Operation Flashpoint (OFP) / Arma

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Operation Flashpoint (ARMA: Cold War Assault)

  • This is probably my favorite game of all time.
  • It was originally released as "Operation Flashpoint" but the developers got in a fight with the publishers when it came time to do a sequel and so they switched the name of the series (first to "Armed Assault", and then to just "Arma").
  • My favorite quote from my time spent playing the game is this:
    • "Overall, in order to keep the general [realistic] feel of the WGL total conversion, it is necessary to alter individual components which, when looked at individually, may not appear to support 'realism.' However, when taken as a whole, each subsystem supports each other component to create a thoroughly realistic and enjoyable simulation experience." - Phaeden from the WGL mod team
      • If I remember correctly, the specific change this was in reference to was the decision to decrease the inherent accuracy of various weapon systems.

Things I like about the game

  • When I have to play missions over and over to win, I do often actually feel like I'm learning. It doesn't usually feel like I'm just getting lucky. On the other hand, what I'm learning is often specific to that mission and may not carry over to other missions (e.g. enemy positions, enemy reinforcement times, enemy force composition).
  • I'm shocked at how well this runs on my laptop.
  • The music in this game is actually pretty good, although I do turn it off because it gets old after a while.

Problems / what I don't like about the game

  • The concept
    • The tactical / shooting skills the game teaches you aren't going to help you make money in the real world, unless you maybe go into the military or military-training industry.
  • The AI
    • They don't seek cover.
    • Your AI comrades just run straight into the fight, they'll keep running forwards until they're ~100m from the enemy. They won't hold off at a distance.
    • Enemy AI will often hit you with their first shot at 200m+.
    • For the Sopwith camel single mission the AI infantry machine gun people were hitting me dead-on while I was moving perpendicular to them at maybe 500+ meters.
    • They can't be suppressed (i.e. not just seeking partial cover but entirely hiding behind cover).
    • They know where your shots are coming from too quickly. They're able to go to the ground and hit you with their first shot from ~200m in less than a second after you start firing at them.
    • They're too accurate. As mentioned above, they can drop to the ground and hit you with their first shot at a distance of ~200m in less than a second.
      • This was somewhat solved by mods having the AI use low-accuracy / high-dispersion weapons.
    • Because of the way the AI behave (both enemies and friendlies), engagements are more like a shooting gallery than the kind of 'suppress and flank' tactics you see when playing paintball IRL.
    • If you're commanding the AI, they really need to be micromanaged if you don't want them to die in stupid ways.
    • AI aircraft fly WAY too close to the ground.
    • AI tanks behave terribly, having no fear of moving near enemy infantry (who could have RPGs).
    • Infantry don't seem to engage at realistic distances; they move in too close and wait for the enemy to be too close before firing.
    • Leading AI as a squad leader
      • I can't give my AI subordinates complicated orders, like "Hold your fire unless you're spotted".
      • Giving orders to the AI is painfully slow, via a menu. You can't use voice commands to give orders.
      • You can order each soldier around from any distance; there's no simulation of losing contact with your soldiers if you get too separated from them.
        • This was solved by a modder with a script that let you use hand signals as well as voice commands to control soldiers, where you could lose contact if you got separated.  But IIRC it was still a slow / clunky process.
      • There is zero incentive to move with your AI in a column or staggered column because the AI just automatically move perfectly in-sync with the commander, and even if they didn't, the terrain is so sparse that it would be easy for soldiers to keep in visual contact with the squad leader, and even if that was fixed, the terrain almost never forces soldiers to deviate from a line formation (with the exception of extreme cliffs, the ocean, and buildings).  There is never underbrush that is so thick that soldiers must follow an established trail to avoid being extremely slowed down.
      • There's no quick way to give some common-sense orders like "hey left flank, watch that direction". You need to manually determine who is on your left flank and tell them what direction to look in.
        • Update: I learned how to do this: create a team that consists of the soldiers on your left flank, and then hold Alt and click in the direction you want them to watch.
  • Terrain
    • There's often no hard cover at all; you can't, like, lie down next to a boulder that protects you from enemy fire from a particular direction. You're usually totally vulnerable from all directions.
