Author: THobson
Author Website:

Requirements: General Barron's Editor Update (included)
Island(s):
Playable options:

Version: 1.4

Date: 2018-07-13 08:08


Comments: (1)
Rating:



 




Abandoned Armies

by THobson


Description:
Single Player mission for Operation Flashpoint. Built and tested in Operation Flashpoint version 1.96

Long and difficult. Intended to be played in Veteran mode. There are no player waypoints to help the Cadet and having the player's location shown on the map will destroy the atmosphere.

Background:

This is a long and challenging mission. You start off badly armed and alone on an island almost fully occupied by two large armies. The armies have jeep patrols and road convoys running all the time, towns are searched by infantry from the convoy vehicles, helicopter patrols are flying permanently and all moving units return to their base to be repaired and refuelled. In other words both armies are going about their normal business. As you progress you will assemble a small group of assorted individuals that will help you in the mission.

An important design requirement on my part was to create a mission where the player would keep thinking 'Now what should I do?' and have a lot of options to choose from. It is down to the player what to do and when to do it, and the consequences will reflect the action taken. There is no right way to do this mission, but there are many wrong ones. For example, after assembling a small badly armed and relatively unskilled team would your first inclination be to attack the main base of one of the enemies? A better alternative might be to adopt hit and run guerrilla tactics, grind them down and develop your team (yes the skill level of your team will increase as you make progress). But it is up to you, the armies will respond appropriately to whatever you do. If you get into an impossible situation anywhere on the island where you are swammped with enemies, it is because you got yourself into it, not because I tricked you.


Several things led me to me to make this mission:

1. I have long felt it unrealistic to have multi-location encounters with the enemy, where the soldiers at each location seem totally unaware of what has happened to their mates elsewhere. This led me to want to create a ‘whole island’ environment where a lot of things are happening across the whole of one island and within this environment several missions could be created.

2. My previous mission Defensive Strike was criticised a bit for having an unoriginal story line. I believe this mission has fairly unusual story.

3. I always wanted to create a three-way fight where resistance was friendly to no-one.

So, this is the result.


I could have made several missions within a single campaign instead of making one large mission. The reason I did not do this is I did not wish to force the player into doing things in a specific order, and I did not want to take away from the player the challenge of trying to figure out what to do, when to do it, and how. In this mission you are let loose on an island and it is up to you what you do - though of course there are pointers to help guide you.

There is quite a lot of randomisation in the mission to increase its unpredictability.

The size of this mission makes it unsuitable for low powered machines. My pc is a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 that benchmarks at 4000. I have added an option to allow players with slightly lower spec machines to play, but given the size of the mission there is a limit to how much this will help.

This is a long mission. It may be possible to complete it in under 10 hours (mission time) but I would not recommend being so hasty. One beta tester took over 24 hours mission time, that is the only time I have seen beta reports that start: 'Day 2:...'.


There is fighting, and lots of it, but not all the time, not for a while after the start and not all done by you. I have tried to create a mission that has atmosphere with a story line that generates some emotional involvement. I do not expect everyone to like this mission. Finishing it is meant to be difficult and time consuming. It is intended to require tenacity and a lot of time.






Features:
Other:

In addition to the custom script for rearming empty tanks (see above) there are other things I have created specifically for this mission:

AV and AP mines:
I wanted to provide the player with greater flexibility in the use of mines than OFP provides so I created some anti-vehicle mines and some anti-personnel mines. The AV mines will be detonated by any land vehicle - not just armour units. The AP mines will be detonated by any foot soldier, civilian or any land vehicle. Detailed instructions are given in the mission.

Joining up of small groups:
Small infantry groups can behave erratically and are more likely to run-away than larger groups. When an army is in its final stages of destruction there are likely to be many small groups of infantry, together with any crew that have successfully escaped from damaged vehicles. I have written a script specifically to deal with this situation. The script will join up small infantry groups into larger ones. It works dynamically in that it ignores units that are inside a vehicle, but once they disembark it will include them in any future joining up.
http://www.ofpec.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=36&topic=27971.0

Faces and Voices:
I have specifically selected the faces and voices of many of the people you will come across in the mission. To help me on deciding which to use I created a small mission that enabled me to cycle through all the many options of faces, expressions and voices available in the game.
http://www.ofpec.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=36&topic=27955.0

Music in vehicles:
There may be times when you decide to take a long drive. Most vehicles have music capabilities. Just use your action menu when inside the vehicle.

