ALiVE : Uprising — Playable Forces
Up to this point in the tutorial series, we’ve created three separate AI factions warring over control of Stratis.
- Eastern European Rebels (a faction from CAF Aggressors) have completely occupied Stratis, both its military and civilian areas.
- FIA militias rising up against the occupation have sprung up in the south near Girna and around LZ Connor.
- NATO has established a very small and secluded outpost and is sending a small detachment of advanced recon units to assess the situation and secure a small strategic foothold.
While this is great to watch…all we can do is watch! It’s time to add some playable slots and work with some really powerful ALiVE modules that enhance the player experience.
The first step here is to create playable units. I’m assuming you already know how to do this, and there’s nothing special you need to do differently. Just drop playable units like normal.
I created the following playable units for Uprising:
- A 6-man NATO recon team
- A NATO sniper/spotter team
- A 10-man European Rebel squad
- Two 4-man FIA fireteams
- 10 individual Civilians
However, the mission is perfectly playable without needing to fill all of these slots. You can just bring a small group of friends and play as a single FIA fireteams. Because of ALiVE, the AI will still be controlling all factions and commanding them accordingly.
At this point, you essentially have a multiplayer mission. Just Save As… and Export to Multiplayer Mission from the editor and you’ll have a nice shiny PBO packed and ready for hosting; however, on such a large-scale mission it would be pretty challenging to secure any form of victory without some additional work.
Respawn with ALiVE Multispawn
An important part of any massive mission like this will be player respawn. It’s also the most involved, so let’s tackle it first. ALiVE provides a very cool module called Multispawn that allows mission builders to very easily configure respawn for sides and factions; however, before we can use the, we have to enable respawn correctly in our mission’s description.ext file.
In order to do this, open up the description.ext file in the mission’s root folder (the one we created earlier) and add ensure that the respawn setting is set to “BASE” or 3.
respawn = 3;
respawn = “BASE”;
Now we can head back into our mission editor and add the ALiVE Multispawn module. It does not need to be synced to anything. In the module’s configuration, there aren’t many options, but what’s there is very cool.
The Respawn Type is the major setting here. We can choose from:
- Spawn on Group: Players will respawn directly on their group members.
- Spawn in Vehicle: By creating a specially named vehicle, units would respawn inside the vehicle.
- Spawn in Building: By creating a specially named marker and placing it on any enterable building, players will respawn inside the marked building.
- Heli Insertion: By creating two specially named markers to mark the start point and landing zone for a helicopter, players would be inserted by a helicopter.
In all cases, if no appropriate group/marker/vehicle/building is not found, ALiVE will fall back to the standard ARMA respawn markers named respawn_west, respawn_east, etc for each side.
My initial concept was to have completely different Multispawn modules for each faction. NATO would ride in on boats, OPFOR would come in on helis, and FIA/Civilians would just spawn in buildings. Unfortunately, it seems that only one Multispawn module is currently allowed, so this was not possible. Maybe someday…
For Uprising, I’ve chosen Respawn in Building because I didn’t think all factions should have helicopters flying everyone around. It didn’t make sense for the FIA to even have helicopter access or for NATO to employ them at all since they are trying to keep a low profile. With this selection, all I had to do was create a specially named marker and place it on an appropriate building. The picture below shows OPFOR’s respawn at the main Office building on the airfield:
The most important thing here is the name of the marker. See the Multispawn module page for specifics on how the marker name works. I followed a similar procedure for both the FIA and the Civilian factions.
For NATO, I took a little different approach because they don’t really control any buildings at the onset, and I can’t guarantee that they will at any point. Instead, I wanted NATO to spawn at their landing spot, but there is no building there. What to do?
Luckily, ALiVE also allows you to place Group, Faction, and Side respawn markers, and it will fall back to those if the Multispawn cannot find an appropriate marker. So, all I had to do for NATO was place a Faction respawn marker near their landing area:
Now the Multispawn module will not find a building marker for NATO, so it will fall back to (in this order):
- the Group marker
- the Faction marker
- the Side marker
- the default ARMA respawn marker
This is extremely helpful, powerful, and flexible respawn management.
Perfect! Now all of our factions have respawn capabilities, but once we’re in the game, how do we know where to go?
Intelligence and Tasking with ALiVE C2ISTAR
In Uprising, I want the intelligence situation to be extremely limited and the player tasking structure to be very unstructured. I want players to decide how the scenario plays out, but I also don’t want them completely in the dark as to what’s happening. The ALiVE C2ISTAR module gives me this ability in a stupidly simple package. Simply drop the C2ISTAR module on the map; it does not need to be synced to anything.
