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OFFbase: The Barmy Automated Squadron Experience for Over Flanders Fields 1.1.1

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About This File

An immersive role-playing simulation of life between flights for Over Flanders Fields.

 

Note 1: For more information, screenshots, etc., visit the Official Website.

Note 2: Get the full OFFice incomparable campaign engine which features OFFbase along with all supported mods and extra content in a complete package with one easy-to-use installer. This smaller package updates the OFFice software to the latest version, but to get 1.0.8's 'Skin in the Game' custom paint jobs just install the whole thing.

 

Note 3: If you're interested in joining and supporting OFFworld, the multiplayer version in development, send me a PM.

 

- OFFbase features persistent squadron-based play. Take turns flying multiple pilots in a squadron while sharing the same roster--and more. Separate wingmen are assigned and flights split as much as possible. See your other squadron pilots in the duty roster with you! Fly as a rookie pilot in your favorite squadron while taking your long-time veteran out on the occasion you work up the nerve. If your pilot dies, you can start a new pilot to take over for him with the same squadmates and everything, and continue your squadron's story throughout the war.

 

- OFFbase puts you right in the Squadron HQ, where you can visit the Adjutant to manage your career, kick back in Lodgings that you may share with a roommate and write in your journal, go down to the Mess for food or drink and see how your squadmates are doing (and listen to the squadron band in the evenings), head out to the Hangar to check munitions and fly campaign missions, or reminisce over fallen heroes at the squadron memorial. The quality of your squadron's facilities develops over time.

 

- OFFbase implements and expands Bletchley's Pilot Personality Profiles (3P) to give each pilot in the squad individual personality that informs how they behave and relate to each other. Engage in many different types of social encounters, mediated by personality traits. Personalities are composed of unique combinations of character traits, summarized by Attributes that rank characters in the following dimensions: Aerial Skill, Aggression, Charisma, Intelligence, Physicality, and Professionalism. With hundreds of billions of possibilities, the character's you'll meet in OFFbase are complex, distinctive, and completely individual in their behavior.

 

- OFFbase builds on 3P with academic game theory to make social encounters richer, more intuitive, and open to different styles of play. Will you try to out-do other pilots, enhancing your short-run prestige at their expense, or try to build both your reputations through long-run friendship and social support? Your success at playing different strategies depends on the rank, personality, and social skills of your pilot character, as well as who the other player is and what they're trying to achieve. Over multiple encounters you'll come to know how different characters react in different situations, and what strategies work for your character. The result is a natural learning process on both sides.

 

- OFFbase makes complex yet intuitive social encounters possible by giving characters in your squadron artificial intelligence. They remember how you and other pilots have treated them in the past, learn from their mistakes, and form social strategies to pursue their own goals based on their own rank, personality, risk preferences, social skills, and history. Some may try to boost their careers by bullying subordinates to make themselves look better, others may focus on building peer networks, while some may do a bit of both depending on who they like and who they don't and their feelings about their relationships and careers. The procedurally-generated rule-based AI system generates far more complex, dynamic, and unique behavior than traditional systems.

 

- OFFbase features a full dynamic squadron simulation: Non-player pilots have daily encounters with each other, developing their own prestige and goodwill to develop their reputations and earn their own promotions, while periodically going on and returning from leave, even transferring in and out. All this goes on even as you advance or skip time due to weather, injury, whatever. Watch non-player pilots in your squadron share a drink, talk politics, make friends, get in fights--building relationships that affect how their careers develop, and yours.

 

- OFFbase introduces Ground Crew, support officers or enlisted such as the squadron Adjutant, Chief Medical Officer, Chaplain, Munitions Officer, and even the Chief of the Mess Hall. Encounter and build relationships with them as well, which can affect your career, and your life, through gameplay. They may serve as stabilizing forces in dark times, or if a bad fit for a squadron disrupt morale. Encounter them in the Infirmary, Chapel, Hangar, and Mess Hall.

 

- OFFbase introduces Air Crew: Pilots of two-seaters will share quarters with their observer/gunner. You and your fellow officers will encounter them in the Mess and on the Airfield, as they build their own careers.

 

- OFFbase makes completing missions more rewarding, with additional benefits and costs to your career from shooting down enemy aces, friendly fire, pulling a hat trick by shooting down three or more enemy planes, and taking out ground targets and balloons. If a fellow pilot steals your kill, you can chew him out once you're back at HQ and try to take back some of the prestige he earned instead of you; or apologize and give back prestige if you steal someone else's kill. Some mission results may even affect the development of your pilot's personality by earning additional traits.