Opening and closing gates:
There is one scene where an individual is inside a compound. Under certain circumstances someone will open the gate, the individual in the compound will then exit the compound and the gate will close. There is a specific script written just so that the gate will swing open and close in a smooth and realistic way.



Saving and resuming the mission:

This is not a mission that is likely to be completed in a single session. You will want to save the mission at certain times and you will need to exit to get food, sleep, earn a living, pass your exams or just think about what to do next. As a result an unusual feature of Flashpoint became apparent during beta testing. Even long-term experienced players were caught out.

When you return to the mission from the Overview screen by selecting Resume you will be taken to the save the game made automatically the very last time you Aborted the mission, that is you will be taken back to the position you were in the last time you exited the mission alive. All the other saves available are ignored. As a result, if you have a later save then on re-entering the game you must press Esc and then select either Load or Retry depending on which save game you wish to go to. In short: if on returning to the mission after leaving it for a while you find yourself at a place that is surprising to you, pressing Esc and then Retry will probably get you to where you expected to be.

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Accelerated time:

This is a mission in which the atmosphere is as important as the action. It is an island to live in, not simply run through blasting at soldiers. As much as possible I want the player to live the mission in real time. For this reason I have disabled the accelerated time feature. Beta testers who originally did not like this were all won round to agreeing that this did improve the experience. Indeed it is essential to the experience.

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Reorganising your team:

As you progress in the mission you will be joined by assorted individuals. As you assemble the team you may wish to change the locations of certain units in your squad. For example you may wish to put an experienced soldier as your number 2, have a medic somewhere in the middle, not have all your inexperienced units on one side of you when in wedge formation etc. etc.

This mission provides you with the capability of completely rearranging the sequence of your team. When you activate this capability you will get a list of all the members of your team with an option to select the current unit or to finish. You can go to any member of the team by clicking on their name in the list. The first unit you select will be your number 2; the second you select will be you number 3, etc. When you select Finished all those team members that you have not so far selected will fill up the remaining slots in your team retaining their current sequence. This is also a useful way to interact with the individuals on your team.

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Team Skill levels:

Some of the members of your team start off pretty inexperienced, this is reflected by them having low skill levels. As you progress during the mission they will gain experience and their skill levels will rise. So the complete novice that joins you early on will not stay that way and may even become one of your best killers. Keep your eye on their skill level.

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Cutscenes:

There are several cut scenes in this mission (the exact number depends on what you do and the order you do them). These cutscenes are not just for atmosphere - they are intended to convey important information to the player, you should watch and listen carefully. There is information in some cutscenes that will not be repeated anywhere else in the mission. Stay alert! The mission is still playable without this information, but some of the things you come across might be a bit puzzling.

Many of the cutscenes are dynamic in that the dialogue will be different depending on what the player has or has not done, who is or is not still alive etc. There are over 280 sound files in the mission - to hear them all you would need to play the mission many times, in many different ways.

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No Cheating:

Although the mission relies on scripts quite a lot, I have not cheated.
Fuel stations are used to refuel units. Kill the fuel station and units that use that station will not be refuelled (you may not want to do this).

Vehicles and crew are repaired at their base (but dead units are not replaced).

Occasionally vehicles and crew may be repaired during their journey. This will usually be prompted by a unit getting stuck. In other words the OFP engine has got a bit screwed up and the vehicles have done something silly. The repairing is meant to restore the situation to what it would have been without the screw up.

Minor damage that prevents any of the jeeps on patrol and some of the trucks in convoy from moving will (if there are any crew for that vehicle left alive) be repaired and the crew will get back in the vehicle. This is meant to simulate running repairs that the crew can make in the field.

Several scripts running in the background make a lot of use of moving waypoints. This is almost always random to ensure the playing experience is never the same and that the location of enemy units cannot be predicted.

One place where the waypoints are moved but not randomly is when a convoy detects an enemy unit. Here the infantry get out of their vehicles and their waypoints are moved to the location of an enemy close to the convoy that has been detected by the convoy. That is fair. It makes attacking a convoy difficult but it is not cheating, only units that have been detected by the convoy will be targeted in this way.

