Guide for Arma 3 – The Elements of Zeusing (WIP)
I remember my first Zeus mission pretty clearly, ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ about whilst trying to remember what the actual hell I was doing in the Zeus slot. Too scared to ask questions about how to Zeus so I decided “♥♥♥♥ it, we’re winging it boys.” Doubts had begun building up in my mind, I was ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ sweating man. It felt like at any moment people would start yelling at me with all their might about how ♥♥♥♥♥♥ I was.
But in the end it turned out alright. They played my missions, the herded player base was happy enough with what ever ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ mission I fed them with. I heard screams of terror and screams of joy, but in the end it turned out alright. At least I did something right
So I implore whoever is starting to Zeus or starting to read this guide to enjoy yourselves whilst learning what Zeus’ing is and to not be intimidated. It’s a creative endeavor to an end of having the player base enjoying themselves, or enjoying your time as a Zeus to get the best feedback on your mission that you hammered to perfection. Or just ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ around with the player base themselves. All in all it’s a tool that you can have fun with in the end – and it doesn’t always have to be the most and best mission you’ve ever made to reach the fun zone.
I mean I can’t count the many times I’ve enjoyed playing Zeus missions or Zeus’ing myself. Take for example, herding a whole public Zeus server into a church to praise god as we slowly get surrounded by CSAT right outside the doorsteps of said church. Or just going to wherever the zeus wants us to as we all laugh in joyous tears at whatever is thrown at us. Whether intentionally or unintentionally like your good’ol Arma physics, whilst taking a nice joyous ride with your mates in a full car you suddenly get sent flying into space as though as if you were in some sort of ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ space program. Or Zeus just ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ with us using his lightning as we casually chatted.
Zeus was my first introduction to Arma, so I’ll never forget my experiences with it.
Anyways – enough with the moody talk – let’s get to it.
Introduction: Basic Principles
If you know what Zeus is, skip this paragraph.
To simplify Zeus in an understandable way – Zeus’ing is essentially like an RTS. But the main difference is the fact that it’s almost like being a creative writer or mission creator, a creator of your own story. Your goal isn’t to really kill the players that you interact with on the ground – but to create a memorable or just a good fond experience overall for the people on the ground. Make sure you remember this.
To create a mission however requires an utmost understanding of the basic controls and interface that you have at your disposal. To understand these controls better you can make your own Zeus mission in the editor, thereafter looking at this guide or looking in the options to check the controls. I recommend you remember your/these default keybinds as they will become very useful in the future.
- Middle Mouse Button click – Teleport camera to cursor on map
- W, A, S, D – Z and X movement of Camera in relation to the terrain
- Q, Z – Elevation control of your Camera
- G – Eject units and selected unit out of vehicle
- F – Teleport Camera to selected unit, Lock camera onto unit with Ctrl + F
- Shift – Faster Camera speed movement, Changing rotation of selected object by holding and dragging
- Delete – Delete selected objects
- End – Destroy/Kill any selected objects
- Alt – Creating Cycle (PATROL) waypoint for unit, Changing elevation of any selected object by holding and dragging
- Right Click – Rotate Camera view, Make a waypoint for selected units
- Ctrl – Toggle multiple placement of waypoints, Changing the group of units by holding and dragging on units, Lock camera onto unit in conjuction with Ctrl + F
- Numpad Enter – See through the eye’s of the selected unit
- Scroll wheel – Move camera forward/back in relation to cursor
If you don’t know how to create your own zeus playable mission, I’ve provided a few images guiding you through below.
On the mainscreen of Arma, go ahead and select the Editor.
Then Select a map of your choice.
Once you have loaded into the game, on the right hand side put down a unit. This will be your player unit when you play the scenario. Go ahead and double click that unit you placed. It will open up a menu. A new screen will popup, under the (Object: Init) tab give the unit a variable of whatever you want. I gave mine wasd. Remember your variable.