    • Roads are not as important in OFP as they may be in r/l. There's never any danger of a vehicle bogging down. Vehicles can go up incredible inclines. There's a CoC UA mission where you need to protect a road and I found myself thinking, "In OFP that road is really not very important."  Vehicles never need to worry about accidentally driving over a big rock that could destroy their undercarriage.
    • Empty-parking-lot terrain - I found the terrain just too flat and sparse, which didn't seem very realistic, and contributes to this issue where the AI can spot you and kill you extremely quickly once you open fire at them, because there's not much to hide behind. You can't crawl away while protected by some small rise in the terrain.
  • Missions
    • The triggers used by mission designers make the game BS. On one mission it was the dead of night and I killed two lone enemy soldiers with a silenced MP5, and a base-wide alarm *immediately* went off and I quickly had enemy troops heading my way. On another attempt I didn't kill *anyone* or was spotted at all, and I was just using a laser designator, and an enemy BMP ended up coming *right* up to where I was (just like 20 feet away) and dropping off a squad of guys right next to me. On another attempt I was able to get the bridge destroyed and I avoided enemy soldiers the entire way back by taking a very roundabout route, but then there were enemy soldiers *right at my evac point*. Clearly a cheap move by the mission designer to make it "harder".
    • I don't like how much of beating missions generally comes down to memorizing the location and waypoints of enemy forces.
    • When you fail, you need to redo a lot of progress. You don't have infinite saves.
    • Missions are often created so that the success or failure of the mission hinges on the actions of the player.  But in a situation where there are lots of soldiers on both sides, making the player's actions crucial to victory leads mission designers to create unrealistically difficult situations.  In fact missions are often so difficult to complete that they can eventually induce the player to develop a habit of save-scumming.  This in turn leads players to adopt habits that are not tactically sound, like running full-speed until they think they're at an area where the enemy will be found, rather than moving carefully.  Contrast this with the way Combat Mission and Close Combat work, where the missions always end with some kind of ratio of victory or defeat; the player isn't pressed to move recklessly to try to seize every last objective.
    • When acting as a commander, your score is still based on how many personal kills you got, rather than the total kills of your entire squad, how many guys you lost, and how many objectives you achieved.
    • The missions often put you up against ridiculous odds, like the Vulcan single mission where you get three Vulcans to take on transport helicopters, then Hinds, then BMPs, then T-72s
  • Soldiers
    • Exhaustion isn't modeled properly, so units can just run across the entire map.  This makes vehicles nowhere near as important as they should be.
    • Units move around too quickly.
    • It's way too easy to see if you've hit an enemy soldier from afar; there's a big puff of red when you do, and a puff of beige (dirt) when you don't.
  • Your in-game persona
    • It's possible to be running full speed in one direction while having a zoomed-in totally-stable view of another direction.
    • When you're ordering your troops to move around you're clicking on the screen, so if you accidentally don't have a soldier selected you'll accidentally fire your weapon. There should be a 'safety' selector for your weapons.
    • It's way too quick to bring up your compass (and also your watch), they should work more like the binoculars.
    • You can use your binoculars to set your aim, since when you switch between iron sights and binoculars your aim direction remains in exactly the same place.
    • There's no way to interrupt actions in an emergency. If I start to switch to my LAW or reload my LAW and some AI starts shooting at me, there's no way to interrupt switching to the LAW to hit the deck. And the AI frequently kill you with their second volley if you don't hit the deck immediately once they start shooting at you.
    • You can't move when you have your binoculars out... :/
    • You can look around and zoom in on your viewpoint while moving and your view will be perfectly stable, even if you're in a full sprint.
    • You can check your map while running.
    • It can be the dead of night but when you check your map it will be illuminated as if you had a flashlight on it.
  • Vehicles
    • The mouse controls for vehicles are really terrible. Helicopters are OK but cars, trucks, and airplanes are all awful.
  •  Weapons
    • The guns are way, way too accurate. 
  • Sound
    • When you hear armor at a distance, you hear both the sound of the engine as well as the sound of the turret.
  • Communication
    • The directions in the radio don't make any sense; one of your guys will say "enemy BMP at 1 o'clock", but there's no way to know what "1 o'clock" means. Similar with orders like "Go to 090 052".

Guides to playing

Questions I have

  • Do different pistols have different damage / accuracy? Or should you just always go for the one that has the most rounds?