The first thing that the C2ISTAR module allows players to do is provide standardized SITREPs and PATROLREPs to keep other players in the loop of what’s happening. In order to interact with C2ISTAR, the player must have a certain item in their inventory, as specified by the Item setting. By default, I believe this is set to “LaserDesignator”, but I wanted to use the “alive_tablet” because I wanted very fine control over who gets C2ISTAR access. There aren’t many ALiVE Tablets dropping out there in the wild, and you’d be hard-pressed to scavenge one off some dead AI.
Now, any player who has an ALiVE Tablet in their inventory can access the C2ISTAR interface through the ALiVE Menu > Player C2ISTAR option. Once there, you can select SITREP or PATROLREP to file one of these. This will let you add very detailed map markers and information that other players can see and utilize for intelligence. It’s really cool for not only after-action reporting but also for recon and observation teams to provide really detailed info to other friendly units.
As I said, I really want players to decide what to do and how to do it in Uprising, but we can also give them a little help in making that decision with C2ISTAR’s automatic tasking. You can see in the configuration above I’ve simply set both BLU and OPF tasking. I’ve told the module to automatically create tasks for all players under the FIA commander against the Rebel faction, and also vice-versa. It’s that simple; ALiVE will now automatically create random tasks for players in those factions to give them a little guidance on events happening around the AO.
In Uprising, these are merely suggestions and have no bearing on victory; they merely act as guidelines on where you might be able to go for a fight.
C2ISTAR will also act to give players an intelligence picture. It will periodically scan the map for incidents and military units. You can tweak how detailed this information is and how often it updates with the Intel Coverage setting. I’ve chosen “Low Coverage” for Uprising to keep information limited, but if you want a ton of information for players you can increase the coverage.
With the Friendly Coverage setting, C2ISTAR will always highlight all friendly units within a certain distance on your map. I’ve turned this off for Uprising.
With the Sectors settings, C2ISTAR is able to highlight areas of the map where military units or players currently are. I’ve turned both of these off for Uprising.
Together with the automatic tasking and the intelligence picture, C2ISTAR will produce something like this without any work from the mission builder:
Player Combat Logistics
Now that our players know where the action is, they’ll need a way to resupply in the field. Enter ALiVE’s Player Combat Logistics module. This module allows players to send requests for reinforcements, resupply, and base-building tools. It’s pretty damn cool. You can request these supplies via airdrop, helicopter, or convoy, and each has different advantages and restrictions.
An airdrop, for instance, is completely safe as the requested units/items will simply be paradropped in; however, these drops are susceptible to wind, so there’s no telling that they’ll end up exactly where you requested them. A helicopter is faster, but has a lower payload and can be shot down. A convoy has the largest payload, but is very susceptible to ground attack.
In Uprising, I only wanted to allow Convoys as I again did not feel that any of the factions should have access to air units. I also configured it so only players with the ALiVE Tablet in their inventory can make resupply requests.
ALiVE will choose an HQ or large objective to spawn the logistics vehicles at, and they will have to spend time loading all the required units and materials before they embark to your specified destination. If you order a large convoy, expect to hold your ground for a really long time; however, if they make it to you, the payoff can be huge. Players can access the Logistics options through the ALiVE Menu > Player Combat Support option.
You can order reinforcements to garrison a base you’ve just taken, or order base-building supplies to establish a new OP. ALiVE’s Player Logistics actions (can be toggled on/off through the ALiVE Menu) give you the ability to pick up and move objects through the normal context menu. This creates some really powerful opportunities for players.
You must be aware that the Player Logistics module uses the exact same Force Pool as the AI Commander does, so while you might think you want 500 units to garrison the airfield you just took (and they will!), you’ve now removed all of those units from your faction’s global reinforcement pool. Use your units and supplies wisely. If your faction does not have access to tanks, then you won’t be able to ask for them through logistics either (though they will appear in the menu).
ALiVE provides a very simple Dynamic Weather module that creates weather events according to a specified climate, and it automatically syncs that weather across all clients that connect to the server. This has historically been an issue with the weather in ARMA 3, but this module helps correct that.
Basically, ALiVE creates realistic weather events (rain, storms, sunshine, etc) based on a simplified model of the climate you choose. It seems largely based on the month in which your mission takes place.
There’s not a whole lot to explain here; ALiVE’s weather page does a pretty good job of it, except for the Cycle Variance. I’m really not sure exactly what effect this has yet.
Keep Following the Action
After adding the playable units and associated modules, I decided to create the initial Alpha release of Uprising on Stratis. Be advised that this is an extremely early Alpha and has not been extensively tested.
If you’re interested, you can always keep following all of the latest releases as well. All releases contain both the mission PBO and all source files. Feel free to download, use, and adapt Uprising to your own needs in accordance with the license.
I’ll be continuing this tutorial series with an article on Troubleshooting and Debugging with ALiVE.