we should let Wiper start focusing on his NEXT great mission ;) instead of unnecessarily focusing on weapon loadouts etc.

Chiper has been downloaded from Armaholic alone over 4700 times and we aren't hearing many ppl wanting more/bigger/better weapons so lets assume the majority are happy OK? Its challenging which I like and is the way I think it was designed?

One of the best ArmA 2 missions available Wiper, many many thanks for your efforts.

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I personally think the mission is pretty well balanced as it is and we should let Wiper start focusing on his NEXT great mission ;)..

I agree. Getting a bit much ado about nothing. Fact is, I am enjoying the mission. Sometimes it's a bit hard, sometimes it's relatively easy.

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Wiper,

Of course Mlenser is right in saying that the mission is pretty well-balanced as it is. Cipher is undoubtedly one of the best missions for ArmA2 in its current state and any improvements you might want to make would probably be finishing touches, rather than dramatic changes.

Your idea of having the ammo truck and a crate (perhaps even more than one since random placement is not an option) sounds very good to me. If the player could choose the loadouts at the beginning and decide what goes into the truck as dontknowhow suggested, even better.

There is something I would like to suggest, if it doesn't cause too much trouble: Could you consider making the intro and the cut-scenes skippable?

Anyway, thank you very much for sharing this wonderful mission!

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Great mission... thanks.

Played it twice and still like it a lot.

I think the balance is ok... definitively not to easy... I like that!

edit: played the single player/ SpecOp/ diff. 75%.

Edited by ericodapinco

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Thanks again for your kind words folks !

Isn't description.ext weapon selection bugged?
Not that I know of.
Of course if description.ext weapons would work properly it would be great, but currently it seems like a pretty messed up feature.
Seems pretty ok.

As of Cipher v1.31 there are 3 independant loadout steps included that seem to work flawlessly right now:

  1. default gear loadout (editor/init definitions)
  2. briefing gear (description.ext)
  3. scripted cargo loadouts (vehicles,crates)

1) can be changed by use of 2) naturally, but I never had an issue with that (since OFP), particularely not in SP.

3) is completely independant, but usage always reflected all changements from 1) and 2) for me.

(I miss the Mk 12)
If you tell me where to find it in the game and/or how its called ( Weapons Classes ), I may add it.
I'm not sure it's possible, but I would also allow to choose what to put in the truck
If you mean "transfering" gear from the briefing room to the game, thats not possible afaik.

Well,

v1.31 almost ready to go.

Needs some final touches and basic MP testing but dont have much time for intense testing for a soon release I'm afraid.

So I'll probably load it up as a "beta" additional to the currently most stable v1.30.

If it plays well and doesent intruduce new bugs due to the additions I'll drop the 1.30.

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After spending 2 hours searching a massive sea side town door to door, I wished there was a cheat 'I give up, where's the !@#$ briefcase'.

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Thanks. I just finished losing 8 men. Is that bad?

well, depends on how you rate 80% losses :D

edit: honestly, I've wasted so many times all 10 men, so personally I'm always happy to survive with 2 guys ;)

After spending 2 hours searching a massive sea side town door to door, I wished there was a cheat 'I give up, where's the !@#$ briefcase'.

damn :(

did you find the general ?

can you upload a 7zip of the save somewhere ?

Edited by Wiper

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Wiper,

You are beyond awesome. Cipher is an incredible mission that I have played about 15 - 20 times now. I think I started playing it around version 1.23 and check every few days for an updated one. You are doing a fantastic job!

The biggest gripe I have with cipher as it is now is the truck. I wish there were other choices in how you transport your team to the enemy location. What about giving the player the option to take an armoured vehicle in instead of the truck? Or to be able to choose a small convoy of Humvees(with mounted weapons) to lead your squad in with? Maybe placing a "supply zone" somewhere a little farther away that the player could go to to swap vehicles. I know this affects the combat balance, but sometimes I want to sneak in the enemy zone and other times I want to run in with guns blazing.

I'm just getting tired of riding in the back of that old clunker you know!

I just wanted to say that I have and will continue to enjoy your mission for a long time to come. Looking forward to any other missions you may be working on as well. Keep up the good work!

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Hi and welcome on the board, mercuryhaze !

Thanks a lot for expressing your enthusism for this mission and my effort in improving it.

It shows me that it wasn't a bad decision to share publicly what I originally designed to suit my personal conceptions of what I thought a good and dynamically enfolding mission should be about and, additionally, has the power to surprise even its creator ! ;)

Believe it or not, your idea of the mounted Humvees was actually featured in the very first "incarnations" of 'Cipher', lol: one with MG the other with HE laucher. I just dropped it with the time because it had a twofold drastically effect for the gameplay in a way that while on one hand the player had practically superior firepower rendering him almost unstoppable after he managed to dispatch the two APCs (at that time, and the hind of course), while on the other hand it entrapped the player really much to push forward with the effect that in ARMA2 the AI always detected the player MUCH much earlier than the player, with a most forseeable outcome.

But many things have changed under the hood in the meantime, the AI communication in the mission is improved f.e., difficulty options became available and the AI "senses" have been patched by BIS twice since then.

I think it would be really interesting to see how it would play out now having such an armament at hands or maybe something different for the current version of Cipher.

What do you think, would it be challenging and satisfying enough at the same time if the players vehicle(s) right at the beginning are randomized ?

I'm right in the process of finishing off 1.31 (had not enough time for testing these days) but that feature might do it into 1.31 too maybe :rolleyes:

Again, many thanks for your feedback !

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Wiper,

I really appreciate the way you keep working on this mission. Apart from playing Cipher it is also pleasure to follow the discussion in this thread.

If you want to offer more vehicles in a future version, that 's great. But please let the player choose the vehicle. Mercuryhaze said it very well: "...sometimes I want to sneak in the enemy zone and other times I want to run in with guns blazing." You should allow the player to employ the tactic he wants and not force it onto him by randomly providing armed or un-armed transport.

To answer your question: I would say, randomizing vehicles is challenging for sure because the player is supposed to use what he is given and make his mission plan accordingly. I also think that this reflects reality where you do not always get what you want. But I don't think this limitation is fun. And if the player is not happy with the vehicle he finds, he can easily quit and restart the mission until his preferred vehicle is available. So why not offer the choice directly?

By the way, normally I play the spec op mode in SP and I would be grateful if I could use a stealthy bicycle instead of the noisy motorbike.

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Is there a multiplayer version of this mission? It seems made for co-op.

It is a co-op mission.

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