  • Is one rifle better than another? e.g. is the G36 better than the M16? (in terms of damage, accuracy, etc)

Commanding

Others' guides

My guide

  • Your machine gunners seem to be able to engage at longer ranges than your M16 infantry, so it might be worth swapping out your soldiers' M16s for M60s dropped by other soldiers or PKs you find along the way.
  • Your soldiers seem much more likely to start shooting at enemy AI from a distance if you identify those enemy AI using your binoculars.
  • The enemy AI seem much more likely to start shooting at you if you start shooting, so you're better off just using your binoculars to identify targets for your soldiers.
  • Your AI are significantly worse at using AT weapons (e.g. they need to be much closer to use a LAW), and since AT weapons are so important you may be better off taking the LAW from the soldier and using it yourself.
  • There is a real advantage to having your AI looking in the right direction. They will be far more likely to spot enemies if they're looking in the direction of those enemies. So if you're in a situation where enemies might come from anywhere in a 60 degree or greater arc, assign different soldiers to watch different directions.
  • If you have the time, just have your guys crawl forward to meet the enemy. They'll be less likely to get spotted before they spot the enemy, they'll be less likely to get hit if they do get shot at, and they may be more accurate when they are shooting at the enemy.
  • I need to test what the "flank left" and "advance" orders do.
  • "Advance", "Flank left", "Flank right", and "Stay back" just has your soldiers offset themselves ~50m in the corresponding direction, keeping their current formation. They will stay in that offset position as you move around. If you want to cancel the offset use "Return to formation".
  • "Take Cover" seems to have your troops arrange themselves in a semicircle, facing in all directions. I'm not sure what it does for their ability to fire.
  • It seems you can't assign formations to individual teams.
  • It seems your move order is in the form Aa00 if you're ordering a unit to move 270m or more from their current position.
  • For distances under 260m it seems the orders are in the form 00 00, where the first two numbers are compass directions (so 00 is north, 09 is east, 18 is south, 27 is west), and the second number is the distance. But, oddly, if you give a move order for 1 grid box on the map, which you would think is 100m, it actually gives the order as a distance of "13", or 130m.
  • "Open Fire" vs. "Fire" - You can have a soldier who is set to "Hold Fire" and have him fire at only a single target you've designated. He'll remain in the "Hold Fire" state but will fire at that target until it's killed / destroyed.
  • Q: What's the use of "Engage", "Engage at Will", and "Disengage"?

How to beat various missions

Campaign included with the game

  • ...

Single missions included with the game

A1: Revenge
  • Just move in slowly, let the other friendly squads get killed, and you'll just have to mop up whatever enemy AI are remaining.
  • Have your squad crawl the entire time and they'll be far less likely to get killed.
  • Order individual soldiers to watch directions that the enemy may come from.
03: Bomberman
  • Space out the satchel charges correctly and you should be able to get the entire convoy without needing Bravo squad. A BMP will come as a reinforcement, which Bravo can take out. Fall back to Bravo's position (except up on the hill) and take out enemy AI as they approach, using the hill to provide cover against most of the enemy AI, only exposing yourself to the most-forward-positioned enemy AI at one time.
  • Advance with Bravo towards the town, trying to stay as far away from the town as possible while having a view of the enemy soldiers. Take out any enemy soldiers you see; try to clear the path for Bravo as much as possible without getting so close to the town that you'll come under fire.
  • Once Bravo is close to the edge of the town call in Alpha, and once the enemy soldiers are engaging Alpha feel free to get closer and take a position that gives you more visibility.
07: Shadow Killer
  • Move in quickly, going between the two houses on the west side of the village to get to the fuel station. Place a satchel next to the fuel station and one on the road nearby. Then run east out of the village, then north, and then hide in a bush next to the road that the convoy will come down, and you'll have a good view of where the fuel truck will be when it's near the satchel charge.
  • After you blow the fuel truck, don't stand up, as you'll be easily spotted. Just crawl east until you're 200m+ away from the village and then just run east and then north to get out of enemy territory.v
B02 - HMMWV
  • The mission briefing just says you need to drive a flag to another city, but what you actually need to do is get the flag to the city before any of the other cars in front of you (which also have flags) get to the city. So it's actually a race, but the mission briefing doesn't make that clear.

Campaign included with Resistance

  • ...

