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About glaspere

  1. 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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