Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Armored Brigade is a real-time tactical wargame, focusing on realism and playability
Daniele
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Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Daniele »

Hello everyone,

Armored Brigade developers have no intention of resting on their laurels! They are working on a coming update that would bring many improvements to both the base game and its Italy - Yugoslavia DLC.

One of the new features that would be implemented is the Scenario or Mission Editor. Curious about what it is and how it will work?
Read below the full explanation and stay tuned for further information! The scenario editor will come sooner than you might think!

ARMORED BRIGADE MISSION EDITOR
One of the core features of Armored Brigade is the Battle Generator, that can be used to generate an infinite amount of replayable content. The generated scenarios, or 'missions', can be saved and then shared with others. Excluding the friendly unit placement that was editable in the earlier 'developer mode', so far the only way to make further changes to the saved missions has been to use external text editors and paint programs to edit the XML and BMP files that contained the mission data. The process was not particularly user-friendly. Now the system is about to change radically, as we introduce a new feature, that is an in-game editor where almost everything in the saved missions can be modified easily without exiting the game. The editor is an inherent part of the standard game UI. The user can load the mission in several different modes and then adjust parameters, remove and add formations, edit briefings, objectives and deployment zones and so on.

This article takes a look at the first iteration of the Mission Editor. As everything in Armored Brigade, it will be improved and more features will be added in the future. We hope that the system will inspire players to create and share their scenarios with others, as it will help in creating a vibrant community.

In Armored Brigade, the scenarios are called 'missions'. For showcase purposes, I have copied the official missions to the 'user' folder. The official missions are normally not editable.


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In the main screen there is the list of all user missions. After selecting the mission from the list you can choose the side which you want to modify. If you want to edit the mission ID, name, or briefings then you click the 'EDIT' button below the briefing text. Bottom-right there are buttons for entering the other modes of the editor. Below the mission list is the 'DELETE MISSION' button for permanently removing a mission.

Now we will inspect the different editor screens and modes. In every editor screen you must click 'SAVE' after you have finished making changes, so the mission files are updated. Note that if you have selected to edit the opponent side the factions and many other options will be reversed.


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You enter this screen by clicking the 'EDIT' button below the briefing. You see the briefing for the side that was chosen in the main screen. The mission ID must be unique, and the briefing length is currently limited to 3000 characters. The standard keyboard and mouse cut-copy-paste scheme works, and you can copy-paste text from other applications.


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This screen is mostly identical to the Battle Generator screen. The main differences are that some options are disabled, and there is the new 'Force B playable' option. You can use this parameter to prevent the player from selecting the opponent side, if you want only the force A to be playable. The 'Air superiority' option is important, because it affects which sides can select aircraft in the force selection screen.


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In the objectives screen you can adjust victory points and deployment zones, create and delete objectives, edit 'dummy objective' parameters, and change the water type between varied, fordable, impassable and frozen. All this is familiar from the old Battle Generator, but the new groundbreaking feature is the 'PAINT ZONES' mode.


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In the new Battle Generator and Mission Editor you can easily paint 'no-go' and 'destruction' zones and 'water crossing points' in the game UI. Left-click to paint, right-click to erase, and use the mouse wheel to adjust the brush size. The system validates the map after the user has completed the changes, taking into account the deployment zones, objectives, water, painted zones, etc. and ensures that the mission is playable before allowing the user to save it.


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This editor mode reruns the force selection phase from the Battle Generator. The purchase points are maxed out, so the user can select what he wants, even if the engine's maximum point, unit, and formation limits still apply. Artillery and air support can be selected, if the faction and mission parameters allow it. The defending side may be allowed to have minefields, wire obstacles, anti-tank obstacles, and pillboxes.

In the future it can be possible to rename formations in this screen.


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In the deployment mode you can move the player formations to their default positions and change the formation orientation, shape, spacing, and pathfinding. A mechanized formation can start with its units mounted or dismounted. In the right-click menu you can 'LOCK' a formation or individual pillbox, so the player cannot change its starting position in the battle setup phase. Pillbox locking is a new feature that is introduced in this editor update.


