Mission Design

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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:

  1. Wanting to play through the whole mission
  2. Seeing an effect to their actions
  3. In the end, having a sense of accomplishment.


Action/Reward

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).


Mission Structure

Gameplay Structure

PvP (DM/TDM/etc)

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!

When winning an objective, it is important to know that something has been achieved. If the action is not obvious by itself, use the HUD to inform the players.

Balance

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.

Examples

Game Type HUD Information
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

Narrative Structure

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:

Initial Situation
  • The initial situation does not have to be peaceful or positive
  • Briefing can be used to provide some background without having to create it in-game
Event
bringing imbalance to the situation
  • The origin of it is not always coming from the designated or future enemy
  • The event can or can not come from a player's action
Actions and resulting events
  • Actions can be taken against said event, but also (and/or) against its consequences
Dénouement Dénouement means the end of actions and situation evolution, it can be:
  • A lead to solve the initial situation
  • A way to escape it
  • Reaching the goal set by it
Ending
  • Ending does not always mean problem resolution; it can be:
    • Reducing the damages provoked by event's consequences
    • Leaving the immediate danger
    • Solving the initial problem and getting everything back to normal.
Scripting aside, The difference between Singleplayer and Multiplayer is the felt importance of Cooperation.

Mission Goal

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.

Examples

Initial Situation Event Actions Dénouement Ending Notes
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