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Tobias Solem

[Script suggestion] PERSONAL OBJECTIVES

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For quite some time I've been thinking about "what's missing in Exile" I was thinking about the new user experience in the game, and last term in the game design program I teach I asked several students to evaluate the "first time player experience" of ExileMod from a game design student experience (I was somewhat self-centered and asked them to play on my server). The objective of their task was simply to look at some key points and underline some problems for a non-veteran of ARMA. They listed several "problems", some of which were ARMA-centered (like engine bugs, the problems of installing mods in ARMA and the problems with optimization, having to use launch parameters for optimum performance and things like that) and some gameplay-mechanics issues, of which the latter was what I wanted to focus on. 

Instead of boring you with a long list of issues, I will instead summarize the problem (and a somewhat preliminary conclusion) as this:

  • The initial learning curve of playing Exile is a direct threat to expanding the playerbase of the mod. There simply is very few in-game cues as to what you're actually supposed to do.

Ironically they did not agree with me that the "Vanilla"-state of the game is particularly "inviting" (ie. "easy"), instead they said that as a new player you tend to go to the "basics" of playing a game in which you are presented with a weapon, which is to shoot whatever moves, but that "there are very few options available beyond that which are self-explanatory" and "the in-game information about territorial control are severely limited and requires out-of game reading through wiki-pages that are outdated or (soon to be written)".

Based on this, and some seminar discussions we had I've been pondering about what to do about this, and given my experience with ARMA I was thinking about how ARMA handles introducing players to the game generally (ie. what tools already are available in-engine) and suggest the following:


Exile Objective System [EOS]

Building upon the ARMA-objectives and map system EOS would serve as an introductory in-game guide, but also work as a simple in-game narrative (introducing the player to the story).  It would take players through different experiences depending on what stage they are (playtime). Thus we would have to look at the players who are between 0-5 hours on a server and "give them" a particular set of objectives (that they can ignore, these should not be obligatory). 

Essentially EOS serves the player with objectives and works as a vehicle of communicating activities on the map (Look at DMS for example for as a simple reference as to how objectives would work), EOS would then work as a basic library of functions which script-writers then could use to launch events. 

What is important here is to have personal objectives that can be triggered based on certain factors (such as player age), this system could then allow different server owners the ability to expand upon it (for example) expanding on the solo-player's experience. 


Personal objectives expanded

Based on "as new player of Exile, the impression of the game is that its empty" I figured that the EOS could be used to tell the player what he could/should do and approximately where to go to do it, some basic examples:

  • The world of this prison island is a dangerous one, and thus you need to find some form of weapon to defend yourself.
  • You're thirsty, your thirst and hunger is visible to your bottom right, you need to find items to survive on this prison island, look through buildings and loot them.
  • You have found a bottle of water and you have some powdered coffee in your inventory, these items together can make coffee, but you need to start a fire and have a pot to do this, this is how you do that...
  • The axe you recently picked up is not just a close-quarters weapon, with it you can also chop down trees and build yourself a shelter, this will also require the following items
  • The pockets of your survivor overall aren't the most extensive for storing items, you need to find a backpack to expand your storage capacity

The basic package of EOS could then simply work as a tool to give the new player some simple tasks that they could perform just to learn the basics of the mod. But be expanded to introduce them to the detailed base-building.

  • You now have several logs of wood in your inventory, these by themselves aren't enough to build a base but need to be refined, you need to locate a handsaw and make more manageable wood pieces.
  • You can now create a workbench which you need to build the foundation of your shelter


A tool such as this is something I believe could then be used by the community to make "modular" expansions to this systems, either to expand the new player experience, or to add tiers of objectives for older players, that could perhaps be a way to get groups of players together (You need to add a friend to your group) and then expand to group objectives (The PIZZA family have a base here, you could raid it by gathering...) and furthermore as a way for mission makers (Read: Defent and co.) in Exile to streamline how information on the map is served.


I was at a point this summer where I was thinking about doing this myself, but soon realized that creating something like this from scratch as a novice in SQF (basically you can call me Mr. Copy Pasta in that regard) I soon realized this was over my head. So instead I'm presenting my idea to the community and hope that someone might take upon themselves to realize this idea. 

There are a lot of details in this that I had planned and written down that I've chosen not to write here (the post is already long enough) but the basic concept is here. Feel free to expand upon the idea, and should anyone wish to undertake this project, I will be available and will gladly help with what I possibly can.

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Yea i dunno I think you can condense all this into a single simple "Tutorial Mission" Like, new player spawns in, get some hints about the interface, 1st objective: Find a gun. 2nd objective: find 4 rolls of toilet paper and craft a bandage. And then big text pops up that says "DON'T SHOOT BAMBIS Congratulations you graduated Exile College!!"

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Although the Idea has merit , I'd like to point out the players were on an empty server when they started . This is a community , in a very large Sandbox , with players all playing the same game 60 different ways on a 60 person server . If you join a server with players that have experience you will learn just be reading chat , and asking a question , while humbling  or funny at times is always encouraged . At least in my experience , so lets give some credit to the Veteran players and Admins out there that go out of their way to Help the new Players . Just my 2c  

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I often found my self asking the same thing, but from a different perspective -

Recently I have been working on ways to "Captivate" the player, the moment they join the server a side drift to that was giving them something to do, some kind of instruction.

@Tobias Solem Creatively I am not too great, but from a scripting point of view I reckon I could certainly have a professional crack at it. If you have the ideas, PM me and ill try and get them in game. 

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