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As another new feature, obstacles can be pre-placed to their default positions, in the same way as in the standard game mode. Now it is possible to build defensive fortification lines for the scenario. Minefields, anti-tank obstacles, and wire obstacles placed in the Mission Editor will be locked and cannot be moved by the player. Pillboxes must be locked manually, as was described earlier.


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Click the 'OBJECTIVES' button to create, rename, move, or delete objectives. Left-click on the objective to select it, and left-click again to move it. If the location rectangle is red then the new position is not valid due to water, impassable terrain, or other reasons. Right-click on the objective to edit it. You can enter the new name or delete the objective by pressing the 'ESC' key. If there is only one objective remaining then it cannot be deleted.


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Right-click on the map to create a new objective. Note that depending on the mission type, the objectives can be located in the player deployment zone, in the opponent deployment zone, or in the 'no-man's-land', but not in all of them.

Click the 'SETUP ZONES' button to adjust the deployment zones. A left-click on the map moves the player side edge, and a right-click moves the opponent side edge.

The deployment zones and objectives are easier to fine-tune in this on-map editor mode than in the Battle Generator view. In the future it may be possible to paint 'no-go' and other zones in the on-map view.


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If the 'Player character' option was enabled in the main screen then the player can be assigned to a different unit in the deployment mode.

When you are done, click the 'SAVE SCENARIO' button.

Currently the pre-placed formations and obstacles work for the human player side only. In the future they will affect the defending AI opponent side too.
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CCIP-subsim
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by CCIP-subsim »

Good news! [:)]

I've actually got a good handle by now on how to do these things by hand - but it should be very helpful in making things more user friendly and accessible to more of us!

My own wish as far as mission-editing, though - maybe for the future - would be to be able to do a little more in terms of "programming" the AI to behave in ways that it might not decide by default.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by exsonic01 »

Great feature! Now we don't need to create a zone file anymore!! And I really like all mission editing features.

I agree with CCIP, it would be great if scenario designer have a chance to "guide" the AI, or at least give us a chance to modify their "aggressiveness" group by group, unit by unit.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by 22sec »

Excellent! Can’t wait to test it out...
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Perturabo »

Finally!
People shouldn't ask themselves why schools get shoot up.
They should ask themselves why people who finish schools burned out due to mobbing aren't receiving high enough compensations to not seek vengeance.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Lowlaner2012 »

All sounds good, thanks for the hard work.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Rosseau »

I know some people want MP, but this is one of the benefits of enhancing the single player game. Great to see things keep moving along, as well as the mods.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Perturabo »

When I make a destruction zone and wall it off with a no-go zone, it erases the destruction zone and turns the whole thing into a no-go zone in game.
People shouldn't ask themselves why schools get shoot up.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by CCIP-subsim »

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

When I make a destruction zone and wall it off with a no-go zone, it erases the destruction zone and turns the whole thing into a no-go zone in game.

I'm pretty sure that's working as designed. Keep in mind that any areas that might potentially be passable (even if destroyed or surrounded) are going to be seen potential deployment zones or points which the AI will count as possible places to plot routes to, resulting in AI units getting stuck. This is the same reason why I was advised, while making urban maps, to avoid packing buildings too close together or leaving "courtyards" completely surrounded by buildings without an exit route (and preferably, at least two exit routes) for vehicles. If you leave an area "walled off" from the rest of the map, there's a high chance it'll break the AI's pathfinding ability on that map.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Perturabo »

ORIGINAL: CCIP-subsim
ORIGINAL: Perturabo

When I make a destruction zone and wall it off with a no-go zone, it erases the destruction zone and turns the whole thing into a no-go zone in game.

