Writing ArmA 3 briefings for Folk ARPS

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Writing ArmA 3 briefings for Folk ARPS

Postby fer » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:36 pm

Note: To make things even easier, after reading this thread check out the F3 Web Tools Briefing Code Generator and Debriefings Code Generator. Both tools contain embedded help texts drawn from this post.

I want to write a briefing for my new Folk ARPS mission. What should I know?
Comrades, when writing a briefing for a mission that will be played in an FA session, you have two allies: brevity and consistency.

  • Brevity means conveying all the important information whilst requiring the CO and other players to read as little as possible.
  • Consistency means using the sections and sub-sections of the briefing file correctly, so the reader knows exactly where to go for each type of information.
Your biggest enemy, aside from poor grammar and spelling, is the urge to tell stories with long paragraphs of text. There is great value in a mission having an underlying narrative, but better ways to convey it.

This post is a guide to using the briefing template in F3, which was evolved from the five-paragraph order, a real military concept. Like its real-world counterpart, the sections of the template are designed to answer a sequence of simple questions:

  • What's going on?
  • What must we do?
  • How will we do it?
  • What else should we know?

Situation

The question this tab answers is: What's going on?

An opening paragraph conveys the essence of the situation. Try using two sentences: the first for the broader context (e.g. theatre level), the second for the local situation.

At the height of the war, the island of Stratis is the focus of heavy fighting. The outpost at Camp Rogain has recently fallen to NATO forces.

Under the sub-heading ENEMY FORCES provide the CO with key information about the enemy: type, strength, armaments and position. You don't need to be exhaustive, or even wholly accurate; you can also use linked map markers.

ENEMY FORCES
A platoon of NATO regulars, supported by a single tank, is dug in at Camp Rogain. Other NATO troops are patrolling the countryside to the south.

Under the sub-heading FRIENDLY FORCES provide the CO with a guide to any friendly, non-playable units in the AO (area of operations, where the mission takes place): type, strength, armaments and position. Again, linked markers are helpful here; you can also be more accurate and indicate their orders.

FRIENDLY FORCES
A company of CSAT troops has captured the airbase on the west of Stratis, but is low on fuel and immobile.

Note: if no friendly forces are present, simply delete the sub-heading FRIENDLY FORCES and move on to the next tab.

Mission

The question this tab answers is: What must we do?

The words on this tab must convey the primary objective of the mission (and no more) in the most concise manner possible. For simple missions, aim for a single sentence:

Recapture the outpost at Camp Rogain.

It's tempting to convey the whole briefing on this tab, but the more you add, the harder it becomes for the CO to see the core objective of the mission.

Execution

The question this tab answers is: How will we do it?

Note: For Folk ARPS missions, you can often delete this tab completely, because the CO will formulate and communicate the plan. However, if you want to provide strong guidance on how to play the mission (perhaps it will be released to public servers), you can use the sub-sections as follows:

Under the sub-heading COMMANDER'S INTENT provide the players with an idea of how they should aim to complete the mission:

COMMANDER'S INTENT
Suppress the enemy position with smoke and grenade fire, then assault up the hill.

Under the sub-heading MOVEMENT PLAN outline any specific orders for moving the players around the map:

MOVEMENT PLAN
All infantry squads move to the road north of the camp and hold there until the enemy outpost has been suppressed, then assault the enemy positions directly.

Under the sub-heading FIRE SUPPORT PLAN identify any long range or artillery assets at the players' disposal (these could be player operated, or scripted):

FIRE SUPPORT PLAN
No fire support is available.

Under the sub-heading SPECIAL TASKS outline any specific actions the players must perform:

SPECIAL TASKS
Destroy the enemy tank using AT rocket fire.


Administration

The question this tab answers is: What else should we know?

There are no pre-defined sub-headings for this tab, but commonly covered topics include vehicles and special equipment (or lack thereof). Here is an example:

VEHICLES
Each squad begins pre-mounted in a truck. CO, DC and attachments begin pre-mounted in their own trucks.

SMOKE ROUNDS
All SLs and FTLs have been issued with extra smoke rounds for their UGLs.


Credits

The question this tab answers is: who can we blame when the server explodes?

As per the tradition laid down by comrade missionmaker Housemaster, we like to write things like this:

Made with love for Folk ARPS by Housemaster.

Made with F3 (http://www.ferstaberinde.com/f3/en/)

Note: The credit for F3 is already in the file.

Okay, I understand; but what about the awesome backstory I've written?
If you want to include this kind of material, there are two guidelines:

  • Create a new tab in the briefing, with a title like "Background" or "Campaign"
  • Ensure nothing vital to the mission is contained in this new tab (imagine it may not be read by the CO)
Got it. Anything else I should know?
Just this: it can take a while to write a good briefing; more accurately, it can take a while to finish editing a briefing to make it as concise as possible whilst retaining the key points. Never be afraid to spend a serious amount of time on this task - it's worth it; hosts and comrades will thank you.
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Re: Writing ArmA 3 briefings for Folk ARPS

Postby fer » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:43 pm

Comrades, I'm bumping this thread to gently remind mission makers about the value of brevity:

fer wrote:
  • Brevity means conveying all the important information whilst requiring the CO and other players to read as little as possible.
Your biggest enemy, aside from poor grammar and spelling, is the urge to tell stories with long paragraphs of text. There is great value in a mission having an underlying narrative, but better ways to convey it.

fer wrote:Okay, I understand; but what about the awesome backstory I've written?
If you want to include this kind of material, there are two guidelines:

  • Create a new tab in the briefing, with a title like "Background" or "Campaign"
  • Ensure nothing vital to the mission is contained in this new tab (imagine it may not be read by the CO)

If your Situation tab has a scroll-bar (if any of your tabs have scroll-bars), please assume the persona of a ruthless tabloid sub-editor and revise your text. COs and SLs will thank you, as will hosts anxious to minimise the briefing phase without compromising planning quality. Also, you're less likely be detained by Party officials.
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