Island War 2017 is full rebuild of the original Island War mission for Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising I produced back in 2009.
I worked on the original version for 2 years full time, and a further 2 years part time before shelving the project. With much more experience coding, and a revival of the Multiplayer aspect of Dragon Rising I decided to finish Island War once and for all.
Island War is essentially an Artificial Intelligence. The goal from the beginning was to take the already incredible Ai built into OFDR and layer a third, as-complex Ai on top to control what each group of soldiers does on the Island as a whole.
The result is Ai controlled enemy and ally armies unlike anything you have seen in a game before!
Each soldier is provided a complex reactive Ai by the core game itself. This as is extremely good at reacting to a situation by using what are called "playbooks". These are lists of orders to give themselves depending on the type of soldier they are, and the situation they are in.
Each Echelon (group of soldiers) also has a "playbook" which in a similar manner, tells the group they should do in what situation depending on who is in the squad.
This is where the Ai built into Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising Ends. And it is, in my opinion, some of the most impressive Ai written for a first person shooter.
When the game came out however it is important to stress that development issues and a rushed release meant it was configured very badly, and did not work well. I fixed this myself with a modification called Ultimate AI in 2009.
Ultimate AI is just a reconfiguration of the built in Ai's setup to maximize their effectiveness. I have also upgraded UAI along with Island War with improved movement, healing, weapon usage, vehicle driving, flight behavior and a host of other areas.
Island War creates a final additional Ai for each echelon that is in play and is designed as a goal oriented situation-ally aware behavior system.
At all times each echelon remembers what it was doing last "update", what it is doing now and what it plans to do in the future. It takes this information each update along with all the information it can grab from the game engine about the current situation around it, and runs this data through an extremely complex logic system which shuffles information between past/current/future to come to a final decision as what to do at that very moment.
Rather than having the goal "capture the Skarinka", each Ai has a "home" and a "goal".
Locations that are under enemy control nearby effect the behavior of defenders for example, and naturally creates a situation where defenders gather and eventually attack that location (safest defense is a good offense!)
There are 15 goals that can be chosen from : Defend, Patrol, Roam, Travel, Advance, Attack, Defend Unit, Defend Player, Defend Self, Helicopter Attack, Passenger, Wait Until Bored and Moving for Orders
Each goal is associated to others, so a Defender may go on Patrol, but not start Roaming, unless it decides to not defend home anymore. This can be overridden by situational events such as losing control of a location will turn defenders into Attackers or Advancers depending on the situation.
In between each regular update, IWai can be updated by "Reactive events" which are instant adjustments to the current state of the AI only and are : Under Fire, Hit by fire, Suppressed, Pinned, Morale Break, Command Failure, Unit Death.
The IWai will react to these situation with their own behavioural matrix, but not effect the goal oriented decision making of the regular update. This creates fantastic situational diversity while keeping the flow focused on the objects.
Finally the AI is given a full communications and feedback system that give them over 300 unique sayings and a complete contextual target calling system to immerse you in the battles as the individuals around you fight for their lives!
Please Note that while almost complete, Island War 2017 is still in progress and not yet complete. There are still in a few odd behaviors that need fixing!
But Island War 2017 is not just a mission, it is also a pack of modification that improve the core game itself, and effect not only Island War, but any and all missions available for OFDR. They are :
Improves graphical options in-game to give higher quality texture filtering, tree rendering, grass rendering, LOD detail levels and more resolution setup options.
Also reconfigures terrain texturing for a higher quality look
Improves the weather setups to give greater weather variety and improve overall lighting quality in game. Also removes the heavy post-process color balancing employed by the original game
Ultimate AI 2017
Latest version of my AI rebuild with significant improvements to vehicle and weapon usage, as well as more realistic situational awareness and combat health. Also adjusts pathing and enabled cost-based pathing to be utilised by units which leads to much better chosen routes.
And of course Ultimate AI reconfigures the "Dispersion System" to create much more realistic damage and wounding from weapon fire while not going so far as to make things too difficult.
