F99th DCS Mission Building Standards and Practices

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pyromaniac4002
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F99th DCS Mission Building Standards and Practices

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Post by pyromaniac4002 » 19 May 2019, 15:58

So you'd like to put your mission on our server, huh?

Well first, thank you very much for your interest, DCS enthusiasts like you are the ones that keep our fiery DCS: Passions well-fueled and all-consuming; but second, there's a couple of things we need to check out first:

In the interests of promoting a consistent, enjoyable, and accessible user experience between missions built by various mission builders, here are some guidelines we would like to enforce for any mission that might be considered to be used as a mainstay of our mission rotations.
  • Verify mission options force the following settings:
    1. F10 visibility is set to Allies Only or Fog of War
    2. F5 Nearest Aircraft Padlock External View is off
    3. F2 External Aircraft view is on
    4. Bird strike chance percentage is set to 0
    5. Random aircraft failures are disabled
    6. Aircraft labels are disabled
    7. Unlimited ammunition is disabled
    8. Invincibility is disabled
    9. Allow player aircraft recovery
  • For everything recorded in the mission briefing, make sure to include information that is common to both coalitions in the "Situation" section (i.e., F99th server rules, TS info, mission situation details, etc.) and information that is unique to each side in their respective "Red/Blue Task" section (i.e., objectives, radio frequencies, navigation aids, etc.)
  • At a minimum, radio frequencies are designated for AWACS (251 AM), Guard (243 AM), and any other team assets included (tankers, JTACs, etc.), additional frequencies may be designated as the mission maker sees fit
  • In-use radio frequencies and navigational aids are listed in the in-game mission briefing (in addition to anywhere else the builder may decide to record them)
  • Nuclear weapons (currently RN-24 and RN-28 in the unguided bombs category) are removed from airfield inventories or are otherwise unable to be carried and dropped by player aircraft, unless otherwise discussed and agreed upon with F99th admins (some limited use as a gameplay device may be acceptable)
  • Aerial refueling for both boom- (one slow for A-10s and one fast for F-15s) and basket-type refueling is included as much as is appropriate in the context of the mission and employ the following guidelines:
    1. Each tanker is set to it's own radio frequency, has a unique callsign (Arco, Shell, Texaco) and is set to a unique TACAN channel with a unique 3 letter identifier corresponding to its callsign (i.e., ARC, SHL, TEX, or TX1/TX2)
    2. All tankers are invincible, invisible to AI, set to ignore all threats, and integrated with Shadow's acServiceCheckerV2 script
      • This requires setting the tanker unit pilot names appropriately, for example: “Arco ARC 42 X 262” for Arco on TACAN 42X with identifier ARC and radio frequency 262.000 AM for communications
    3. All tankers are on their own racetrack orbit of at least 25 nautical miles in length and with sufficient lateral or vertical separation from adjacent tankers (5 nautical miles lateral or 4,000 feet vertical)
    4. The speed and angels of the tankers should be set according to the capability of the receiving aircraft; an A-10-capable boom tanker should not exceed 210 knots IAS and 20,000 feet altitude, tankers serving any other aircraft can be set to different speeds more freely but should still not exceed 38,000 feet in altitude
  • Aircraft carriers of all types are included as much as is appropriate in the context of the mission and employ the following guidelines:
    1. Copies of the same carrier type are distinguished by the name of another ship in the same class (i.e., "USS Washington" when "USS John C. Stennis" is already in use)
    2. Any player aircraft assigned to spawn on the ships are set to ramp start with 100% fuel and no weapons loaded
    3. All carriers that are relatively close to one another should be assigned distinct radio frequencies so a player knows they’re talking to the right carrier ATC (important for getting the lights turned on during a night approach)
    4. Navigational aids including TACAN and ICLS are configured uniquely in channel and identifier (i.e., "STN" for "Stennis," "TAR" for "Tarawa") for each ship
    5. Include a triggered action on the aircraft carrier group to set TACAN on the carrier and create a mission trigger to fire this action every 5 minutes to refresh the TACAN so it doesn’t stop working like it will otherwise eventually do
    6. Any escorting ships should be placed as a member of the carrier group
    7. All carrier groups are assigned to follow a racetrack pattern that provides a steady heading for the vast majority of its transit time and a sufficient number of waypoints should be placed to yield an ETA for the final waypoint of at least 24 hours from the mission start time
  • Player aircraft which make use of scripts such as FAC or CTLD are placed as individual groups, or in other words do not add any such slots as wingmen (this can interfere with the proper functioning of such scripts)
  • Player aircraft are assigned unique callsigns and bort numbers (as much as possible; at some point duplication may become unavoidable but try to prioritize aircraft types which make frequent use of AWACS/GCI being uniquely identified so they can unambiguously determine if an AI AWACS call is meant for them)
  • Player aircraft callsigns are included in some fashion in the group name so players know exactly what their callsign is
  • Player aircraft should be set up with radio frequency presets whenever possible; at the very least AWACS (251 AM) must be tuned as the default frequency, further presets should then be delegated to Guard (243 AM), tankers, airfields/carriers, or open frequencies for flights as desired by the mission maker
  • Include radio presets for each aircraft type in the mission briefing or information on where to find them if recorded elsewhere (i.e., for F/A-18s preset 1 is AWACS, 2 is Guard, 3 is tanker Arco, etc.)
  • Scripting in missions should be included on the basis of what contributes most to the player's experience while avoiding excessive penalty in server performance and stability; DCS.exe loves to crash and best practice is to give it as few excuses to do so as possible
  • Mission filenames should follow the convention "Mission Name Here v1.0," add an “F99th-” prefix if designed by a member of F99th, denote incremental fixes and changes by increasing the version number by 0.1 while more substantial mission changes are denoted by increasing it by 1.0
  • If you desire to make changes or fixes to an existing mission made by someone else, try to get in contact with them before doing so; explain what you'd like to change/fix, learn about any peculiarities of how their mission is set up, and of course get their permission
Again, thank you for your support. Mission building in DCS is one of the most time and energy consuming aspects of this hobby, we appreciate and empathize with all those who subject themselves to this essential task. If you need help with something in building your mission, just drop us a line in the Discord mission-builders channel (request the mission builder role from an admin if you don't see it).
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