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Every Lock-on Fan Should Read This - Lock On Missi

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The following is the draft readme for the soon-to-be released LockON Mission Randomizer. Questions welcome.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------

 

LockON Mission Randomizer (LMR) Version 1.0

 

 

============================================================

======================== DISCLAIMER ========================

============================================================

 

While the programs included herein have been tested

extensively during development, I can not be held responsible

for any damage or loss of data which may occur. LMR is offered

*AS IS* with no guarantee of future support or upgrades.

 

 

============================================================

====================== WHAT IS LMR? ========================

============================================================

 

Quite simply LMR spells the end to repetitave canned LockON

missions. This should sustain us until a proper dynamic

campaign becomes available. Imagine a semi-dynamic war-in-

progress, endless replayability to missions, changing OB,

realistic non-combatants in the AO going about their duties.

 

LMR brings all of these possibilities and more. Read On.

 

 

============================================================

====================== INSTALLATION ========================

============================================================

 

 

Before starting, create a backup copy of your LockON mission

folder - just in case.

 

Create a folder in your LockON program directory and extract

the contents of the LMR zipfile to the folder. By default

the .dat file assumes the program will be installed in:

 

C:\Program Files\Ubisoft\Eagle Dynamics\Lock On\LMR

 

If you choose an alternate location, edit lmr.dat and point

to the correct location of parser.exe.

 

You can also edit the default LockON mission directory if

necessary. This determines what directory will appear in the

file open dialog by default.

 

lmr.dat must reside in the same directory as the LMR executables.

 

I recommend creating an "LMR Missions" subfolder in the LockON

mission directory. This is a good place to store LMR source

missions (*.lmr) you create or download from the internet.

 

 

============================================================

=========== SECTION A - PLAYING AN LMR MISSION =============

============================================================

 

 

A1. Start LMR and click the elipses "..." next to the "Source

mission file:" textbox. Browse to the directory containing your

.lmr source missions and click Open.

 

Note that LMR source missions can be differentiated from

standard lockon missions by the file extension: .lmr versus

.mis. This is to prevent a user from accidentally loading

an LMR source mission directly into LockON.

 

A2. If the mission is locked simply click "CREATE." Locked

missions do not allow adjustment of the randomization values -

they have been preset by the mission's designer.

 

If the mission is unlocked the time settings will be adjustable.

Experiment with values from 30min - 2hours unless the mission

designer recommends a particular setting. The time value

instructs LMR "delay the random missions by up to XYZ amount

of time." The shorter the time value the busier the mission

will be - more flights will be airborne simultaneously and

they'll take off sooner. Users with slower computers should

opt for higher randomization windows (1 hour plus) to avoid

the map becomming too busy.

 

A3. When you click CREATE LMR reads the source mission file

and generates a standard LockON mission file with .mis file

extension. You are now ready to load the .mis mission into

LockON.

 

A4. If you're new to the randomized mission concept it's helpful

to see it in action. Start the game and load the randomized

mission created in step 2. If you find this tutorial boring

feel free to skip ahead.

 

A5. Click "FLY" then press the "s" key to start the mission

once prompted. Now go to the F10 MAP screen to get an overview

of the LockON world. At this point we're just going to sit

and observe. Press CTRL-A repeatedly to speed the game

up to about 10X (Note the gamespeed indicated next to the

game clock). SHIFT-A will return the game to 1X speed if

desired while ALT-A will slow it back down gradually.

 

You should soon see the game come to life. Aircraft will taxi

to takeoff, ships will appear, etc. Take note of which airfields

the aircraft takeoff from first. Also note where they go, what

type of aircraft are present, what their mission/roles are, etc.

Use the F2 view to switch view between aircraft after they to

appear on the map.

 

A6. When you're ready, exit the mission and go back to the

mission Editor screen. ALT-TAB back to the desktop and reload

the same mission into LMR. Create the mission again (don't

worry about overwriting the previous randomized .mis file -

they're disposable). LMR has randomized the source mission

file and the file you just flew now contains a new environment

for you to experience.

 

A7. ALT-TAB back into LockON and load the randomized mission

you just created...don't forget this step or you'll just be

playing the same mission as before. Click FLY and open

the F10 MAP screen as before. Notice the changes in missions

and aircraft! You're playing the same mission file but the

game will be COMPLETELY different!!!

 

WELCOME TO LOCK ON MISSION RANDOMIZER!

 

A8. You can re-randomize a source file dozens of times and

chances are it won't even feel like the same mission.

Different aircraft will fly at different times. Sometimes

aircraft will appear that weren't in the mission before, etc.