Visual Effects Update
Adds many additional impact and explosive effects to weapons that create long-term visual damage, smoke and fire effects that last for a very long time. Looks incredible!
Specific only to Island War is a special "Entity Database" built by the community, and then worked on by myself. This configures all the weapons and vehicles in the game to be as accurate to their real-world counterparts as possible, as well as significantly improving the health and stamina system to create a realistic damage with extreme realism. Some wounds just cannot be healed!
Hello everyone! Thanks for being patient with these releases!
By the end of today, you will be able to download a whole heap of new mods to upgrade Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising to its full "Revived" status!
Before I go into each mod and what it does, I will first cover the changes and fixes that have been implemented since the last update.
Health and Armor
Armor in OFDR never worked, unfortunately for whatever reason the code that exists has no effect on the game, and after trying every variation I could imagine, I gave up on the code.
Instead I took advantage of how the health system is divided into sections (head, chest, abdomen, legs, arms) and created a new section called Helmet.
I then modified how much "health" the chest and helmet had so that they appeared to give some protection from bullets. Units not wearing armor (AFV Crew, Pilots, Generals) were then given a custom chest configuration (and for the Generals, no helmet) to negate this, creating armor after a fashion.
Thanks to the 3 level damage reaction mechanic, shooting someone in an armored area requires significant damage to cause any long term effects (bleeding, aim loss, knockdown, incapacitation) while exposed areas cause immediate long-term effects from almost any amount of damage.
The head section, which includes the neck, now also includes both the left and right clavicle (just above the armor), and the Abdomen section is now solely the hip/pelvis area (also un-armored) with the chest armor covering the abdomen area.
Finally each stage of damage reaction has been reworked to give more expected outcomes. Getting shot in exposed areas causes bleeding and shock from just small scratches, and incapacitation or death on anything approaching a serious wound. Heavy firepower will dismember body parts entirely or cause serious visual wounds so you can tell if you killed or wounded someone from just the visual reaction.
All the explosives in the game have been fixed so that they don't bug-out the physics-ragdoll system and cause bodies to either freeze or just disappear. Now when a grenade/explosive goes off, the force applied to units in range is much more realistic (and gruesome).
Tweaks to the AI visual ranges has significantly improved how the AI approach a combat area. Pointed out by Phoenix19843, these simple changes make the AI more effectively use weapons at long ranges, and switch from assault to engage at a much better distance, helping to prevent the AI from getting on top of each other.
Weather and Time
The lighting upgrade has been completed and pushed across the 4 different weather types.
Clear - Starts with completely clear sky, to heavily fogged for the most variation
Cloudy - Partially cloudy to heavily fogged for smoother transitions
Stormy - Partially cloudy (using a different cloud set) to heavily fogged for more choices
Foggy - Cloudy to heavily fogged for smoother transitions
All ammo crates have been fixed to ensure they have the write ammo combinations and all work
Any working model/object has been added as a placeable from the Mission Editor.
$Fluff (all the unfinished/dev stuff) enabled to allow others to mess around
Re-Organised damage for easier editing/modding
Removed completely unusable items for a cleaner DB
Fixed a few typos and other issues done by CM.
Recoil and Sway has been heavily balanced through play-testing to get the weapons to feel heavy and react in a more realistic way. This effects the AI too, and you will notice they go prone more often to get stable with heavy machine guns and sniper rifles so watch out!
Many weapons have been tweaked in regards to how the AI use them, to help balance the gameplay and stop them being too effective to give you a chance!
