Mission Design is an important aspect to consider in order to keep the player(s) entertained. Arma is a game after all!
But what makes a mission enjoyable? This page aims to define what players usually expect from a game:
- Wanting to play through the whole mission
- Seeing an effect to their actions
- In the end, having a sense of accomplishment.
The meat of player's interest is here; an achieved goal must reward the player with an evolution: either a reward (new intel, less enemies, easier progress) or a scenario evolution (enemy counterattack, reinforcements incoming, radio update).
In missions without scenario (or a very basic one), fighting is the main course. Players want to fight, battle, win over the other team. So firefight it is!
Balance is a bigger concern in these missions as a feeling of unfairness can kill the mood. Balance does not mean equal forces (e.g 1 airplane, 3 tanks and 20 soldiers each) but it should mean that with same-level players, the chances of winning is 50/50 (or 33.33/33.33/33.33 in the event of a tripartite scenario).
If forces are imbalanced, think of GoldenEye (N64) Golden Gun system: a player with an insta-kill weapon stood against all the other players, but had to reload after each shot. In Arma this could be translated as one person having an assault helicopter with Air-to-Ground locking missiles, while all the other players have AA guns and try to take him down.
Another example of "balanced imbalance" would be high technology blufor forces outnumbered 2 to 1 by rusty AK47-equipped insurgents - the goal would then be to Survive, Adapt, and Win.
|DeathMatch||Top Score on the screen||N/A|
|Team DeathMatch||Side's Score on the screen||N/A|
|Capture The Flag||A Notification on flag taken/captured/dropped/picked up|
|CTI||A Notification on city under attack/captured/lost|
|Sector Control||A Notification on sector under attack/captured/lost|
|Last Man||Number of Survivors on the screen||N/A|
PvE (rarely PvP) (SP/MP)
The basics are that most stories follow the narrative structure, which can be boldly boiled down to the following step:
bringing imbalance to the situation
|Actions and resulting events||
|Dénouement||Dénouement means the end of actions and situation evolution, it can be:
While the mission's goal can remain hidden or obscure to the player(s), his current goal must be crystal clear. For example, the end goal of "fighting back" can remain hidden, but the first goal of "patrol the camp" must be made obvious so the player is not at loss and feels he has something to accomplish.
|During blufor/opfor war, a specops operation at night with the objective to blow up enemy tanks||N/A||Player's role: fulfilling the mission||Tanks are blown up||Extraction||This scenario may look bland, and should therefore focus on immersion and achievement|
|During blufor/opfor war, a specops operation at night with the objective to blow up enemy tanks||While approaching, the alarm is raised because the opfor got some information about a night attack.||Player's role: fulfilling the mission while a sub-group goes and creates a diversion in another depot||Diversion is made, then tanks are blown up||Extraction||This additional event gives (the) player(s) the feeling to have influenced the story, making the cooperation feel useful|
|Normal day||Enemies attack the base||Riposting, taking fire
Player's role: take strategical shooting positions and cover fellow soldiers
|Killing/defeating all the enemies||Back to normal||Same as above, the scenario might be seen as too simple ("defending") and immersion should be prioritised|
|Normal day||Nuclear attack||Panic, explosions, firefights
Player's role: survive
|Getting to a long-range radio||HQ sends a team to extract the player||This whole scenario is based on player's survival|