I always wondered if it was possible to do campaign missions in multiplayer. I perfer to spend time flying online with others and being able to take the seat of a non-story impacting AI member of the 2-ship or 4-ship flight would be pretty cool. Obviously, that will not work for story missions that focus on a single player but if the missions focused on the flight (2-ship, 4-ship) wouldn’t it be nice to have the extra positions manned by a non-AI (not that I am discriminating against the AI)?
I know that DCS does not make this as easy as Falcon 4, for example, because flights listed as client can not be taken over by the AI if a client does not sit in the seat at launch time. So there are technical challenges, for sure.
It would have been possible, earlier in DCS, to open the mission in the mission editor and just change those spots to client and re-save but I think that in todays world of campaign DLC, campaigns and missions are encrypted.
It would be nice if mission creators could release multiplayer versions of missions where the design of the mission allows. Play through as single player and then replay as a 4-ship of clients, maybe?
I found An eye for an eye also an excellent coop campaign. I also know that Grimes from the ED tester staff has modified the Operation medvedev II campaign into a coop version although I haven’t played it myself, and I don’t know if it’s in a functional state since it’s been some years since it was made, not to mention the last post in that topic.
I think there’s also some behind the scenes technical challenges as well. The client group cannot be retrieved through the scripting engine in multiplayer amongst other issues, so some missions simply won’t work in MP whilst they would in SP.
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AFAIK, this is not currently possible.
If you are hosting a dedicated server, you could definitely just pause it.
The other alternative is to try to break the mission down into smaller, playable chunks. This is less dynamic I know, as you have to take assumptions at the start of each to how the last ended.
If you want to try “breaking things” you could try to it to load a track, or if the file extension is no good - change it back to .miz. Tracks are the mission + track data - if you ever want a copy of a mission you can open it, delete the track data and save as .miz.
I’ll give that a go in a moment and see what calamity ensues. Edit: That does not work - it loads as fresh from start, after taking 5x longer than normal.
It is difficult. You can possible save the state of everything (with flight plans, ground paths, etc) but rebuilding the state after is somewhat difficult. Destroyed units, damage, etc is also something to consider.
My guess is that there are a bunch of links between the tracks and the rest of the data that then disappear and DCS has to reinitialize it all.
It seems like an easy thing to code but it can be full of a lot of edge cases and complications that will give you a headache.
I gather that all of the state data like you say, disappears because it it held in RAM.
Track files tend not to fully populate until the missions stops (disconnect or otherwise) so it must be buffered and then dumped to file.
It appears there is no “reader” on mission load either, unless that sort of data is just coded in from the start.
My guess is that it’s done like this maybe for performance vs. having to constantly write to disk. When you consider using only a single HDD (Windows C:) for both the users folder and the program folder, and that most people don’t have mountains of free RAM - so the sim is constantly trying to read more texture & terrain data, extra disk activity is definitely not appreciated.
With more users going to SSDs and 16GB or more RAM, not as much a concern any more.
I could see how something could be done in Lua. For a limited example, you can cycle through all the air units, grab info (type, alt, etc), flight plan and have that reload but expended munitions and the AI state are not available so putting them back into their frame of reference when the save was captured is not going to happen.
Granted, this is through Lua and it’s limited hooks. ED could do much better and, well, it would have to be something that they are thinking of if a dynamic campaign is in progress…
… unless you define dynamic campaign differently. I had an idea to capture a segment of a battle (say, 6 hours of a morning engagement) and save the state of everything with respect to damage, RTB, etc. That info would be dumped into a format that could be used to ‘seed’ the start of the next 6 hour segment. If ou had an hour break between segments (for mental exercise reasons) you could ‘realistically’ allow a DM/GM (Game Master) the ability to ‘configure’ the second segment ATO based off the state of the previous segment. But that is a different definition of Dynamic Campaign that was something like Falcon 4 had.
What we have been doing is to take a screenshot of the remaining surviving units after playing a big mission for 4-5 hours, then renaming the original file rev1, rev2 and removing dead items. Then screenshot capturing again before the next multiplayer session.
For static objects (like chemical tanks) replacing the active object with the destroyed object maintains the ambiance around the primary objective (airfield, chemical plant, military base, etc,).
This approach works well for linear missions but once a more complex mission is played, the manual removal approach falls apart. What brought all this to mind is, we are currently playing through “Operation Alexander rev 4”. That is a very involved mission that has many triggers and zones. In trying to remove the objects “destroyed” I managed to break the scripting in my backup saved file.
I guess there is not enough requests from the multiplayer community out there to make it a priority. I’m somewhat surprised at this because for all of its sophistication, DCS World not saving a very developed multiplayer mission incrementally, that takes hours and hours to complete, is unfortunate.
Yup. Totally agree. That is why I was trying to design my way around it. The other thing to keep in mind is that I do all of my (albeit limited) mission development in Lua, which means I am to working with the trigger system. It makes some things easier, and some things much harder