On the right hand side, select the modules by pressing the stacked boxes on the top right hand side or pressing f5. Select the gear icon below it. Afterwards go ahead and look under the Zeus category, then place down a Game Master module.
Once you have placed down your module go ahead and double click it. This will open up another menu. Under the (System Specific…), input the variable you gave your unit on the (Owner) input – of which mine should be wasd. This will make the unit you put down the owner of the Zeus module. Afterwards if you have any mods, click the default addons drop down menu and select (All Addons (including unofficial ones)). Once you’re done click the ok button on the bottom right hand side.
Go ahead and click the (Play Scenario) at the bottom right hand side of your screen.
Once you have loaded in, press Y. This will open up the Zeus menu.
Starting Off: Story & Tools
Beware that I’m going to be using the scenario of Official Public Zeus as an example in terms of starting and ending. A majority of elements in this guide however do apply to custom Zeus missions.
If you’re just starting out it’s alright to not strive to hit these elements at first – it is better to get a understanding of the foundations of Zeus first before focusing on story.
The first thing you should be thinking about as an experienced Zeus is story. Almost like a complex puzzle piece, the story elements of Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why must fit together – except the twist is the fact that you’re creating this puzzle. If you’re striving to create an interesting story it is recommended to think about these elements before creating the mission – then getting feedback.
One part about story however – about Why – is probably the hardest one to problem solve.
I cannot fathom the many times I’ve heard, or hell even asked WHY we do these things. Why should we stay to fight the enemy? Why can’t we (insert here). Why can’t we tactical retreat? etc. etc. But then if you manage to take that Why and twist it to your favor, you can create player interest of your story. Why did this happen? Why are these enemies cross dressing? Why are there dead civilians? But if you can’t twist’em, always have a plan to counter these why questions when they are thrown around. Always make sure your scenario makes sense.
I would also like to mention the tools that are offered to Zeus, and one of those being the vital Remote Controlling found under the modules category and under the Zeus tab. It’s a good tool in terms of being able to RP. Do know that in public Zeus you need to use Global Channel as direct communications do not work.
There is also usage of the Hint system under the training. It’s a good tool for including RP. For example, when searching through a wreckage/corpse, entering a room full of bodies, you can quickly plop down a hint and type out what the players do more thoroughly. Whether that be searching and finding an item not usually available like a note or making up how the player would react when entering these situations. Another example is when doing stealth missions. When the player’s engage an enemy and it is prolonged to where the enemies can fire back – depending on the parameters of how you want the enemies to react you can hint the players of what the enemies did more so specifically. Did he panic as he tried to grab his radio before you shot him? Did you remote control the guy to run behind cover, but he got shot right before he was able to call out enemy contact? Did his radio crackle with panicked foreign voices when the players approached their corpses? This is just a few examples of what you can do with the hinting system.
Of course to create an interesting story also involves the amount of dedication the player base in your server is willing to input for your missions. Always make sure you know your player base. Are they going to be serious? Are they going to just ♥♥♥♥ around? Are they organized? How many players are there? Do they communicate? Do they have an established leader? These questions regarding the player base are always revolving around in my head. Then when you get a response – adapt. Do not waste energy on exceeding expectations of a well made story driven mission when the players do not care enough to organize or care enough to play a mission properly.
The player base maybe to blame sometimes, however there are also restrictions on Zeus. It is crucial as a Zeus to not ABUSE YOUR POWERS. Think of it like equilibrium or balance. Too much and the player base gets pissed. Have too little – then the mission becomes too easy or boring. You want to give them a challenge, but not to the point of where they will constantly die under certain circumstances. If you cannot keep game play balanced, this will result in them not focusing on your story – rather them focusing on replacing you or how horrid of a Zeus you are. Of course this doesn’t mean all players are the same in terms of passing their own personal judgement. But it is to say to always keep your eyes on how balanced you want your mission to be. I would also like to mention that with balance, you will also have to consider reality. What would the AI/enemies do? How would they respond? What kind of gear would they have? etc.
