Helping a beginner: small-scale coop with helicopters

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Helping a beginner: small-scale coop with helicopters

Postby Thirith » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:02 am

First of all, full disclosure: it's been a while since I've played with Folk ARPS (though I'm hoping to get back one of these Tuesday evenings), I'm looking for some tips and feedback for small-scale missions for *gasp* a different group (a handful of people who are all new to Arma), and *double gasp* we're still playing Arma 2/Operation Arrowhead. If all of this qualifies me for instant deportation and re-education, I fully understand.

Basically the situation is this: while I've downloaded lots of small coop missions, the one thing they're mostly missing is helicopters, and the ones that have 'em tend to be silly novelty missions. The obvious solution for this is to try my hand at mission making - though I'm pretty much a beginner. I've done a couple of small helo training missions for SP, but nothing yet for MP. I'm now watching the MulleDK19 editor tutorials, I've downloaded the Mr Murray editing guide and I'm looking through the F2 wiki.

Which is where my questions come in:

  • Do you have any basic ideas for small coop missions (4-8 players) that use helicopters well? (I'm mainly thinking of recon and quick insertion/extraction.)
  • Do you have any tips for people who are new to Arma mission making, the sort of thing you wish you'd known earlier?
  • More concretely: I was thinking of a mission that would start the players at an airfield. The job's to find and destroy a couple of APCs or similar that are hidden away in one of the bigger cities. The first phase of the mission would be recon, to find the vehicles (which would be guarded by some infantry), the second would be on foot: going in and destroying the targets. Does this sort of setup make sense to those of you more experienced at making missions? What are the things to keep in mind?

Anyway, that's it. Any help, tips or links would be much appreciated. Cheers!
"Until now we scraped along the ground like rats, but from now on, we soar. Like eagles. Yeah. LIKE EAGLES... ON... POGO STICKS." - Grim Fandango
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Re: Helping a beginner: small-scale coop with helicopters

Postby SuicideKing » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:23 pm

Hi!

We probably haven't met, if we have, excuse my memory. :lol:

Some of the missions I've made *do* include helicopters, but they're usually not the main focus. In our sessions (ever since i've joined) the main role for helicopters is logistics. We're not great at CAS (I don't know how it was in the A2 days, I wasn't here), so that's less frequently a role.

I think the first question I'd ask you is, can the role you have in mind be fulfilled by an AI? I ask this because the helo pilot may get bored after boots are on the ground.

I think three main roles are CAS, troop/vehicle/cargo transport and recon.

You've already got a good setup going with the mission you've mentioned, with recon extraction elements. A littlebird can be used for a quick insertion and extraction, while the pilot and maybe even a co-pilot provide recon support.

With CAS, you can use a gunship has an excellent force multiplier and lead a small group through fairly heavy opposition. The smaller group may want to get in to recover an item or blow up or hack something - or assassinate or secure an HVT/VIP. Alternatively, littlebird CAS can be used as support against infantry and light vehicles. Pilot remains engaged throughout the mission as well.

Finally, with logistics, a helo may drop off troops, go get them a vehicle or ammo, maybe even extract them later. This is probably more suited to AI than a pilot, especially if it's only delivery. Alternatively, the helicopter that delivered you and your vehicle may need to extract some cargo. BTW I have no clue whether slingloading was a thing in A2 or not.

As far as tips are concerned, probably start with a simplish mission without any scripting involved. You already mentioned F2, and F3 has been a great tool for me, so I don't have much to add there. From there onwards, its more about how much time and effort you're willing to put in to make your imagination come to life, and how patient you can be with Arma's quirks. Search google for things, you will invariably find them.

Your idea is pretty good too - just go for it! Players will give you feedback, and you can tweak accordingly. You could probably look at some of our missions chilling on the mission making server, or hop on to the FA Discord server, and ask stuff in the mission making channel.

Cheers!
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Re: Helping a beginner: small-scale coop with helicopters

Postby Thirith » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:37 pm

Thanks, that's all very useful. :)

Concerning your point re: helo pilots getting bored, with the vague ideas I have in mind I could imagine that, say, a pilot/spotter team takes off first to recon the city while the remaining players (and possibly a bunch of AI) hop in a personnel carrier. By the time they've arrived, the helo crew is ready to land and join the ground assault. It's probably not very realistic, but it'll allow for some air time. Alternatively, if a group of four can pull off the assault, I could imagine putting them a bit away from the target with two small choppers, so they do a first round of aerial recon first, decide where best to land and then attack on foot.

I also have some ideas for more silly, fun missions for the end of a session: a kind of Crazy Taxi mission where everyone's in a helicopter and tasked with bringing key personnel back to base, and the person who gets the most wins. Perhaps that's my GTA Online experience butting in, though. :mrgreen:
"Until now we scraped along the ground like rats, but from now on, we soar. Like eagles. Yeah. LIKE EAGLES... ON... POGO STICKS." - Grim Fandango
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Re: Helping a beginner: small-scale coop with helicopters

Postby Thirith » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:55 pm

Quick follow-up, since I've thought about my mission in a bit more detail. I'll outline below what my ideas are, and any feedback would be much appreciated:

BluFor setup:
  • The squad starts at Balota Airfield near Chernogorsk, where BluFor has a small base.
  • The squad has 8 playable units, including two anti-tank units.
  • At the base, there are two Littlebirds (unarmed) and one vehicle that has space for the entire squad.
  • There are also some AI units that will stay behind to protect the base.

OpFor setup:
  • OpFor has one APC and squad placed close to the W side of Chernogorsk; after 3-8 minutes they will start heading for the airfield. (Or when they spot a chopper overhead?)
  • There's another APC and squad placed further inside Chernogorsk, probably in some protected area. They'll guard the area.
  • I'm thinking of having another squad patrol Chernogorsk in the area between where APC 1 starts and APC 2 is based.

Objectives:
  • Locate and destroy two enemy APCs in and around Chernogorsk.
  • Protect the base at Balota Airfield. (This appears when the friendly AI units come under attack.)
  • Return to Balota Airfield.

Win/Lose conditions:
  • Lose 1: All playable units are dead.
  • Lose 2: The AI squad at the airfield is dead and there are OpFor units at the airfield.
  • Win: Both APCs have been destroyed, the squad is back at base, and no remaining OpFor units are near the base.

Does all of this make sense? Perhaps it's too complicated for a first MP mission, but based on the tutorials I've read and watched I have a fairly clear idea of how to go about this. What I have no idea about, though, is balancing: do the numbers make sense? Any feedback from those with experience, whether about balancing or other issues, would be much appreciated
"Until now we scraped along the ground like rats, but from now on, we soar. Like eagles. Yeah. LIKE EAGLES... ON... POGO STICKS." - Grim Fandango
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