DRO & TRGM: Two Excellent Small-Unit Ops Mods for ArmA 304 Jul 2019 0
For years, randomized missions and campaigns have been a popular type of mod for Bohemia Interactive’s Arm3 3, with popular examples including Dynamic Universal War System, Pilgrimage, ALiVE, and Whole Lotta Altis. They all attempt to toss ArmA 3’s systems and maps together to make for emergent gameplay. Two of the most interesting of these mods however offer smaller-scale experiences that try to strike a balance between craft and randomization.
Modder “mbrdmn” has been developing Dynamic Recon Ops (DRO) for a few years now, and “treendy” started releasing beta versions of Treendy’s Randomly Generated Missions 2.0 (TRGM2) last year. Both randomly drop a few mission objectives on a map for you to complete, designed to usually take an hour or so, but approach this goal in different ways which give each mod advantages over the other.
DRO is one of our favourite mods for ArmA 3, but there are quite a few more.
After picking a map in DRO, you pick a location where it will generate between one and a few objectives. After that you can either pick or randomize your insertion, the size of your team, what support you get (artillery, drones, airstrikes), and your equipment. You can pick factions, time of day, weather, the presence of civilians, the presence of mines, as well as the number and type of objectives.
Objective types include things like killing high-value targets, rescue missions, defending positions and civilians from attacks, securing towns with the help of AI squads, destroying vehicles and caches, and defusing bombs. Enemy resistance usually consists of patrols, bunkers, and checkpoints with the occasional airborne reinforcements. An extraction phase usually follows mission completion where you either call in a helicopter or simply escape the area of operation.
One interesting customization aspect is that you can configure the difficulty of DRO’s enemy AI independent of ArmA 3 itself. The mod has “action” and “realism” settings where you can tune enemy numbers and accuracy to levels more akin to mainstream military shooters.
What’s so interesting about DRO is how well-paced some of the resulting missions can be despite how randomized they are. There’s a feeling that anything can happen once your team drops in – be helicopter, HALO drop, or land (I got a boat insertion once). I’ve had missions I could immediately complete with an airstrike or drone attack. I’ve also had missions immediately turn disastrous when the enemy overran the insertion point. I’ve had missions where completing the actual objectives was easy and uneventful, but the extraction turned into a quagmire.
Most DRO missions however involve long walks (or drives) between objectives, with lots of scouting and planning. I could take several minutes to set up a plan that takes less than a minute to actually execute. DRO often tries to emphasize the “Recon” part of its title. Often you have to pinpoint where objectives actually are by scouting or searching buildings and dead enemies for intel. Some might find this boring, but in my experience it’s typical of ArmA pacing in general – the contrast between long periods of quiet and brief-but-intense exchanges of gunfire.
TRGM2’s stated purpose is to deliver a “more hand-crafted” feel. This is what it does, though at the cost of some variety compared to DRO.
It generates a suite of objectives in random locations that are pretty similar to DRO’s, but instead of procedural sets of bunkers and checkpoints, TRGM2 presents you with more standardized formations of enemies. You end up facing off more heavily guarded objectives than in DRO which makes TRGM2 a better challenge, but all the battles I fought in TRGM2 felt pretty similar.
Each one is usually three enemy outposts that surround an HVT, a vehicle you need to blow up, a rescue target, or something you need to steal. The mod does however have a campaign mode that seems to cover the whole map with sets of these missions together with a civilian reputation system and random events between missions, but I personally couldn’t get it to start on my installation.
The way TRGM2 handles mission prep is pretty interesting. While DRO’s mission prep all happens in menus, spawning you en route to the AO, TRGM2 spawns your team at either a friendly checkpoint or an elaborate home base with plenty of vehicles and gear for a more seamless experience. TRGM2 even lets you pilot a fighter or bomber, but conversely only DRO has HALO drops.
TRGM2 also handles civilians better than DRO. DRO’s civilians are really just random NPCs who run around and occasionally draw a gun on you or give you intel. TRGM2 properly situates civilians in buildings making towns feel more inhabited. You can check all of them for weapons, and I even encountered a random event where I chose to help some civilian paramedics tend to wounded people, but there was a suicide bomber hiding in their midst.
Although TRGM2 is the follow-up to a mod that came out around the same time as DRO, DRO definitely feels like it’s in a more advanced state development-wise.
TRGM2 so far only supports around a dozen maps and a handful of factions – ArmA 3’s official factions and ones from popular mods like Community Upgrade Project and Red Hammer Studios. This is partially due to treendy needing to specifically design the home base and other things for each individual map. Treendy also doesn’t intend to bring TRDM2 to Arma 3’s main map – Altis, until its campaign mode is more mature. mbrdmn however designed DRO so he and others could easily port it to dozens of other maps, and it’s compatible with any faction you might have installed in ArmA 3.
Both of these mods are fun ways to get quick-fix ArmA 3 missions, either in singleplayer or co-op, it just depends on what you’re after. TRGM2 seems have more ambitious and difficult scenarios, but DRO probably has a broader possibility space as of right now.