Single missions included with Resistance

Camel Attack
  • Set flaps down while taking off.
  • Before accelerating when taking off, use your compass to make sure you're facing exactly due north.
  • Be aware that if you stay at a low altitude you're going to get killed extremely quickly by the extremely-accurate enemy .50 cal stations.
  • Use speed-up time to make the following strategy bearable:
  • Gain altitude to 700-1000m
  • Approach from more than a kilometer away so you can get your bearing on the target.
  • As you get within a few hundred meters of the target slow your speed to ~100-130, this will make it easier to get more grenades to land in a smaller target area.
  • Once you're ~150m from the target, nose-down.
  • You may be best off dropping the grenades even if you can't see the target, just by using your estimate of when the right time to drop is. You'll get better with more repetitions.
  • Try to get as many of the grenades out on a single run as possible, aim to get all 10 out on a single run.
  • As you come out of the dive, stay low and try to get behind the hills to the north of the enemy target area to avoid the enemy machine gun fire.
  • Land and you'll have your retry position updated and you'll be given more grenades.
  • Repeat the previous steps until the factory is destroyed.
R01 - Warcry
  • There seems to be very little you can do to save your fellow squads or the accompanying tanks, so just let them duke it out with the enemy and get killed.
  • Eventually it was just my squad and the snipers with silenced MP5s that killed the few remaining enemy troops.
  • I took a LAW from one of my soldiers that ran forward to use it and got killed, and then later I took an RPG. I took out two BMPs.
  • The key to survival seems to be to advance very slowly, let the enemy soldiers run out one at a time and have your AI soldiers kill them. And rather than advance straight into the town, you may be better off going around the edge of the town, as it's more likely you'll be able to get more soldiers firing at whatever enemy AI appear.
R02 - LaserGuide
  • Just run straight south from the beginning, across the road, then run east until you have a view of the bridge (try to be a few hundred meters away).
  • Aim your laser-designator at the base of the bridge on the far side of the river. My experience was that if I aimed at the center of the bridge the AI wouldn't hit the bridge.
  • When the bridge is destroyed your retry point will get updated. Run south-west until you get to the ocean, then run west around the western town that the mission briefing says has enemy troops, then run north across the road and back to your starting position.
  • Speed up the time to make this bearable.
R03 - UnderHill
  • Right at the beginning, go to the ridge at the edge of Ha12 and Ha13, and stay there the entire attack.
  • Equip yourself with an M21, a LAW, and 3 LAW rockets. Equip the other guys with M60s, extra M21 mags, maybe extra LAW rockets.
  • Have your soldiers back from the edge of the ridge so they only engage enemy troops that make it up the hill.
  • Take out the BMPs first with your LAW.
  • Use your M21 to take out the gunners of the boats, then try to take out as many enemy soldiers as possible while they're still in the boats.
  • Let your soldiers cover your right flank. You should be the only one exposing yourself to the ocean, and you should be hugging that crest so that your right side is the mountain and you're not open to enemy fire.
  • Once your soldiers stop seeing enemy soldiers, slowly venture back to the starting point and use your M21 to take out any last soldiers. You'll need to be close to your starting point to have the mission finish, it won't finish from the position I recommend staying during the attack.
R04 - Rat's Nest
  • Crank your view distance to 5000 and get as much altitude as possible.
  • Use your AT-6 to take out the two Vulcans ASAP, preferably before the Mi-24 commanding you is taken out.
  • Take out the AH-64s with AT-6s ASAP before the pilots can take off.
  • From there it's a pretty easy mission.
R05 - TankPlatoon
  • Let the friendly AI tank platoons move in first :/
  • Keep your tanks back to avoid them getting RPG'd. RPGs seemed to do a lot of damage against the friendly platoons since their tanks just moved right up to the enemy infantry.

