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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is PlannedAssault?
  2. What is the status of PlannedAssault?
  3. Who is developing PlannedAssault?
  4. Why did you create PlannedAssault?
  5. I want to sign up so I can use PlannedAssault.
  6. I've signed up but didn't receive an activation email.
  7. What version and add-ons are required to run PlannedAssault missions?
  8. Which units are available for use in a mission?
  9. Which (community created) add-ons are supported?
  10. Does PlannedAssault support all ArmA and VBS2 units and maps?
  11. Which browsers are supported by the PlannedAssault web site?
  12. How do I install and launch a PlannedAssault generated mission?
  13. What is included in the generated mission's .zip file?
  14. Can I modify and redistribute a mission generated by PlannedAssault?
  15. Which maneuvers will PlannedAssault generate?
  16. What kind of AI planner does PlannedAssault use?
  17. How is PlannedAssault different from the ArmA mission editor / VBS2 (old 2D) editor?
  18. How is PlannedAssault different from the ArmA quick battle generator?

1. What is PlannedAssault?

PlannedAssault is a web-based mission generator for the Arma* series of games and VBS2** line of simulations.

PlannedAssault enables users, in just a few mouse clicks, to define a mission that has a dozen of squads and platoons perform combined arms maneuvers and organized defense. This mission can be downloaded after it has been 'planned' (generated) by PlannedAssault.

 

The planner part of PlannedAssault generates orders for combined arms maneuvers of friendly and hostile units. The planner also takes care of the technicalities involved in defining ArmedAssault missions, such as triggers, conditions, synchronization.

 

PlannedAssault's use is free for Arma* missions. Commercial PlannedAssault use for VBS2 missions requires a premium account (contact sales@plannedassault.com for more info).  

 

* : The Arma games include: ArmedAssault, Arma II, Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead, Arma: Combined Operations, all created by Bohemia Interactive.

**: The VBS2 simulations are created by Bohemia Simulations, a sister company of Bohemia Interactive. The Arma games and VBS2 share some technology.

2. What is the status of PlannedAssault?

PlannedAssault has been running non-stop since April 2009, computing over 30,000 combined arms maneuvers and delivering over 12,000 mission downloads (Aug 2012).

After a private beta, PlannedAssault became publicly available on March 8, 2010.

 

PlannedAssault is actively maintained, with frequent updates to the mission editor, mod and unit databases, and tactical planner.

3. Who is developing PlannedAssault?

PlannedAssault is being developed and operated by William van der Sterren.

4. Why did you create PlannedAssault?

Today's' games and simulators can render extensive battlefields with hundreds of NPC and player controlled units at high levels of fidelity. However, these same games and simulations frequently lack the ability to direct thoses hundreds of agents into coordinated maneuvers resembling real-life platoon and company tactics. Typically, a human is required to define and plot detailed instructions for each of the units (for example, using a 2D mission editor). Instructing these units is time-consuming, error prone, and requires specialized skills. Computers and software have made great advances, but not yet in automatic mission planning.

 

As a user of these games, this missed opportunity bothered me. As an AI developer, this gap challenged me.

 

Armed with several years of experience in developing tactical NPC behaviors for commercial games, and triggered by a strong interest in AI planning techniques, I started attacking the problem.

Several prototypes and a couple of years later, here is PlannedAssault. Myself and several thousand other users have an easy-to-use web based tool to create large scale battles in minutes...

5. I want to sign up so I can use PlannedAssault.

You're welcome!

Please use the sign-up tab on PlannedAssault's home page to sign-up for free Arma mission planning, and a free preview of VBS2 mission planning.

 

For premium VBS2 mission planning with priority, extensive list of units and terrain, please contact us at sales@plannedassault.com.

6. I've signed up but didn't receive an activation email.

Activation emails are automatically sent within a few minutes after sign-up.

 

If you haven't received an email ten minutes after sign-up, please check your 'spam' or 'junk' folder.

 

If you don't find an activation email there, please try signing up with an email account from a different email provider.

7. What version and add-ons are required to run PlannedAssault missions?

Games:

- Arma2 Operation Arrowhead: the stand-alone variant should suffice (with the latest patch - 1.62).

- Arma II: vanilla Arma II should suffice (with the latest patch - 1.11).