Well designed LMR missions will feel alive and exciting.

You'll never know what will happen - even after multiple

engagements.

 

 

============================================================

======= SECTION B - CREATING YOUR OWN LMR MISSIONS =========

============================================================

 

 

********** RANDOMIZED GROUPS - GENERAL INFO *************

 

LMR missions are likely to have far more groups included

than anything you've seen in a standard LockON mission.

This is because not everything happens as soon as you

start the game. Some groups can be delayed hours. You

will find this adds to the gameplay immensely. You can

literally just sit and watch an LMR mission for hours

as the gameworld continually evolves. No longer will it

feel like you're being stuck into a "canned" static

environment.

 

There are two types of randomized air/vehicle groups you

can place into an LMR mission:

 

1. Delayed groups - described in subsection B.

2. Gamestart groups - described in subsection C.

 

 

*** ADDING RANDOMIZED (DELAYED) GROUPS TO YOUR MISSIONS ****

 

 

B1. Use the LockON mission editor to create a mission

with a mission start time (I'll refer to this as the

"gamestart" time) between 0300hrs and 2350hrs on day 1.

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!! LMR LIMITATIONS PROHIBIT MISSIONS BEFORE 0300 HRS !!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Refer to 1.jpg and 2.jpg if you are unfamiliar with

adjusting the gamestart time.

 

B2. Add air/vehicle groups with waypoints as desired.

I recommend naming your randomized groups in a way that

will help you remember they will be randomized

(ie. instead of USAAirgroup01 choose something like

RANDOM_USA_CAP001).

 

Here's where the LMR stuff comes in...

 

B3. To mark an air/vehicle group for randomization simply

setits first waypoint (WPNT 0) time to the gamestart time

plus 1 second.

 

Examples of missions that would be randomized:

 

Game Start Time-----------------Waypoint 0 time

12:00:00........................12:00:01

03:00:00........................03:00:01

23:50:15........................23:50:16

 

B4. The takeoff time for these marked missions will be

delayed by up to the randomization value chosen in the

LMR GUI. So when the player chooses a value of 1 hour

it means that randomized flights will takeoff within

1 hour of gamestart. Maybe 5 minutes, maybe 55 minutes -

it'll be different each time the mission is randomized.

 

B5. Note groups scheduled for any other time *AFTER*

gamestart will be left alone (ie they will not have their

start times altered). Thus you as a mission designer

retain can include missions that occur at a fixed time.

 

Missions with a waypoint 0 time *BEFORE* the gamestart

time are handled differently as described below.

 

 

******** ADDING GAMESTART RANDOMIZED MISSIONS *******

 

 

B6. The air/vehicle groups described above will ALWAYS

appear in a mission at some point within the randomization

window. LMR also provides the capability of creating

air/vehiche groups which may not appear in the game

at all! These randomized gamestart missions will have

x% probability of appearing at gamestart (ie. when you

press "s" to start the mission). If they're not there

at the start, the won't appear at any time thereafter.

 

This gives life to the possibility of creating missions

that are alive and in-progress when the game is started.

Imagine a player's surprise when they start the game

to find nearby hangars or the runway being bombed by the

enemy. And this after having played the game 15 times

previously and never having it happen. You now begin

to see the power of the randomized gamestart mission.

You can create/enjoy dynamic "war-in-progress" missions

like never before with LockON.

 

B7. To create a randomized gamestart air/vehichle group

you set its waypoint 0 time to some time *BEFORE* the

gamestart time.

 

For Example:

If gamestart is 12:00:00 setting the waypoint 0 time to

11:30:00 will randomize the chances of the air/vehicle

group will appear in the mission. If it does appear it

will be at the gamestart time.

 

B8. The probability the air/vehicle appearing is

determined by two factors:

 

A. How far in advance of gamestart the waypoint 0

time is set. 3 hours before gamestart yields

a high probability of appearance while setting waypoint

0 just prior to gamestart (eg. a few minutes or seconds)

will yield avery very low probability of appearance.

 

B. The randomization window (the time value chosen in

the GUI affects the probability of every randomized

including the gamestart variety. Smaller time

values *INCREASE* probability while larger ones

*DECREASE* probability.

 

B9. Choosing Advanced Mode in the LMR GUI

(FILE > Switch to Advanced Mode) displays a small

frame which will help you determine what waypoint 0

time to enter to create the desired effect.

 

--- IN ALL CASES - NEVER SCHEDULE A WAYPOINT 0 OR GAMESTART

TIME BEFORE 0300 HOURS ---

 

B10. Keep in mind that gamestart randomized missions will

either appear AT THE START OR NOT AT ALL.

