I have put together this info guide for people to consider when making missions, whether your new or an old hand with making missions with ASOR I think this could be helpful, I have included a post mission checklist you can use once you have built your mission to check off.
BUILDING A SOLID MISSION
Building a successful mission has three key factors in my opinion, functional, immersive and fun.
- Functional is easy, it needs to work and needs to have the basics ASOR is used to having to allow us to just get in and do the scenario as we always do. Mission Loads, Not laggy, Gear Selector, Vehicle Selector, Base, Cargo, Units etc.
- Immersive is much harder and this is where the mission structure and design comes into play. Have a poor structure and it feels wrong immersion is lost. The scenario and the mission itself has to make sense to the forces that we play without that you will lose your mission immersion before even hitting the ground.
- Fun, sounds easy but fun isnt always fighting 1000 enemy or fun isnt running 2km to hear someone else fighting someone. Fun is achieved through the mission balance and design.
So a solid mission requires a working op with a good structure and design balanced for the force that we have. Too easy.
NEW MISSION MAKERS
So many new mission makers start with some crazy idea that requires two Lecks’ to script and probably still wont work come ARMA dedicated environment. So much is scripted for our mission makers through ASOREdit, start within its capability and build something with a proper structure first, it will get you through functional and probably 50% of immersive and fun. Build from there in what you learn.
START AT THE START
When any of us plan a operation we usually have some idea of what we want as the main part of the mission and probably what map we want it on. Use that but put it in a formal structure so you complete the scenario. Want to capture a town? Want to patrol a valley? Want to rescue a hostage? This is where you start:
WHERE, WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY
The mission overall needs all of these answered convincingly, every objective/phase in your mission needs this answered, if it doesn’t immersion will be lacking and the structure probably flawed. As you apply whatever that ‘thing’ is you want to do answering these will build you a mission structure and probably create a mission flow.
BASIC MISSION STRUCTURE
Start with putting your idea into Primary, Secondary or Tertiary objective categories. A basic mission structure consists of a Primary Objective and any number of Secondary Objectives that either need to be completed in order to achieve the Primary Objective or will significantly make achieving the Primary Objective a lot easier.
Tertiary Objectives are your bonus or side objectives, they may just be targets of opportunity in the area we are operating or they may be enablers for secondary objectives, generally not required to be completed but great if they are. Tertiary Objectives are great time fillers if the mission finishes early and you need to go on for a bit or your mission is moving to quick you can have ‘side’ missions to fill that time.
For an example, I want to have a hostage rescue mission on X map, to apply a structure I would say the rescue itself is my primary objective. I can then fill the night with secondary objectives to make up a full operation. Secondary objective strike a known enemy QRF position, another strike the enemy escape routes or capability like an airfield or fuel supply. A tertiary might be a high level figure that is know to be at the fuel supply for example or a house nearby.
Objectives don’t necessary have to have an order in which they need to be completed, you can leave that to commander’s discretion but it always makes for good mission flow when they do and having objectives that cannot be completed unless some other objective is completed makes the success of any objective mission more desperate and therefore more intense for those involved.
The Primary Objective does not have to be the largest and most significant task we complete it should just be the thing we want to achieve most. Secondary Objectives when they enable us to achieve our Primary Objective could be the longest part of any mission. If you look at it from the perspective that we are returning to base once we achieve our Primary Objective, then you obviously do not want it completed at 30mins into your mission but you also don’t want it to be not complete 3hrs in.
EXAMPLE: BASIC MISSION STRUCTURE FOR A TOWN ASSAULT.
Primary Objective: Capture the Town
Secondary Objective 1: Destroy Artillery position with over watch of town.
Secondary Objective 2: Eliminate AAA battery on hill 101.
Secondary Objective 3: Prevent Counter Attack from North West town.
Tertiary Objective 1: Gather intelligence on town positions from Artillery and AAA assaults.
Tertiary Objective 2: Capture General Blah in town.
Tertiary Objective 3: Secure fuel depot undamaged.
SCALE AND REALISM
Most commonly ASOR plays as a special forces element in any operations it plays, its not required to be that but 99% of the time that is what we do. We are also commonly only two squads strong plus some support elements or less so that is not even a platoon strength. Therefore to achieve the immersion side of things that comes from realism the mission design needs to factor this in. You can still do missions that involve large scale operations however you will lose the realism when two squads are meant to capture a beach head 3km wide or cover an area on foot 3km by 3km or advance through enemy territory with no flank support etc.
This is where notional forces such as the ASOR 1SQN, 2SQN and 3SQN or any of the ASOR squads not in use such as ALPHA, BRAVO, CHARLIE, DELTA or ECHO can play a part, using them in any brief or to fill gaps in your WHERE, WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY will not only make the mission seen more realistic but also help you control the scenario helping with the flow.
The other part of realism is the location, behaviour and response of enemy ai, they can be hard to get them to do what you want sometimes but generally getting it right helps. Putting in defenses that make sense, ie a bunker that is covering a likely enemy approach or dead ground, camps in hidden ground, fobs in high ground. Think about if you are the defender where would your enemy attack and how would you stop it.
Behaviour and responses of our enemy adds a lot to a mission, if ASOR take a strategic point you would probably expect a measured response to that, counter attack or the likes. Enemies would move in dead ground unseen, think about spawning enemy much closer in these locations for greater threat, its possible they got there unseen and makes them look smarter.
Scale can also effect fun, a massive mission with little enemy is not much fun, this is where balance comes in.
MISSION BALANCE AND ADAPTABILITY
Balancing your mission can be very difficult especially when we get a large difference in attendance numbers day to day. It also can be hard to judge how difficult or easy an objective or simple movement can take. ASOREdit and ZUES help mitigate this balance by either adding or removing enemy as needed. When making a mission you will get the best results by building in some adaptability to every mission structure.
Adaptability comes from using manual or controlled zones to small enemy, these can be used to control the flow of the enemy against us or spawn additional enemy assets to keep our support assets in the mission like tanks, apcs, helicopters or jets. Alternatively if its a slow night the additional forces can be left out or slowed and a good balanced is achieved.
In the end there is just simple requirements that are needed or your mission is going to suffer.
- There are no ZONES spawning anything in the first 30 secs. Preferably nothing spawns when we are at base and base remains secure during operation.
- The required main base items are in the mission:
- ASOR Settings Module (Respawn Set to 180s Minimum)
- Headless Client(ODEN) is in and set to PLAYABLE.
- Marker “respawn_west” or “respawn_east” is present and in the right place.
- QRF Point with Medical Tent enabled as a ACE facilities for medics.
- Any markers used for the Location Selector have description text i.e “spawnptQRF” has QRF in the description.
- Gear, Vehicle and Cargo selectors available.
- ASOR Main Sign is easily found when spawning in for late comers.
- Commander, XO and Intel Officer are only roles with ZEUS modules and are setup correctly and ZEUS works on the SERVER.
- The required ASOR teams are in the mission from the required factions | Set to PLAYABLE | One unit also set to PLAYER.
- There are no Squad double ups across factions if using more than one faction.
- Any other Medical Facilities are enabled to be ACE Medical Facilities.
- Final Server Check Conducted
- Confirmed gear and vehicle selectors work on the server.
- Mission works without errors in editor and loads on the server without issue.
- Respawn works to correct location.
- Location Selector has Names.
- Commanders handover is completed in a text file to the commander of the night | At minimum the operation name is updated on the Operations webpage (preferably full brief).