I'm still doing maintenance updates on my first three missions, but I've started working on two new ones:
Still in the preliminary stages, Paveway features a Spec Ops team (either Marine Force Recon or Army SF units in testing at the moment) on Utes. Utes is a small island with an excellent variety of terrain features. You can walk around the whole island in a relatively small amount of time, while feeling like it's a big area, thanks to the varying terrain.
The back story for Operation Paveway is that a hostile force has established a military presence on a previously peaceful island, that sits on the supply route for the BLUFOR group. The players are tasked with a punitive raid, to convince the enemy to think twice about having a garrison on the small island.
Currently the triggers are complete, with a staggering nine objectives, including extraction. I'm looking into making some of the objectives optional, requiring only a few of the tasks to be completed prior to extraction, with different endings based on the number of objectives completed. This would help with keeping the mission fresh during replay, with players able to choose different tasks than they have on previously runs.
With the sheer number of objectives, I'm trying to figure out whether I need to give the players extra ammo (backpacks!) at the start, or have ammo crates positioned strategically near some of the objectives. There always seem to be some players that burn through hundreds of rounds of ammo, and those that ditch their issued weapon for an enemy one at the first opportunity, so it may be a lot of planning and testing for naught. The number of Spec Ops units that can use backpacks (Operation Arrowhead units) is limited, so my instinct is go with the Force Recon Marines (they look cooler!).
The other question for Paveway is whether to run it during daytime or night. Utes is a high client FPS map, so having NVGs shouldn't hinder player frame-rates horribly. A day time raid would be much tougher, but would also force the players to choose brute force or finesse. The mission is designed to require finesse, so daytime might be mean (which I'm famous for in my missions). Some play-testing will help tell which is more fun, which is the ultimate goal.
Eyes on the Prize
My first attempt at a Team vs Team (TvT) map, Eyes on the Prize is actually TvTvT (3-way action). Set in Zargabad, Eyes has three factions: Private Military Contractors (PMCs), Insurgents and US Army troops. The goal is have up to 30 players fighting it out in Zargabad, with each team trying to recover an objective and return it to their base, while preventing their enemies from doing the same.
The initial stumbling block has been the objectives/triggers. I had intended to have the teams vying for the same objective (a laptop), but I have not been able to figure out how to make it work. Instead, at least temporarily, I have shifted to each team trying to recover a vehicle. The vehicles are strategically placed, so that the teams will be stepping on each other trying to get to them, with some interesting urban terrain nearby to allow for some good MOUT action.
One challenge has been finding locations for bases/extraction zones for the three teams that are approximately the same travel time to the objective area. I want to avoid building a FOB from scratch, and instead build on an existing compound that makes sense for the team. The PMC crew is working out of a walled housing compound, the US Army out of a small military compound, and the insurgents from an industrial complex.
Balance is going to be a challenge, as far as the vehicle assets to the three factions, as well as the weapon loadouts. The goal is to get the players quickly into the fight, without anything overpowering (Mk19 grenade launchers). The other question is whether to have ammo caches in the planned engagement area, or to force players back to their bases if they expend all their ammo.
The final question is whether to implement a ticket system, as an alternate method of achieving victory. If one team plays spoiler and just keeps destroying the target vehicles, having a second way to win would help. Blackpython has posted a ticket system that looks really promising, so I will probably give this a try depending on how initial play-testing goes.
These missions will appear on the Delta server initially for dedicated tested, and if all goes well, appear on the Alpha server in the next few weeks. If you are interested in being a tester, send me a PM with your player name and which mission you are interested in. Thanks!
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