I'm pretty sure that's working as designed. Keep in mind that any areas that might potentially be passable (even if destroyed or surrounded) are going to be seen potential deployment zones or points which the AI will count as possible places to plot routes to, resulting in AI units getting stuck. This is the same reason why I was advised, while making urban maps, to avoid packing buildings too close together or leaving "courtyards" completely surrounded by buildings without an exit route (and preferably, at least two exit routes) for vehicles. If you leave an area "walled off" from the rest of the map, there's a high chance it'll break the AI's pathfinding ability on that map.
It shouldn't do it before applying the destruction to the map, though.

Also, would be good if there was a distinction between a no-go zone and no-deployment zone and also if there was a double-function no-go zone/destruction zone and no-deployment zone/destruction zone.
People shouldn't ask themselves why schools get shoot up.
They should ask themselves why people who finish schools burned out due to mobbing aren't receiving high enough compensations to not seek vengeance.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by 22sec »

I am missing how to edit the objectives when you are in the Deployment editor?

Never mind. 🤦🏻‍♂️
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Veitikka »

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

Also, would be good if there was a distinction between a no-go zone and no-deployment zone and also if there was a double-function no-go zone/destruction zone and no-deployment zone/destruction zone.

No-deployment zones can be added in the future.

I think from the gameplay point of view the combined no-go/destruction zones would be quite useless, because the units cannot enter the destructed terrain?
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by exsonic01 »

Regarding zone setting, could you give us circle, ellipse, and rectangular brush in the future?
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by CCIP-subsim »

I'm guessing the point would be mainly optics - e.g. having an area that isn't passable look destroyed (and therefore impassable, according to the scenario's storyline). No functional difference, but looks neat!

One thing I always wondered: does the destroyed area zones file override the destruction % setting in the scenario? Or do they work together?
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by 22sec »

I second the different brush type, the addition of no-deployment zones, and the ability to draw straight lines.

Now that I’ve had some time to become familiar with mission editor I have to say this is a great addition that gives us a lot of creativity in mission creation.

Post patch I think the option to play on even larger maps (I know it can be done), and the ability to have a “no-mans” land between sides. Imagine the classic meeting engagement scenario, that now with the easy to create (and adjust) no-go zone we can channel the opposing forces as we see fit. However, with the current system, the recon units will be in contact within mere minutes. Larger maps and no-mans lands would allow commanders the chance to truly maneuver. These types of engagement would be even more common in Middle Eastern, and current day scenarios. So that’s my sales pitch....
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Perturabo »

ORIGINAL: Veitikka

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

Also, would be good if there was a distinction between a no-go zone and no-deployment zone and also if there was a double-function no-go zone/destruction zone and no-deployment zone/destruction zone.

No-deployment zones can be added in the future.

I think from the gameplay point of view the combined no-go/destruction zones would be quite useless, because the units cannot enter the destructed terrain?
To serve as zones contaminated by WMDs or something like that. I guess a no-deployment zone/destruction could be more useful because it could just show where a unit bypassed when buying force (for example one platoon from company or something) was wiped out with a mine or WMD or whatever else caused the destruction just before start of the mission.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by 22sec »

Edit - Never mind my earlier post. I do want to touch on that but I didn’t have all my numbers right.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Veitikka »

ORIGINAL: exsonic01

Regarding zone setting, could you give us circle, ellipse, and rectangular brush in the future?

I just implemented a circle brush, and square/round edged lines for painting zones. They should help.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by Veitikka »

ORIGINAL: CCIP-subsim

One thing I always wondered: does the destroyed area zones file override the destruction % setting in the scenario? Or do they work together?

The painted destruction zone overrides the scenario default and gives a 100% destruction rate in the map cell.
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RE: Upcoming Update will feature a MISSION EDITOR!

Post by deltapooh41 »

No go zones are nice, but maps definitely need to be larger to truly utilize it. We already have the NTC and a Desert Storm Map. These places require large space for deployment and maneuver. Right now, scouts can come into contact almost on start. Hell, I've had large maps and the entire force was in contact upon pressing start. Giving players more tools to define their battle would be a great improvement.
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