Chain of Command - Command Engine - Example missions

BS06 - Planned Defence
  • https://www.ofpec.com/missions_depot/index.php?action=details&id=232
  • Questions during the planning phase:
    • What are those markers on the map that seem to indicate some kind of strong point? Are those MG stations?
      • A: Each of those is an M2 station. Each MG marker is a *squad* of multiple M2 gunners. The first line has the most (5) but they are also badly placed IMO.
    • At what ranges can my various forces engage the enemy?
    • How many AT mines do I have?
    • What changes in elevation do these elevation marks on the map represent?
    • Questions upon reviewing the troops at the start of the mission:
      • What impact does not having NVGs have on my troops? Can they see enemy units? If they're in the dark can they not be seen?
      • Can ammo trucks infinitely resupply a unit?
      • Figure out if the AI controlling the M1A1s can fire from hill 281 or if that'll be too far for them.
  • My plan for defense:
    • My plan is based on several things I've learned about OFP:
      • 1) aim to have as many of your soldiers as possible shooting at each approaching enemy unit as possible
      • 2) aim to have the enemy AI come into view one at a time if possible
      • 3) you can do a lot of damage as a human because you can fire further than the AI fires.
      • 4) Abrams tanks are extremely powerful, so if I keep them repaired and stocked up on ammo I should be able to get a lot of use out of them. I don't want to send my ammo / repair trucks forward, though, so I think I'll want to keep my tanks back a bit.
    • I think I'll first try to win by taking control of the M2A2 (just so I can say I beat it) and if I win, I'll give it another go but without taking control of the M2A2.
    • Things I'd like to do in the first 30 minutes:
      • Send some guys out to forward hidden positions to give me an early heads-up of what's going to be coming my way.
      • Place some mines.
      • Order the various platoons to better defensive positions.
      • Take control of the M2A2 and have it on hill 281.
      • Order the forward-most M2 gunner squad to fall back behind the main line of defense.
    • Big things I've noticed:
      • We *do* have an ammo truck. So I could park the M2A2 up on hill 281 with the ammo truck and just unload 25mm till the cows come home.

Misc missions

Un-Impossible Mission
  • Crank your view distance to 5000 and you can see the helicopter hovering off the coast of the island. It seems to have some kind of script that prevents it from taking damage from AA weapons. Either that or the AA is blowing up before it reaches the helicopter.
  • On my first playthrough I got killed by a squad that was patrolling the beach.  I hadn't seen any enemies along the beaches for a long time so I figured it was safe.  I should've had my soldiers stationed in such a way as to give me an early heads-up about approaching enemy soldiers.

Notable custom missions and addons

Lists of good addons

  • Dslyecxi - Intro to Operation Flashpoint
    • This is a great guide to the best mods.  It doesn't hit on everything I found to be great but it hits a lot of the best things (especially WGL, CoC, and BAS).

Places to download addons

  • OFP.info 2.0
    • ofp.info was the website I checked daily to know about new mods.

Custom missions

Compilations

Command missions

Sniper missions

Zombie missions

WW2 missions

My favorite addons

Creating custom missions / addons / scripts

General

Ideas

  • Allow the player to dictate where heavy weapons / mines should be placed during the briefing by placing markers on the map.
  • I really wish that when you selected a unit you could see their effective range as some kind of circle around them.
  • Compare the length of an engagement in OFP between two squads at certain ranges to the length of the same engagement in CMBO

  • Allow AI to "take cover" and setpos them below the level of the ground so they're less exposed.

  • MP idea: two people face off, each controls a squad, but neither player is allowed to use a weapon themselves, they can only direct their squad

  • Use the "seed" approach used in Superflight to generate super-high-detail terrain for an OFP-style / open-world game. That way you only have to keep track of the seeds and maybe some general information about that section of the map (elevation, foliage type, etc.).
  • Realistic running speed and tiredness
  • Realistic rate of fire for accurate rifle shots and/or being able to have both accurate fire and inaccurate fire (like how America's Army works).

Tools

Arma 1 (ARMA: Combat Operations)