One minor cheat I have employed is that choppers do not land to re-fuel, but they do go to a fuel station if there is one that has fuel. You can kill a chopper by destroying all the fuel stations that side owns (yes there are more than one) and then wait for it to run out of fuel - but as it takes about 9 hours for a chopper to use a full tank of fuel you might wish to find a quicker way! Or maybe you decide you don't want to kill the chopper anyway.

I have tried to be as realistic as possible with this mission. For example, this is an island that has no electricity available to the civilians: all the street lights are turned off, but there are electricity generators running in each main base; it has little fuel not under military control: all fuel stations on the island, except some of those guarded by the soldiers, contain no fuel. When each road convoy reaches its destination the infantry it carries get out and search the town - you may find out what else they do during the course of the mission. They then get back in their vehicles and the convoy returns to base. These are the same soldiers that get out and attack any enemy detected by the convoy during its journey. After dealing with the enemy (or losing contact) they get back in their vehicles and the convoy continues on its way.

You will face a lot of enemies during the mission and in many cases they will be actively looking for you. I am not cheating here either, none of the enemies you kill will ever be respawned and I do not setPos the enemy so that they are close to you. If you see a tank in one part of the island and later see it somewhere else - it is either a different tank or it made the journey all by itself.

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Rearming Armour - OFP Bug:

Depending on what you do and where you go you may find some damaged armoured units that are in a repair facility. Obviously in such a situation the armour would have had all their ammunition removed - and indeed that is exactly what I have done. The armour units are damaged, they have very little fuel and no ammunition.

This brings me to the OFP Bug and my solution.
With OFP the 'Rearm at Ammo Truck' action will only top-up artillery shells that the tank already has. So if an Abrams has one HEAT and one Sabot left, rearming at an ammo truck will top these up to 35 each. BUT: If the tank has no HEAT shells or no Sabots it cannot get any from an ammo truck. Unbelievable I know but try it. Create an empty tank and an empty ammo truck some distance away. Get in the tank as gunner and fire off 34 of one type of shell and see what happens when you rearm at the truck, then fire off all 35 and try to rearm - you can't unless you were near the truck when you fired the last shell. If you are down to 0 HEATs or 0 Sabots you can't get more!!

My solution:
I have written a script that will rearm armoured units even if they have no ammunition. The script is smart enough to detect what type of tank it is dealing with and to give it the correct ammunition load. The rearming of the armoured units behaves exactly like the standard OFP version: the player needs to be in the armoured vehicle and near an ammo truck for it to become available, it even sounds the same. There are two differences: (1) My script will rearm a tank that has no ammunition, the standard OFP version will not; (2) My script gives the player the action to 'Re-arm at Ammo Truck' standard OFP gives you the action to 'Rearm at Ammo Truck' there is one small difference here so that it is clear which script is being activated.

Note that I have only made my script available to armoured units that start the mission with no ammunition. If you run out of ammunition in any other armoured unit then you will be faced with the standard OFP situation of not being able to get any more.

All this work and you may decide not to use any of these tanks at all!!

Refuelling Armour:
Take care. There is no fuel gauge on an OFP tank. Armoured units that are in for repair are likely to have very little fuel. Mine do anyway. Don't drive away without refuelling.

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Lag:

If you de-pbo this mission you might find the look of the map a bit strange. This was always going to be a big mission so I was conscious of the need to keep lag down right from the start. One thing I have done is to minimise the use of triggers, and where I have used triggers I delete them after they have been used.

If an event must happen in a way that is time or spatially critical (eg exploding a mine, or triggering certain cutscene) then I have used triggers.

If an event is not time or spatially critical then I have used slow looping scripts to do the checking (choppers have their fuel level checked about every 45 minutes), and when possible I have started these scripts only when they are likely to be needed. So, for example, checking that one of the armies has been destroyed is done by a script that loops every few seconds and that script is only started when the leader of that side is killed (using an EventHandler). The intent is to cut down on CPU load in the early parts of the mission when there is a lot going on.

I am still a very long way from the 63 maximum number of groups per side.

Despite all this there is lag. A lot is happening in the first 20 or so seconds of the mission and the lag may be noticeable then, I have made the start of the mission rather quiet from an action point of view to help get you though this.

