Very simple missions
Which missions are considered simple?
A mission being simle is not an official naming for a mission which needs some requirements, it's a general description.
Simple missions normally have only a needed amount of messages, debriefing stages and a limited number of ships and even fewer ending possibilities.
If you are making a campaign and have some missions which play little part in the plot, it is not advised you make them overly complicated. For these missions, you are advised to make them simple. This way, you get more time to work on more important missions.
- Make only a limited number of messages. Do so by making sure none will overlap one another. The more messages you make the higher the possibility that they will overlap. The following messages are a must to every FreeSpace 2 mission:
- Notification about mission failure and success
- Notidication about permission to return to base
- Report about big friendly or hostile ships destroyed or, when the goal is such, disarmed or disabled
- Arrival and departure message for mission critical ships
- A further note on messages is that they should not be overly complex nor should you display plot messages in the middle of a combat engagment.
- Limited number of ships: Do not place so many larger ships than a cruiser or corvette. Placing a destroyer demands that fighters should be launched from it. Destroying the destroyer sooner or later badly affects the number of fighters present in the mission unless there is only one wing to arrive from the destroyer
- Stages: Say that the mission consists of three parts. Each part is triggered by the arrival of a hostile or friendly ship. You have to set the arrival cues of these ships so that they only arrive after a previous stage was completed, often by the destruction of a hostile ship or the departure of a friendly one. This makes it sure that the three stages won't intertwine, saving the FREDder from a lot of time to test each possibility in case the stages overlapped.
- You still need to test the difficulty of the mission and optimize it for game balance. The simplest way to do this is to keep the number of fighters and bombers low.
- Avoid the use of random numeric variables. The fact of randomization is rarely apparent and to make it so requires additional testing time.
Through this mission example, you will see how a simpler mission looks like in theory. In practice, there is no guarantee it can be done exactly as it is described below. See Notes
A Leviathan cruiser ran the GTVA blockade and is to be hunted down. Command sorties a Deimos corvette and some fighters. The corvette arrives six clicks away from the Leviathan, but since the Deimos is faster, they have a chance to catch up with it and destroy it with their beam cannons. In the meanwhile, the NTF attempts to disarm the forward beam cannons to give chance for their cruiser to survive. In the first part, the player must destroy some bombers which come from the front and attempt to take down the beam cannons. The second part is about the battle between the Leviathan and the Deimos. In the third part, the Deimos is to be escorted back to the node until it makes the jump to subspace.
This mission has
- Three to eight friendly fighters
- The two warships: A Deimos and a Leviathan
- Enemy bombers and fighters, as many as makes the mission acceptably difficult.
- A jump node, where the Deimos comes from
- Two waypoints
- At least the following events (not mentioning message-only events)
- Destroy Leviathan cruiser directive
- Defend friendly Deimos directive
- Destroy enemy fighters (one event for each attacking wing)
- An event which summerizes the requirements to grant the player authorization to return to base.
- (Chained to the previous event), an event which displays the "Return to base" directive.
- Good-secondary-time, which tells the fighters to use their Trebuchet warheads in case they have some, or the player has the possibility to arm his wingmen with them.
- Events which order warships to use their beams (Retail FreeSpace 2 and ancient FreeSpace Open versions)
- Additional events which are only made to send messages
- Enemy cruiser escaped (Mission failure message)
- Friendly corvette escaped (Mission successful message)
- Friendly corvette destroyed (Enemy destroyed corvette message)
- Additional enemy bombers jumped in (Part 3)
- (Optional) Events which display messages which report the hull/subsystem status on either or both warships
- (Optional) An event which checks how far the friendly corvette is from the jump node and display a message in which the corvette makes report about it ("We are reaching the node in three minutes, pilots.")
In the mission happens
- The Leviathan follows a waypoint. When it reaches it, it jumps out and fails the mission
- The Deimos has the order to attack the Leviathan, when it is down, it changes orders and starts moving towards a waypoint, which is placed inside the jump node. When the Deimos is inside the node after the Leviathan is destroyed or departed, it jumps out
- Ten-thirty seconds after start, enemy bombers start jumping in from the front with the orders to attack the front beam cannons. When both cannons are down, the bombers depart and stop arriving. (The Deimos still stands a chance with its rear beam cannons, so the mission is still not lost).
- After the Leviathan has been destroyed or has departed, new wings of hostile targets start jumping in and attack the Deimos. They cease their attacks when the Deimos has been destroyed or departed.
- Ediitng the Mission specs editor
- Giving a name to the mission
- Setting All ships beam-freed by Default (In FreeSpace Open, if set, the events which enable warships to use their beams are redundant)
- Support ship settings
- Will it repair hull?
- Advised for testing No traitor flag
- Alligning the Team Loadout options
- Warships added to Escort list
- The Attack my target order removed from the issuable orders for the friendly corvette
- Initial orders for all ships
- Advised Some sort of background, preferably with nebulae and planets and multiple, coloured suns
Notes about Example
This mission has not been made by the author of the article. It is not guaranteed that mission balance can be kept using the numbers above or the mission in this shape could be too short. It is a main rule in making a balanced mission to not stick to the mission's preliminary description. If the mission is too easy, have a hostile cruiser or corvette jump in to attack the friendly Deimos. If the mission is too hard, give the player reinforcements and/or make the Deimos have cruiser escort.