Mods

Arma 2

Arma 3

Problems

AI

  • The AI are still too accurate
  • The AI can "see through trees" (detect enemies even when their vision of the enemy is blocked by tree trunks).
  • Misc discussions of the AI
    • 2015.04.14 - Reddit - r/arma - Why I think Arma 3 has the most advanced AI in games industry.
    • 2016.06.08 - YouTube - Luetin09 - TANOA AI OP? | ARMA 3 Apex - can AI see through trees?
      • This is a Zeus mission the guy did with some friends to test the AI on a newly-released (at the time) official map, which apparently coincided with some changes to the AI by BIS.
      • 10:25 - With the introduction of the Tanoa map, the AI seemed to have been changed so that when they make contact they don't just go prone, but instead attack / charge in.
      • 12:15 - Because Tanoa has such dense forests, people were concerned the AI would be able to see right through it and shoot players from 100m before the player could see the AI.
      • 12:38 - The dense terrain was limiting FPS for most of the guys to 20-3.0 FPS, which was affecting their reaction time.
      • 14:57 - He mentions that he's noticed that when they're in a firefight with the AI, one of the AI will often peel off from his squad and run around to flank the humans.
      • 17:57 - Example of an AI getting flanked; Leutin makes the point that the AI didn't snap onto the approaching human the way he's seem them do it in the past.
      • 20:04 - Seemingly unrealistic: The AI gets shot and doesn't seem to have any reaction, he keeps his gun raised.
      • 21:10 - They switch to a test of the AI in fields.
      • 25:58 - Slightly questionable behavior from the AI (they're able to see the approaching humans through very heavy vegetation).
      • 27:32 - Luetin says he had heard that the developers had made it possible to suppress the AI.
      • 34:55 - One of the players mention the new AI seem to be more willing to break formation to find cover.
      • 36:00 - An example they point to of an AI pushing forward.  I could be wrong but it looked to me like the AI was the squad leader and was just following his waypoints.
    • 2018.06.24 - BIS forums - AI must have better autonomy.

Guides to playing

Notable custom missions and addons

Misc lists

AI mods

  • ASR AI3
  •  bCombat
    • Armaholic - bCombat Infantry AI mod
      • bCombat core features include:
        • Full-featured morale system: morale affects both AI behaviour and combat effectiveness. AI will act aggressively or passively depending on circumstances.
        • Event driven AI behaviour: any environmental events such as enemies inbound, heard gunfire, suppressive fire, nearby explosions and ricochets or casualties have an effect on AI behaviour.
        • Real-time suppression effects: bCombat relies on (included) bDetect framework for accessing real-time ballistic information on any bullets flying by on the battlefield.
        • Automatic, gunfire aware stance handling: units will crouch, sprint or go prone according to situation
        • Enhanced fire & movement routines
      • Optional (toggleable) features include, as of v0.15:
        • Custom move to cover behaviour
        • Aggressive return fire / fire back behaviour
        • Mutual covering behaviour
        • Suppressive fire behaviour
        • Specialized suppressive / overwatch behaviour
        • Custom fleeing behaviour
        • Surrendering behaviour
        • CQB enhancements
        • Enhanced hearing: units do hear gunfire and explosions at distance
        • Investigate behaviour: units alerted by casualties or gunfire may move to nearby places to investigate enemy presence
        • Enhanced grenade throwing: very short to long distance, includes blind throwing over obstacles
        • Smoke grenade throwing
        • Automatic formation tightening feature
        • Faster movement feature
        • Friendly fire damage capping
        • Custom damage multiplier
        • And more ...
    • 2015.11.23 - YouTube - Uncle Boom - 2015 Arma 3 AI Mod Tournament: bCombat
  •  Vcom
    • Steam Workshop - Vcom
      • AI will clear garrisoned buildings

      • AI will automatically generate waypoints for more interesting and varied combat (AI will not do this if they have certain pre-placed waypoints or more than 1 move waypoint)

      • AI move dynamically from cover to cover while following waypoints

      • AI will call for on-map artillery for support

      • AI will call for reinforcements proportional to the enemy threat

      • AI will garrison structures temporarily in combat, if able

      • AI will look for nearby static weapons to man

      • AI will automatically deploy/pack static weapons

      • AI will use satchels to drop buildings, or setup traps for enemies

      • AI will use mines to on roads, in buildings, or wherever, to stop enemy movement

      • AI will change formations depending on the environment

      • AI will attempt to heal themselves or others when out of combat

      • AI will attempt to rearm themselves from dead bodies, vehicles, and etc when low

      • AI will steal empty or unlocked vehicles

      • AI have a chance to ragdoll when shot, causing them to fall over briefly

      • AI have an enhanced ability to hear and respond to gunfire from a distance

      • AI will respond differently from a weapon that is suppressed or not

      • AI on a hold waypoint will garrison a structure indefinitely, or until provided another order

      • AI, with NVGs, will be able to see your IR laser and respond accordingly. Be careful where you point that thing!

      • AI can have side based/classname based skill settings.

Notable people / groups