Now when you consider the kind of gear the enemies would have, also consider the equipment you give to the players. If the enemy has tanks, should I give them tanks? What are the parameters of the missions? Would it be proper to give them (vehicle) in response to this? As mentioned before it’s an act of balance and reality, and depending on your mission parameters you should respond with what you think is best for the player’s. Still – when players ask for assets do not be afraid to say no, and before you do always consider how it will affect the mission.
How can I help? : Moderators’ role
Glancing over the topic of Moderators, they are a valuable asset if you have a good one by your side, Or you yourself can become a moderator as it is a good learning tool . Do note that Moderators are meant to help the Game Master – the Main Zeus. Not to jerk off in a corner and ♥♥♥♥ around with their own ♥♥♥♥ – unless if it is explicitly allowed under certain circumstances.
Moderator’s can help you discuss ideas, come up with new mission ideas, or – reviewing the topic of balance – discuss whether or not you should do x and y. They can help you distract the players as you focus on the mission on hand or hell can even be directed to help you build a mission. Or you both can RP in moments together.
For example, a survivor of a convoy being controlled by Game Master/Zeus comes out of hiding. The survivor tells the players valuable information but right after emitting the information is shot by a sniper being controlled by the moderator. Or you can have a cross-dressed faction come up to players telling them false information. The Players will probably report to HQ, but right when reporting you switch the “side” the AI is on and tell the moderator to immediately open fire. There are many possibilities like these that you can exploit to your advantage when you have a moderator.
Moderators are a great help and you should always have them on your side, as being the only Zeus can sometimes prove stressful. Resulting in a poorer mission quality and/or more mistakes to be made. Nevertheless do not be afraid to kick people out the moderator slot if they aren’t helping.
Beginning the Scenario & Time constraints
So you’ve chosen the Zeus slot, you’ve put down a respawn and are wondering what the hell to do. Well, if there’s one thing that most don’t like in Zeus servers is waiting for you to be done with your mission. There’s one thing that I’ve always kept true to – to keep your players occupied.
Looking at the map, find a place to put down a couple of enemies. Don’t do nothing special since this is just a time waster. When you return to base, plop down an arsenal and ask them to tell you when they’re ready. When they’re gearing up go ahead and build the base. Once they’re ready start briefing them and send them off. I make them aware that it is just a time waster, but that is up to your discretion on revealing that info.
Then start planning and building your mission. If you don’t think you have enough time build either another objective near their AO or build another objective somewhere. Repeat the process – but not for too long – until you have your actual mission ready. You can build quick missions relating to the one you’ve built but remember you’re on a time constraint.
– (Time constraint)
And here’s the issue with zeusing, unlike the EDEN editor where you can perfect your mission to the tiniest detail with no one on your a*s, You’re on a time constraint to create the mission of your dreams. The players will get bored, or you start too early and you didn’t put in the right amount of details, or you spend too much time and the mission you’ve been delaying doesn’t get played due to (insert issue here). It’s hell when put under time constraints, and there isn’t much I can point to here to help new guys out except experiencing it yourself. You’ll find a sweet spot between detailing and making sure your mission gets played properly. But once you do you’ll probably find your own way of creating your own missions with this time constraint.
So you’ve run out of ideas.. Well heres some to fuel your creativity.
Friendly US 4 man MARSOC team goes missing behind enemy lines or investigating (Faction) movement.
Insertion via Darkness, parachuting with supplies, helo to ground.
Investigate key locations, reported in on referenced coords, last reported heading set direction.
Finds bodies, bodies are mined, comms are jammed. Will have to find way back to base or establish comms. Vehicles are detonated and blown up If possible to make them walk.
If they find a camp with comms will be given supplies either by air, local rebels, or ground forces. Will be tasked with assassinating Officer, taking over MARSOC team Obj.