There is also the possibility of lag in some locations on the island later in the mission. This is caused by large concentrations of units, especially armoured units, on that part of the island. Dead units and especially dead armour units will, over time, cause less lag than when they were alive. So after a while these laggy areas of the island will become much less laggy. Where are these laggy areas? Well that will depend on where most of the fighting takes place, and where the fighting takes place depends on the actions of you, the player.

In addition very serious lag can be caused by you having a large number of addons in your addon folder. This applies to all missions but would probably be most noticeable in this mission because of its size. There is a solution that would benefit performance for all your missions. You need to put all your unofficial addons into mod folders and use Ketgety's OFP Launcher. One beta tester transformed this mission from being so laggy that it was unplayable to being playable with no detectable lag just by doing this.

See the following:
Mods folder tutorial: http://www.ofpec.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=36&topic=27936.0 or
http://andrew.nf/OFP/BedtimeReading/modfolders.htm
Kegetys OFP Launcher: http://koti.mbnet.fi/kegetys/ofp/index.php?p=others
Mikero's list of the official addons: http://andrew.nf/OFP/BedtimeReading/PristineAddons.htm

I avoid this problem by having the Editor Upgrade as my only unofficial addon.

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Limiting Environmental features:

As a further aid to reducing lag for lower spec PCs the player is given the option at the start of the mission to reduce the environmental features (environmental sounds, non-playing characters etc.) in the mission. I chose to allow the player to make the decision rather than to make the decision myself on the basis of the player's benchmark for two reasons:

1. Some players with low spec PCs may wish to play with all the environmental features select and be prepared to suffer the resultant lag.

2. The results returned by the benchmark command are not a reliable indicator of the performance of a PC. Low spec high lag PCs can return higher benchmark results than more highly powered machines that suffer from less lag.

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Randomness:

I have used randomness wherever I can. Sometimes just to space out scripts that run in the background and sometimes to reduce the amount of predictability for the player.

If you de-pbo this mission you may find the use of waypoints a bit strange. Many groups have only a small number of waypoints, and these are located close together, but during the mission there are scripts that keep moving these waypoints to random locations. That way I keep down the number of CPU consuming waypoints and also introduce quite a lot of unpredictability in where many of the groups are going to be.

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EndGame:

It is big map so how do you find all the enemies? Well you just need to know where to look. Under certain conditions a script will begin running that will move all units to random locations in and around their base and another script will run that will ensure that as they take casualties small groups join together to form larger ones. So during the final stages of the destruction of one side look for survivors in their base, eventually that is where they will be. Don't worry, you don't have to kill every single one, just do them enough damage and they will give up and either surrender or run away.

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Addons:
(ECP, FlashFX, SkyPack etc.)

If you are using ECP:
This mission includes a custom script to give a realistic burn to vehicles (thanks to Babalon). This code is not added to vehicles if ECP is running.

I do not use ECP, FlashFX, SkyPack or any other similar addon so I have not personally tested the mission with any of these. Several of the beta testers were using these addons and from their reports it seems that ECP 1.071 & FlashFX do cause the large savegame bug to occur with this mission. If you are using these addons then I assume you are familiar with this bug.

Users of SkyPack found that the rain enhancements provided by that addon reduces visibility in this mission to an unacceptable level.

On that basis my advice is not to use ECP, FlashFX, SkyPack or any similar addon enhancements. This mission was written with the editor upgrade as the only addon. To use any other addon could result in you playing a mission different from the one I intended you to play, possibly with significantly lower visibility.

Update for ECP 1.085:
ECP 1.085 was released while this mission was in the late stages of beta testing. Early indications are that ECP 1.085 does not cause the large savegame bug to occur with this mission. I cannot comment on whether it changes the effective visibility when there is rain or fog so the comment above still applies.

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******************************************
SP missions:


To install Abandoned Armies you need to extract the .pbo file(s) to your
Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\ARMA Cold War Assault\Missions for ARMA CWA v1.99 (steam)
or
Program Files\Codemasters\Operation Flashpoint\Missions for Operation Flashpoint Resistance v1.96 (CD)


********************************************************************

AddOns:

To install the addon "editorupdate102.pbo", extract it into a modfolder for example:

Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\ARMA Cold War Assault\@GBEU\AddOns for ARMA CWA v1.99 (steam)
or
Program Files\Codemasters\Operation Flashpoint\@GBEU\AddOns for Operation Flashpoint Resistance v1.96 (CD)

Add "-nomap -mod=@GBEU" or equivalent after the call to your executable in your shortcut or if launching through steam, right click on the game listing in your library, select "properties", select "set launch options", and add the code before launching the game.


