More fun with ArmA scripting

I spent much of my precious little free time this week playing with my chopper evacuation script again. This time, as I had planned, I cloned the escort chopper portion of the script replacing the attack chopper with a transport chopper.

Unfortunately I had quite a bit of trouble getting this part of the operation to work as smoothly as I had imagined. No matter how I got my script working it seemed that the whole rescue squad that disembarks, waits for the player to board, and then hops back on concept was destined to failure. Most likely the squad would be slaughtered while leaving the chopper and, if not, the chopper would probably be full of holes before any of them decided it might be a good idea to shoot back. I decided to simply put an infantry squad on the chopper in case it got shot down but that was it – nothing fancy. I figured the door gunners could suppress the ground a bit if enemies were around and hopefully even fire while waiting on the ground.

After doing a bit of testing with live enemies in the immediate area of the landing zone I was pretty dissatisfied with the whole thing. The Blackhawk barely returned fire at the enemies on the ground and often got shot down or, better yet, destroyed after landing on the ground. Still, it was pretty exciting, dynamic stuff. Here’s proof:

I spawned standing only a hundred feet or so from a full squad of enemies who were luckily all facing the other direction. I quickly jumped to the ground and dialed up both an escort and an evacuation choppers on my radio. Soon enough I got to see the awesome sight of both helos flying in together as if in formation over my position as I crawled behind some bushes – the Cobra coming in low over the enemy squad and the Blackhawk swinging around to make a quick landing on the nearby beach.

After a few short bursts from its miniguns the Blackhawk actually lands quickly for once so I leap up and make a mad dash towards it, circling around rocks and bushes to put some soft cover between the now very aware enemy squad an I. As I’m about 20 feet away from the Blackhawk… BOOM! A massive explosion! Most likely from an enemy RPG. It doesn’t blow the Blackhawk up but definitely disables it. The living squad and crew members immediately disembark just as I make it to the door of the chopper… Doh! The squad begins to spread out and take cover behind the unexposed side of the Blackhawk, the sound of bullets spraying its thin metal armor deafening.

The Cobra swings in a few more times over the enemy squad unleashing a small volley of rockets and then zooms off towards the enemy armor in the distance to do what it does best. The remaining enemies continue lighting up our position with automatic weapon fire as they start to slowly advance on the sight of the downed Blackhawk. As the volume of fire lessens slightly I decide to creep up through the underbrush to see what is left of the OPFOR.

I come across a couple of bodies of the friendly squad from the downed chopper and grab myself an M4 and an AT4 so that I can actually defend myself. I crawl up further and spot an enemy laying a couple of hundred feet away and hear the crack of his weapon’s report as he evidently spots me as well. I duck behind a small bush and then peep out to finish him off. Suddenly our Cobra is back although all it is doing is hovering over the enemies and not actually shooting at them… I really need to look into that. At least its letting me know there are still enemies around. As I crawl forward a bit more I see another and immediately start trading shots with him only this time I’m not having much luck actually hitting him. Luckily another friendly soldier takes a knee 15 feet or so behind me and is able to finish him off. Sensing his work is done the Cobra zooms off back to base.

Well, I’m stuck out here with a handful of soldiers I have no control over (something else to add!) and with no way home I might as well go over the hill and see what kind of damage the Cobra did to the enemy armor I had setup for earlier escort request tests. I slowly make my way over hill after hill until I can just barely make out the thick black smoke of a downed tank – I’m close. As I crest the next hill I come across an lone BMP-2 sitting in a small valley. He doesn’t see me so I sprint out, take a knee, and launch my AT4 at him – direct hit but oddly not much happens. Doh! This one has already been destroyed by our Cobra friend. I’m so out of practice…

Don't pilots get paid too much for this shit?
“Don’t pilots get paid too much for this shit?”

I again very, very slowly make my way over the next hill. This time I can see the smoldering wreckage of another BMP and a couple more wrecks as well. Strangely enough I don’t see any of the enemy soldiers that I know should be in the area. I do see what appears to be two intact BMPs although they don’t seem to be manned. I put my AT4 on my shoulder and carefully toast both vehicles and now that I’ve effectively announced my presence I see a small group of enemy soldiers make a dash out of some bushes and onto their bellies – time for some action! I start lighting them up but it quickly becomes apparent that their are way more of them than I expected never mind that I’m having serious issues with actually hitting any of them because of the distance.

After moving back and forth between bushes to attempt to conceal myself somewhat, popping out on occasion to try to take out some of my targets, I pretty much finish off the last of the guys I can see and at last stop taking firing. That was an intense little firefight! I cautiously creep forward just a bit more and suddenly hear the roaring of a tank, possibly multiple tanks, starting up. They wouldn’t be moving unless they had a good reason to – they spotted me!

I dart 20 or 30 feet back to where I came from and dive behind a bush and a large protruding boulder. It sounds like they’re getting closer and closer – what in the hell can I do? My AT4 is empty and I’ve got nothing else that can harm a BMP let alone a T-72. Then it pops into my head – my Cobra escort made it back to base… he should be available for another mission! I quickly dial him up on my radio and try to stay calm as I listen to the loud engines and crushing tracks of the enemy armor getting closer and closer. If they see me before my air support comes, which will probably take quite a while, I’m done for.

Watching the fireworks.
“Watching the fireworks.”

Finally after what seemed like an eternity of hiding curled up in a bush making peace with my maker I hear the all too familiar sound of the Cobra’s rotor slicing through the air. It slows down drastically as it sees the enemy armor, at first I think he might even be going down, but no, he launches a couple of missles and soon mops up the remaining enemy armor on the beach. Thanks, that was intensely close!

In the commotion I saw several more enemy soldiers running around so I inch around, assault rifle dug deep into my shoulder, looking for any sign of these stragglers. An enemy machine gunner unleashes a massive spray of fire at me but totally misses and I smirk as his tracer rounds spray ridiculously far off target. I spray indiscriminately at the bush he is taking cover behind and the fire sppm stops – one down! I inch forward a bit more and squeeze off a few well aimed rounds at another enemy who is taking pot shots at me from prone position about 40 feet away. I slowly make my way forward, towards the sight of the majority of the now destroyed armor, as the Cobra circles over head.

Black smoke fills the horizon and then, suddenly, the sound of a new engine and the addition of a new, brown, puff of smoke joins the others making an obvious contrast. What the fuck? Someone just jumped into another abandoned BMP! The chopper appears to be out of ammo as he circles it harmlessly and I still have no means of taking something like this out on my own. Hoping the luck is on my side I slowly approach the body of the last enemy I shot and… eureka! He had an RPG!

Well, it might have seemed like a good place to hide...
“Well, it might have seemed like a good place to hide…”

I grab the RPG, reload it, shoulder it, peer through the sight, and squeeze the trigger resulting a direct hit to the back of the BMP before any of the crew even have a chance to notice me. MISSION COMPLETE! Man, what a tense and action packed little scenario, especially considering it all started out as such a simple little code test. Damn, I love this game! 🙂

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