- ArmedAssault: plain ArmedAssault with the latest patch (1.18) should suffice.

- Take On: Helicopters: version 1.05, preferably with the Hinds DLC.

 

Simulators:

- Virtual Battlespace 2 (VBS2/VTK): 1.40 (1.40.52) and 1.50 (1.50.139) are supported.

8. Which units are available for use in a mission?

PlannedAssault's database contains the following units (groups of soldiers and vehicles, from fire team to platoon size):

 

Games:

- Arma II Combined Operations: over 3,100 supported units (click for list, registered users only).

- Arma II Operation Arrowhead: over 1,100 supported units (click for list, registered users only).

- Arma II: over 1,100 supported units (click for list, registered users only).

- Armed Assault: over 300 supported units (click for list, registered users only).

- Take On Helicopters: over 100 supported units (click for list, registered users only).

 

Simulations:

- VBS2 1.50: over 200 supported units (registered users only).

- VBS2 1.40: over 200 supported units (registered users only).

 

Unit counts as of Oct 2011. Premium VBS2 users may propose custom units for the database.

9. Which (community created) add-ons are supported?

PlannedAssault's database includes units and settings from the following (community) add-ons:

 

Games:

- Arma II Combined Operations: over 125 supported add-ons (click for list, registered users only).

- Arma II Operation Arrowhead: over 30 supported add-ons (click for list, registered users only).

- Arma II: over 60 supported add-ons (click for list, registered users only).

- Armed Assault: over 20 supported add-ons (click for list, registered users only).

 

Simulations:

- VBS2 1.50: over 5 supported add-ons (registered users only).

- VBS2 1.40: over 5 supported add-ons (registered users only).

 

Add-on counts as of Oct 2011.

10. Does PlannedAssault support all ArmA and VBS2 units and maps?

No. PlannedAssault supports a selected set of units and maps, for practical reasons.

 

Unit definition involves manual work and checks because not all information for a unit can be automatically determined. For example, the group composition, camouflage scheme, combat abilities have to be determined manually. Obviously, it takes time and effort to define, enter and check this information.

 

Terrain definition on the other hand is largely automated (PlannedAssault uses a terrain representation based on analysis of the Arma / VBS maps), with manual work limited to categorizing the map's objects.

For the Arma games, the main obstacle for introducting additional maps is the game's AI (in)ability to understand and navigate terrain. In terrain with rivers and bridges, steep hills, dense urban areas and dense forests, the Arma game AI tends to get stuck. Since a user typically won't be able to distinguish between a poorly defined mission and the game AI getting stuck, PlannedAssault focuses on those maps which the AI can reliably navigate.

 

Note that premium VBS2 users may propose custom units for the database and specific worlds and map areas or world for mission planning.

11. Which browsers are supported by the PlannedAssault web site?

PlannedAssault supports:

- any recent Mozilla Firefox,

- any recent Google Chrome,

- any recent Safari, and

- Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 and newer.

 

Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7 are NOT capable of rendering the unit placement screen correctly, and are not supported.  

Drag and drop is not yet supported on tablets.

12. How do I install and launch a PlannedAssault generated mission?

Arma, Arma 2, Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead games:

Option 1: install the mission as a 'user mission', and run it from the mission editor:

1. Extract the folder from the downloaded .zip file into your personal 'Missions' folder in c:\user\username\My Documents\game\missions, using your Windows login name for username and 'Arma' or 'Arma 2' for game.

2. Launch the game with all mods required.

3. From the menu, choose 'Single player', next 'Editor', pick the matching world, choose 'load', and choose the mission from the 'mission name' drop down menu.

4. With the mission loaded in the editor, choose 'Preview' to start the mission. Alternatively, press the Shift key while choosing 'Preview' to start the mission with a briefing.

 

Option 2: install the mission as a 'game mission' (may require admin rights), and run it from the single player mission menu:

1. Extract the folder from the downloaded .zip file into the game's 'Missions' folder in C:\Program Files\Bohemia Interactive\game\Missions, using 'Arma' or 'Arma 2' for game.

2. Launch the game with all mods required.

3. From the menu, choose 'Single player', next 'Scenarios'

4. From the 'Single Missions' list of missions, choose your downloaded mission. A map with a 'plannedassault' text will be visible when you select a PlannedAssault mission.