 

- OFFbase brings additional features to the game such as transfers between squadrons, player input on promotions, funerals for dead pilots, a fully-editable journal built from the flight and claims logs, and tracking of mission results for your squadmates. Yes that's right--what actually happens to your squadmates in the air while they fly beside you matters now, dependent on and influencing the development of their characters. A Frontiersmen also trained in first aid is more likely to make it home after being downed behind enemy lines, a Cowards more likely to surrender, and a Weakling more likely to be permanently maimed by injury--especially if he's on bad terms with the Chief Medical Officer! The detailed injury system tracks dozens of different wounds and maims for you and your squadmates, with more realistic recovery times--and more ways to be disabled and killed. Dealing in the Infirmary is dynamic and can depend on the support of squadmates.

 

- OFFbase accelerates immersion with a built-in mod manager (OFFramp) that automatically orders and activates JSGME mods appropriate to your campaign, if installed. See notes on mods below. This is accomplished through a fully-modable rule-driven scripting engine that supports plugins to the OFFice: OFF Incomplete Campaign Editor system, integrating access to Pilot dossiers, OFF Workshop settings, CFS3Config settings, JSGME mods, and OFFbase gameplay rules. Bletchley's historical ammo loudout rules and a number of other mods included in this distribution are implemented in this system. Modders: see very preliminary info in the OFFice\modrules\ folder.

 

Gameplay:

 

An officer or crewman's Reputation can be built in three different ways: success in the air, Goodwill from higher-ranking officers, and Prestige from socially dominating your peers. Each character has a unique set of Traits, yielding different preferences and skills toward these goals. As your campaign develops, you will observe changes in morale, upgrades to your airfield and lodgings, earn new personality-building traits through promotions and achievements, and take part in the lives and deaths of your dynamic, humanlike squadmates.

 

To further the latter two goals, you will frequently (depending on your traits), Encounter your fellows, as well as witness encounters they have with each other. The social encounter system is based on a continuous iterated prisoner's dilemma game. Both players face a trade-off between short-run prestige from besting their opponent in the encounter and long-run goodwill from cooperating to build friendships. If both players jockey for short-run prestige, the result is negative-sum competition where gain, if any, only comes at the other's expense. If both players seek to build long-term social support to advance their military careers, the game is positive-sum cooperation that can increase both pilots' Goodwill toward each other, providing a daily boost to reputations so long as both players continue or even deepen their friendship.

 

Even more interesting is the myriad cases in-between. You may come on too strong and embarrass someone, or come across as off-puttingly needy. You may also find yourself at the mercy of a vicious bully, or in a parasitic relationship with a high-ranking officer who praises you to superiors only to reflect well on his command while back at the squadron mercilessly putting you in your place in front of the other men. Willingly suck up to superiors if their goodwill seems worth more to your career than the shame, or buck them to defend your prestige at the risk of ill-will.

 

The possibilities are almost endless because non-player characters also have reputations, and adaptively develop their own strategies based on their personalities, social skills, feelings, and memories in order to exploit their own trade-offs between short-run prestige and long-run goodwill. All this sounds complicated, but in practice decisions and their consequences unfold naturally, and the evolution of relationships should be dynamic, intuitive, and fun. Not only is it about learning which pilots are trying to befriend you and which are out to build their careers at your expense--but also teaching AI pilots to cooperate and learning when and when not to exploit their trust.

 

Should your reputation fall to "Disrespected" you're in danger of being transferred to another squadron if you don't turn things around. Lean on your friends for support, though calling in the chips in the short-run can damage friendships in the long run. If you do well and your reputation becomes sufficiently "Honored" you'll be due a promotion to a higher rank and the chance to further develop your personality. Promotions and the new traits they bring cost prestige, so you'll start off at a lower reputation. Not everyone has what it takes to make it at a higher rank--those who climb the ladder too fast may step on too many toes, and end up in another squadron.

 

Your pilot's mood serves as a guide to how he's doing in recent encounters. If he's upset, his reputation's been harmed either through losing prestige or goodwill or both, and he'll have a tougher time cooperating with others. A good mood means recent encounters have been helpful to his reputation, in the short- or long-run or both, and more open to others. You'll get some idea of the mood of others when you encounter them, and the squadron's morale reflects the aggregate mood of its members. Since mood affects behavior, the effects of encounters spill over through social networks. A skilled and patient or stubborn player can have a profound impact on the social development of his squadron, through good times and bad.

 

Different personalities are more naturally suited to building their reputations by some means more than others. No-nonsense skilled-pilot types advance more quickly from flying and successfully completing missions, while smooth-tongued sycophants are more apt to milk the goodwill of superior officers at the cost of prestige, aggressive social animals readily suffer ill-will to dominate more social encounters for that prestige, while introverted loners try to avoid encounters in the first place.