Each of the mods below effect the core game itself, and are compatible with the original Campaign, Fire Team Engagements and Multiplayer Maps, as well as any Custom-Made mission. (Please Note, any Mission Editor can choose to over-ride Ultimate AI, see their Readme if unsure. This will not effect the other mods)
Ultimate AI 2017
UAI is a complete reconfiguration of the games built-in AI to get the absolute best from it. It covers the following main areas
Vision and Hearing
Central and Peripheral vision has been setup to mimic that of a human, giving the AI much better awareness of what is near them, and requiring "focus" to detect more distant targets. The net result is much more convincing stealth and search mechanics where Line of Sight feels realistic and fair
Object Filtering (how much the AI can see through something) has been adjusted so that they are much less accurate when firing at you through things like bushes, grass and smoke. Large thick bushes and trees will actually block Line of Sight if you stay completely behind them (hiding inside a bush does not work unfortunately, you must be behind it)
I spent a long time balancing the AI's hearing so that they react as realistically as I could get to sound.
See the stealth video for an example. They can no longer detect you immediately by sound, instead they must turn and visually ID you first. This opens up a level of stealth not possible before!
The AI's movement speed, as well as stance choices have been adjusted so that they are able to get into cover faster and protect themselves from fire better. When the AI will search for cover has also been adjusted to help ensure they rapidly follow critical orders (like shooting armor) while still giving them freedom for more generic orders (follow, move, defend) to find cover anywhere.
Every single weapon in the game now has its own unique customised "usage" configuration for the ai. This tells the ai how quickly to fire, the size of a burst and adjustments over different ranges. Along with these configs is individual accuracy configurations per stance to ensure the AI are not too accurate/inaccurate with any particular weapon keeping things fair, but feeling realistic.
Variations in the usage configuration between variation (Assault vs Marksman vs CQB etc) finally makes units act according to their role. A marksman stays back and takes slower, better aimed shots, while a CQB gets in close and opens up!
Each vehicle has been adjusted as best as possible to help make the AI not suck at driving. It is a shockingly flawed system and will never approach good, but at least they get stuck a little less.
Vehicle "reset" time has been reduced so you don't have to wait FOREVER for them to get unstuck.
AI are now aware and able to use all the weapon systems on a vehicle! It is really important you remember this if you are in a helicopter, as most PLA vehicles have anti-air systems!
For the soldier, balancing comes into effect to make vehicle encounters survivable. Heavy cannons (and similar super-powerful systems), while technically perfectly eligible for taking on soldiers, are only used if the vehicle is under heavy fire. The AH6-J is a perfect example of this. It will strafe you with its mini-guns, which is bad enough, but if you all start shooting at it, expect a full salvo of rockets to be coming your way in response!
Each weapon also has a reconfigured target selection matrix, which takes into account distance, morale, pinning, cover, ammo and a host of other situations to rank a particular weapons effectiveness against all known targets in play. The AI then use this information to decide which weapon they are carrying should be used to fire at which target.
This results in a much more complete usage of the weapons available in game. Underslung Grenade Launchers, auxiliary vehicle weapons and modes of fire are now all used by the AI across all weapons and vehicles.
Further tweaks to the healing mechanic in an attempt to make the AI react faster (especially to the player being wounded). This is mostly successful, but a suppressed soldier will never heal unfortunately and this is what usually prevents them from saving you.
Mostly for Mission Editors (in the campaign, soldiers are "regular" and Spec Ops / SOF are "elite") each experience level has been opened up to give huge variation in how experience effects the ai.
Less experience brings faster morale loss, slower weapon aiming, and less precision. Higher experience negates some negative morale effects entirely and improves weapon usage greatly. Elite really are Elite!
For example a squad of "green" soldiers will fall back from a single well placed LMG soldier suppressing them, but just a small Echelon of Elite soldiers will continue the assault even under prolonged focused fire.
Morale and Doctrine
The entire system has been redone from the ground up to create long-term morale effects rather than the nothing-until-broken setup of the original game.
Building morale takes time, but losing it happens quickly. Just a single shot whizzing past an AI is enough to effect their morale.
Thanks to the morale sharing mechanic, the "momentum" of a battle is alot more pronounced now, with taking and dealing damage effecting the AI of all units in the combat area. This leads to moments where you can almost feel the "tide" of battle change for or against you as units start dying and their comrades react.