 

 

============================================================

==== SECTION C - DISTRIBUTING YOUR LMR SOURCE MISSIONS =====

============================================================

 

 

******** LOCKING THE SETTINGS FOR YOUR MISSIONS ************

 

C1. To ensure the mission plays the way you envision LMR

provides the capability to lock the randomization window

to a value you specify.

 

C2. To lock a mission open the mission and go to the

"Briefing" screen. You will probably already have placed

instructions in the "EDIT DESCRIPTION" text area. Scroll

to the bottom of the text and add a line following this

syntax:

 

DEFAULTRND=120

 

C3. The value is expressed in minutes. In the example

above the randomization window will be locked to 2 hours

(All random missions will be scheduled for some time in

the first 2 hours of gameplay). You can set any reasonable

value. The intent here is to make it easy on people who

download and play your missions. They will not have to

guess at a randomization value to create an enjoyable

gameplay experience.

 

C4. When the source file is read by LMR, it reads in

the DEFAULTRND value and blanks it out before writing the

.mis file. LMR never modifies source .lmr files only

the .mis file it writes. Thus the DEFAULTRND setting

will not appear in briefing window when players go to

read your mission description.

 

 

******** GETTING YOUR FILE READY FOR DISTRIBUTION **********

 

 

C5. Once you are satisfied with your mission design, exit

LockON and find the mission in Windows. Rename the file

from *.mis to *.lmr. From this point only LMR will

recognize the file. If you decide to make changes to the

file simply rename it back to *.mis so LockON will

recognize it.

 

C6. Add the files along with any instructions to a zipfile

and upload them to the web.

 

 

============================================================

==================== SECTION D - TIPS ======================

============================================================

 

D1. When adding randomized air groups (described in B1 - B5)

start them in parking areas as opposed to on the runway or

in the air. This will lend an authentic feel to your missions.

 

D2. Add a few gamestart missions (described in B6 - B10)

with VERY LOW probability (schedule them only a few minutes

before gamestart time). Let the player know there is a

small chance of bombers slipping through the radar/sam

coverate and attacing unexpected. Well conceived missions

could have replayability of dozens of times or more.

 

D3 Add non-combat traffic to your mission. You can setup

your own transportation airways and seaways to give the

gameworld a life of its own. Not everything has to be

related to the goal at hand - add some variety.

 

D4. An excessive number of possible missions (100+ ?)

together with set large delay windows (maybe 5+ hours) will

yield a world that is barely recognizeable between

replays - this is a good thing.

 

D5. Experiment with the GAI (Ground Assisted Intercept?)

mission type. My understanding is aircraft set to GAI

will sit on the tarmac and scramble when nearby radars

detect a threat - how cool is that!

 

D6. If you're going to randomize ground threats (SAMS)

make them gamestart groups. Nothing destroys the

immersion than having a SAM site suddenly appear out

of nowhere. Intelligence is pretty good now days -

usually pilots have a good idea of areas they should

avoid.

 

D7. Test your missions with many delay settings then

lock them (as described in C1 - C4) before distributing

them. This way you can ensure players framerates don't

plummet as 75 aircraft take to the skies at gamestart.

 

 

============================================================

================ SECTION E - TROUBLESHOOTING ===============

============================================================

 

 

E1. LMR creates two small temporary files

(C:\parsertemp.txt and C:\parserstatus.txt) in the root of C:

and thus you must have write/overwrite permissions to this

directory.

 

E2. The LockON mission files are very sensitive to tampering

and it is possible to create a mission that the game is unable

to load.

 

I have only noted corrupt missions when the Game start or

a Mission start time is earlier than 0300hrs. Should you

create a corrupt mission try the verify the gamestart and

all air/vehicle groups are scheduled between 0300hrs and

2300hrs (or so - the end time is not nearly as critical as

the 0300 hard limit).

 

E3. Delay windows which cause groups to schedule into the

next game day (past 23:59:59 hours) may create problems.

Try to keep everything within 1 gameday.

 

 

============================================================

============== HAVE FUN AND SPREAD THE WORD ================

============================================================

 

 

I believe the is going to breath new life/longevity

into LockON. Spread the word to your squadrons - LMR can

enhance online play dramatically.

 

Share your creations. A large library of good LMR source

missions will help this thing takeoff.

 

 

LockON Mission Randomizer - my gift to the LockON Community.

 

Join in on the discussion at the official LockOn forum here:

 

http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=...606&m=248101051

 

 

Eric Glasper

eglasper@comcast.net

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