Enemy force comp
2-4 = infantry & technicals
4-6 = infantry & APC’S
6-10 = foot, APC + 1x armed Helo
10. = foot, apc, 1x helo, 1x tank possibly
Enemy takes foothold establishing vital AA and Radar locations. 2-3 sites. Destroying sites is vital to air superiority over the island.
AAF = Nyx
CSAT & NATO = Static AA
Obj = destroy sites. Bring explosives, AT, or Terminal with SAT link (Drone backpack) to hack.
Will be provided with 1x HMG, 2x Prowler, 1x MH9, 2x Hunter, 1x AI huron
After destroying 2-3 sites Intel suggests enemy establishing another site with supplies enroute to location. Intercept immediately. Supplies can be dropped.
Pre war stages where All factions are friendly and trying to deal With AAF and FIA agreement. CSAT will be secretly supporting FIA.
Team moved to staging point, briefed and if needed resupplied.
Provided with 2x hunter, 2x prowler, 1x prowler HMG.
Obj is to investigate an IDAP convoy with NATO going towards oreokastro to provide vital supplies to civpop and to help with rebuilding efforts after civil war.
Convoy is lost along route. Officer and soldiers are found dead. Idap survivor gives location but shot by csat sniper.
(story continues, its up to you as to how it proceeds (: )
Intercept key Food supply convoy for morale/any supplies. (warcrimes baby)
Secure vital Beach landing point to stop flow of enemy tanks into AO Via Navy coastal landings
MSR to (BASE/OUTPOST) is disrupted.
1. Clear MSR, deliver supplies
2. Find troops disrupting MSR, (either tail friendly convoy being ambushed, or be ambushed to find enemy hideout, or players can plan out how to find enemy outpost/camp)
Acting as Spec Ops team, a sponsor for a bounty has been threatening one of our own valuable (informant/operator) assets. Objective is to raid compound, kill any of his men, and capture him.
Once captured bring him somewhere discrete and execute him. Will be buried. However he offers info on CSAT/NATO secret weapon. Now we hear him out.
1. Sponsor for bounty gives us info on a secret weapons deal going on between Faction#1 & Faction#2 and possible meeting places
2. Depending on player amount, split them between 3-1 meeting points.
3. Once Recon is established on meeting points, skip time to pretend they’ve been Recce’ing the area for quite some time.
4. Have one of the meeting points have the weapon or device of choice, anything will do but usually use Tanoa Device.
5. Clear out meeting areas once have positive ID on device, secure device or weapon.
6. Once cleared, possibly have SPECFOR attack players? Maybe attack only device obj to scramble remaining players to main OBJ for support? Unknown but expirment.
Battlefield split into 3 elements. Being part of distraction element, will be sent to distract a town via long distance engagement. Will not enter town but harass garrison. HQ will notify when to pull out.
Given mortars, maybe APC, maybe air. Heavy AA area. No forward respawns?
Drone with valuable intel is shot down in the middle of the established struggle line between (faction) & (faction). Or can be shot down by guerillas.
Task is to secure drone blackbox and RTB with blackbox in tow. OBJ will be marked with a general zone.
Enemy guerillas are planning to deliver basic and essential supplies to a civilian town as propaganda recruiting tool, intercept and secure the convoy.
(Faction) has secured a weather station that takes in data from various weather measuring tools around (map name) and further out. This data is vital to future operations and so must be secured, if unable to secure it downloading recent data will be enough.
(Or another spin is to find a weather measuring tool that has a direct line of access to the weather station itself, where it is able to be “hacked.” Creativity is up to you here.)
Tools further explored
Not done – I will be adding an in depth exploration of advanced zeus tips, how I work on my missions with the time constraint, and an exploration of modules/etc.
I hope you enjoy what we shared today about Arma 3 – The Elements of Zeusing (WIP). If there is anything, you want us to add, please let us know via comment below! See you soon! And thanks!
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