Doctrine controls how the AI react to a situation (They can be At Ease, Aware and Combat Ready) and previously it was configured so that each state lasted a long time before being down-graded. It turns out this was a mistake, and now that Doctrine's drop very quickly, the AI more realistically return to defensive/idle orders and movements in stealth scenarios. During combat they switch to searching much faster or back to their original order once enemies are dealt with / lost entirely.
Pathing and Object Avoidance
All the Trees and Rocks have been adjusted so that vehicles avoid forests, while troops find it much easier to get behind trees for cover (you will still see the odd idiot standing next to a tree)
Small Flat rocks which were previously ignored are now avoided which helps reduce them getting stuck (vehicles especially)
Vehicle pathing has been adjusted so that it relies more on the local object avoidance than the A* path finding (which ignores objects). This really helps vehicles avoid forests and heavily rocky areas, but its not perfect.
AI now take being shot at ALOT more seriously, and will take cover or hit-the-dirt much faster than before. This really ups their survivability!
New damage reaction mechanics has been unlocked which include :
Knockdown - Heavy damage will cause the AI to fall over. This is not them being blown back like in the movies, but gets them falling to the ground in pain. They will get back up once the shock wears off
DeathRattle - Enough damage will cause the AI to hold down the trigger on their gun, which can lead to wild sprays as they go down (looks awesome)
Concussion - Basically knocks them unconscious for a moment so they cannot react (always paired with knockdown so they don't stand around like idiots while stunned)
EGO Engine Upgrade
This set of mods pushes EGO as far as we can take it right now, giving better graphics, more stuff on-screen and all with better performance. This is done by removing the (now outdated) performance matrix and re-organising the different engine systems across the available CPU threads on your machine (strangely not utilised in the original config)
Additional Aspect Ratio options have been added (these must be manually added to your config file, see the article about it) to help combat the terrible Field of View in the game
Physics and Visual Effects Upgrade
Modifies the special effects used by the engine for impact and explosion effects of different ammunition versus different materials. Explosives churn up much more dirt, set things on fire and cause billowing smoke to fill the scene.
Each explosive ordnance type now has 8 individual material effects instead of just 1!
Each material type has also been adjusted to give more realistic vehicle wheel friction and better bullet penetration.
Weather, Lighting and HDR Upgrade
Improves the sun/moon transitions and changes sunset and sunrise to real-world times for much better day/night cycles.
Fog system reworked to give greater weather variation in the form of thicker, darker clouds, closer fog and darker night times.
Something unique to Island War is my custom eye adaptation simulation via the HDR system. What this does is adjust the way the image is rendered according to how much light is hitting your virtual eyes.
This allows you to see in the dark, but also means anything bright will blind you and ruin your night vision (lights, torches, explosions and muzzle flashes as well as using thermal/night vision for extended periods)
Looking into a building during the day will look very dark, while from the inside it will be nice and bright, with outside being blinding to the eye.
Mission Editor Update
The final mod set upgrades the Mission Editor with improved syntax highlighting, an extremely robust custom auto-help system to replace the Help file and of course the improved Entity Database.
There are too many changes to list one-by-one so instead I will just give the highlights :
All Weapons reconfigured to be more like their real world counter-parts. Each weapon now has a "parent" weapon and all variations are "children" of this base weapon. This makes adding new variations, or modifying existing ones much easier
All Vehicles have been reconfigured to make them handle fantastically and actually be fun to drive
All usable in-game models have been added giving extra weapons and props to use in missions
Ammo Crates expanded to include all weapons in better combinations
New Health and Damage system to give much more variation to damage dealt, and more realistic reactions to that damage
Junk removed from the Database to make it easier to manage
More Unit variations, with better weapon setups to give Mission Editors more choice
A summary of what I've been up to and what's planned!
An overview of the gameplay, objectives and locations in Island War and how to play
A Customised Reshade setup to really bring the game to life!