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Campaign Design

Campaign Design by Snake Man

This is some thoughts about how to design a campaign.

First of all you need to decide if its a story line driven or mission content driven. What it means is that if you have really good story line, you can manage with slim mission content (however it is at the end first person shooter which you cant forget) or if you lack story line elements you need to beef up the mission content to the maximum.

Story line Driven

You have intensive characters which player familiarizes and attaches himself, there is a lot of cutscenes which make movie kind of atmosphere and tells the story. This sort of campaign can be small like 5-10 missions or so.

Mission Content Driven

If the story line is slim, there is maybe no characters to recognize, cutscenes are just something random or similar non interesting, then you concentrate on the mission content game-play for example 50 missions so the player really feels like doing hard work to complete the campaign. The PMC campaigns (except few) are content driven, like in PMC Fury we have over 200 (yes, two hundred) missions where you painstakingly go through the BIS islands with a precision to cover all the landmass available, the cutscenes in this campaign were poor if not totally worthless but the missions then balanced the whole thing. At the same time the mission content can include tight team saving (saveStatus) and/or weapon saving (weaponPool) which also brings the content level up a notch.

Of course who's to say that you cant have story line driven campaign of 200 missions with team and weapon save, I just haven't seen one yet ;)

Mission Techniques

Campaign description.ext

When you have decided what sort of campaign you want to have, you must make absolute sure that the campaign description.ext (not the mission!) works perfectly, this can be easily tested with the endmission cheat. Just start your campaign and after the briefing when you are in-game, hit endmission cheat and you get to see next mission, or you end up with error that your description.ext is broken. It is essential that this campaign backbone is working before you release your campaign.


Make sure your mission triggers work, since you do a campaign which is many missions (no, I'm not talking about 2 mission campaign) you should create one set of triggers which you confirm carefully that they work and only then you start to use them in the campaign on all of its missions. Sure some missions require different type of triggers, but same applies here, you must check the triggers in easier conditions than just dropping them into real missions with hundreds of enemies and whatnot.


Put all music files into the campaign root under its description.ext so they are available on all missions, this way you can have many tracks on all missions with only one sound file download per track. It is stupid to duplicate same music track for two or more missions on their individual mission\music\ dirs. For more details please read DtaExt in campaigns.


Put all your scripts into campaign root under “Scripts” directory, this way any scripts used in multiple missions, can be read from one dir instead of copying them on each mission dir.

Design Document

Creating Campaign Manuscript

When I design a campaign I can just start to slam units in editor which shapes itself then into a campaign, this actually was what happened to PMC Command Campaign. It started with one generic mission, then came another one and soon I noticed I already changed island when I did the missions in campaign style. Lateron PMC Command Campaign evolved into its present state which is so much more than it started, even its name evolved to PMC Baltic Command.

Another way is to not even touch mission editor, but open a text file and map of the island terrain(s), then start to plan how you want to missions to proceed by looking interesting places on the map or just to see that you cover each city or landmark. You then proceed to write the mission names, dates, times and small descriptions into the text file. Also recently on the PMC Joint Justice campaign I wrote the normal text file, but also made 1 jpg image out of each mission showing illustration in the island map of where the units are starting, attacking, defending and where the objectives are etc. It became so easy to afterwards start to build the missions in mission editor, as the complete manuscript / design document was already done. In programming circles its been said that you have to design the program first, then the coding itself goes without a problems. I'd say same applies to campaign creation.

What you should know

  • Do not put mission.sqm into the campaign root dir, it does not belong there
  • Clean out unused files from all dirs
  • Make use of root\Scripts\ directory for all your scripts
ofp/missions/campaign_design.txt · Last modified: 2017-10-13 20:07 by snakeman