********************************************************************


Included files:
Abandoned Armies v1-40.Abel.pbo
AbandonedReadMeUpdated.txt
editorupdate_genbed.zip/
/editorupdate102.pbo
/GENB_EU_readme.txt
Picture 1.jpg
Picture 2.jpg
Picture 2a.jpg
Picture 3.jpg
Picture 4.jpg
Picture 6.jpg
Picture 8b.jpg



Credits & Thanks:
Credits:

To all: Please feel free to use any ideas or scripts you find here - I only ask that you give credit where it is due and say where you got it from.

For my part here are my acknowledgements:

First I have to admit to being influenced a great deal by macguba’s Un-Impossible Mission. There are many ideas in that mission that I have used here. I have mentioned them in the text of the relevant scripts, but a summary is worthwhile here:

Thanks to macguba for:
The idea of using switchMove ParaDead to simulate a hanging
The idea of moving triggers with vehicles to trigger onboard infantry to disembark.
The idea of Grouping infantry with armour and allowing the OFP engine to decide when they disembark/re-embark.
The concept of creating a large mission that few will finish.
The benefits of randomisation.
The use of fog to create an atmosphere
The idea of refining my custom script for AV and AP mines to require the player to have specific items in inventory

Others that I have benefited from are:
General Barron: Editor Upgrade and fireEffect script
Babalon: Smoke script
Blanco: FindObjects script
Xenofanes: Text tutorial
Vektorboson: Dialog tutorial
razorwings18: Dialog maker


plus all that have answered my questions on the OFPEC site over the last many months.

In addition this mission has benefited from a great many helpful, insightful and challenging suggestions of the beta testers to whom I am immensely grateful. These beta testers are (in order of their first report):
XCess
Macguba
SEAL84
bedges
djackl
Tarados Queng
456820
karantan
GuiltyRoachKillar
Fragorl
GI-YO
Planck
ACF
012345/Mr.Pibb
Henderson
.pablo.
dmakatra
Student Pilot
mikero
northener
General Barron
Goettschwan
Sir Test-A-Lot
Hawkins
Acecombat
tudders
lilwillie_WI
Uber-Pea
LukieTee
sharkyjoe
PTnbrvieira
CAS_Daniel
Bonko
KyleEasterly
marshmanguy
funkster
dantheman
Wingless;;;
Nosferax
yankme
Pravit
MrN
Dagon
Lean Bear
bored_onion
SpikeTennyson
Trapper
guenon

Every one has contributed in some way to improving this mission, but macguba and Mikero deserve special mention for their support, encouragement, tenacity and zero tolerance of imperfections.


I am also grateful to the following people for the donation of their voices (in approximate order of appearance):

Victoria Hobson : Anna Petrenco - Alexi's sister
Barbara Hobson : Mariana Petrenco - Alexi's mother
THobson (Me) : Alexi Petrenco
Jenny Hobson : Tatyana Ivanovich (née Petrov)
northener : Ruslan Ivanovich
Macguba : Sgt. Karl Danek
SpikeTennyson : Erik Kolarik
Andy Vale : Sgt. Yuri Visek
Victoria Hobson : Girl from Houdan
northener : Cpl. Marek Bocan
Chris Cafferty : Cpl. Pavel Ivanov
Macguba : Pte. Sergei Tabanov
Barbara Hobson : Woman at Dourdan
northener : Cpl. Viktor Novak
Barbara Hobson : Woman at Chapoi

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Thanks:

Thank you for downloading the mission and giving it a try. I can only hope you enjoy playing it half as much as I enjoyed making it.

Thanks to you all.

THobson

Comments please to:



License / Disclaimer:
If this were a film in the UK it would probably have a PG (Parental Guidance) rating on the basis of the following content:

Sex/nudity: occasional oblique references/none
Bad language: occasional, mild
Violence: extreme.


Spoilers:
Abandoned Armies Spoilers




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