5. Choose 'Play' to launch the mission.

 

 

VBS2 1.40, VBS2 1.50 simulations:

Option 1: install the mission as a 'user mission', and run it from the (old 2D) mission editor:

1. Extract the folder from the downloaded .zip file into your personal 'Missions' folder in C:\Users\username\Documents\VBS2\missions, using your Windows login name for username.

2. Launch VBS2.

3. From the menu, choose 'Mission Editor', pick the matching world, choose 'Old Editor'.

4. Once in the editor, select 'Load' and choose the mission from the 'mission name' drop down menu.

4. With the mission loaded in the editor, choose 'Preview' to start the mission. Alternatively, press the Shift key while choosing 'Preview' to start the mission with a briefing.

 

Option 2: install the mission as a 'scenario' (may require admin rights), and run it from scenario menu:

1. Extract the folder from the downloaded .zip file into directory \missions, substituting your VBS2 installation directory for .

2. Launch the game with all mods required.

3. From the menu, choose 'Training Scenarios'

4. From the list of scenarios, choose your downloaded mission. A map with a 'plannedassault' text will be visible when you select a PlannedAssault mission.

5. Choose 'Start' to launch the scenario.

13. What is included in the generated mission's .zip file?

The mission .zip file contains a folder named after the mission and the mission's world. That folder includes the following files and folders:

- mission.sqm, defining the units, waypoints, mission end conditions

- init.sqf, initialization script, starting various scripts and defining per-unit task information

- overview.html, providing mission info for the Arma/VBS2 mission/scenario selection menu

- readme_.txt, providing background info on the mission generated and a list of add-ons along with url's required by the mission

- planned_assault folder, containing a number of .sqf scripts enabling the AI to perform certain actions such as mounting vehicles, fast-roping, firing artillery missions.

14. Can I modify and redistribute a mission generated by PlannedAssault?

Yes, it is completely yours.

15. Which maneuvers will PlannedAssault generate?

Currently, PlannedAssault supports:

- single and multi-pronged attacks

- static defense, and a variant with a mobile counter-attacking element

- air assaults (both helicopters landing to insert dismounts, and low-altitude para drops) and fast-roping insertions

 

Please check back for more maneuvers.

16. What kind of AI planner does PlannedAssault use?

PlannedAssault performs multi-unit planning with preference-driven Hierarchical Task Networks, searching in plan space using A*.  

Here are several presentations providing more background:

- 'Hierarchical Plan-Space Planning for Multi-Unit Maneuvers' slide set, invited talk at the Planning in Games workshop as part of the International Conferenced on Automated Planning Systems (ICAPS), June 10, 2013, Rome, Italy.

- 'AI Planner for Multi-Unit Combined Arms Maneuvers' slide set, as presented at TNO-FEL, the Hague on November 5, 2010.

- 'Multi-Unit Planning with HTN and A*' slide set, as presented at the AIGameDev Paris Game AI conference on June 10-11 2009 in Paris, France.

17. How is PlannedAssault different from the ArmA mission editor / VBS2 (old 2D) editor?

Use of PlannedAssault does not require extensive training

 

PlannedAssault allows placement of well documented groups (squads, platoons) from an extensive database.  

High level unit behavior is automatically generated by PlannedAssault given one or two objectives, instead of manually prescribed using dozens of waypoints and triggers.

 

PlannedAssault supports high level unit behaviors that would be too complex to define using the 2D mission editor. Behaviors such as air assaults (air landings, and fast-rope insertions), artillery and close-air support are implemented with the help of scripts, which are automatically included and invoked in the generated mission.

 

Generated missions come with detailed briefings and per unit task hints matching waypoint progress.

 

Large scale maneuvers can be created in 5 to 10 minutes.

18. How is PlannedAssault different from the ArmA quick battle generator?

PlannedAssault is able to create larger combined arms maneuvers, along with plan information which is used to brief each and every participant.

 

PlannedAssault generated missions may involve air assaults (air landings, fast-rope insertions, para drops), artillery and close-air support.

 

PlannedAssault offers an extensive list of units groups (from individual vehicle to platoons), along with weapon and camouflage information, also for community add-ons.

 

Using PlannedAssault, there is no need to explicity define the opposing force's maneuver.