 

Every character will have a unique experience, even with the same squadmates. Your replacement pilot may have a tougher time making friends in a squad deeply mourning your popular former ace--or be just thing to help restore morale after the death of a tyrannical flight leader.

 

Simply put, the game rewards role-playing.

 

The deeper investment in building the career of your pilot and developing relationships with squadmates not only further customizes and enriches the campaign experience, but makes death in the air all the more terrifying, and thus OFF even more fun. Who'll carry your casket to its final resting place? How will your squadron remember him? Play OFFbase and find out!

 

Installation:

 

First make sure JSGME 2.6.0 is installed. This is included and installed automatically in the full OFFice package.

 

Download and run the OFFice exe, and it will automatically extract the OFFice folder into your root OFF installation (usually "C:\ OBDSoftware"). This will also create shortcuts for OFFbase and OFFset (see OFFset.readme.txt) on your desktop and/or start menu, as well as documentation for the OFFice suite and included mods.

 

OFFbase will ask to run at Adminstrator level as this is required by JSGME. OFFbase can elevate the OFF manager, but you should set CFS3.exe (and TrackIR5.exe) to run as Administrator as well.

 

To play OFFbase, simply double click one of the installed shortcuts.

 

Updating:

 

To update OFFbase to a newer version after 0.7.8, just run the new setup exe to upgrade your existing install. The installer will automatically deactivate all JSGME mods for safe updating.

 

OFFbase 0.8.6 and later will notify you if newer versions are available at Combat Ace.

 

 

Mods:

 

Get the full OFFice incomparable campaign engine which features OFFbase along with all supported mods in a complete package in one easy-to-use installer. Many of these mods are further developed and enhanced with powerful new features compared to their old stand-alone counterparts available separately.

 

OFFbase will give you a choice which mission, damage, flight model, sound, music mods and so on in the OFFramp mod manager.

 

 

Usage:

 

You'll no longer launch Over Flanders Fields yourself, OFFbase will do it for you when ready. Instead, launch the OFFbase program from your desktop or Start menu shortcuts or launch the OFFbase.exe program in the OFFice folder manually.

 

Whenever OFFbase has you run the OFF Manager, do just the one task or mission expected then quit OFF to return to OFFbase.

 

OFFbase may ask you to set some settings before allowing you to play. Follow its instructions.

 

You'll be asked to choose a nation and squadron to play your existing pilots. If you need to create a new pilot here, you can launch OFF Manager. Leave OFF when done creating the pilot and the list will update.

 

Make your choice and click the "Play Squadron" button. You'll then be asked to choose a pilot in your squadron. You can compare the current date of the squadron listed in the left pane with the last reported date of your pilot in the middle pane to see how much leave your pilot will receive to sync up. You may also edit and save your pilot's background here.

 

Choose your pilot and click the "Play Pilot" button to begin the OFFbase experience! You'll be asked to choose a personality class for your pilot, then fly a transfer mission to your new airfield to check out the squadron's facilities and people. Follow the prompts, it should be a fairly self-explanatory introduction.

 

Note: Be sure to check ‘Air Start’ for your initial transfer mission!

 

When you're squadron has been toured, you're on your own. Chat with the Adjutant and visit the Mess Hall to learn more about your squadmates. Go to the Hangar to fly campaign missions in OFF, or just do some exploring around the base.

 

OFFbase will automatically set your active pilot for the campaign so you no longer need to manually switch between pilot dossiers in OFF Manager to fly different campaigns.

 

OFFbase sets the Outcomes section of the OFF Workshops Dead Is Dead to offer advanced outcome handling. Most crashes are reported as fatal by OFF, but this just triggers custom crash handling. If your pilot is killed or captured, do not delete him in OFF. Instead, quit OFF to return to OFFbase and resolve his fate. If he does ultimately perish, after the funeral he becomes part of your squadron’s institutional memory.

 

When adding a new pilot to a squadron, be sure to create him at a date prior to your current squadron date to avoid overwriting all of your squadmates.

 

See the OFFbase Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).


What's New in Version 1.1.1   See changelog

Released

  • Injured pilots can access their journals and read their squadron's daily status reports from in the infirmary.
  • Counts missions flown by your AI squadmates, reporting the tally in the Duty Room.
  • Reduced frequency of Congressional Medal of Honor being awarded in American campaigns.
  • Adjusted Goodwill scaling so missions are relatively more important.
  • Optional Goudy Bookletter 1911 for American campaigns and Croissant One font for French campaigns, while clarity of the German Behrensschrift and British Railway Sans have been improved.
  • Fixed bugs transferring between squadrons, handling gunner/observers in multiplayer squadrons, encounter partner selection, and elsewhere. Some edits to encounters and internal code refactoring as well.



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