I joined the coop team of Battlefield 3 pretty late during development. I spent most of my time working on the level, “Drop ’em like liquid” and was a floating resource for the other levels.
The environment of this level, mostly a reuse of assets from single & multiplayer levels, was already set in stone. The mission events & scripting were on the other hand very flexible so we had to make do with what we had and find some creative solutions to our limitations. The middle section of the mission wasn´t yet designed (In between the buses and the embassy) so I helped out with that and to bring the mission as a whole to a shippable state.
So overall my tasks were pretty scripting heavy; NPC waypointing, UI, VO, …
COOP LEVEL – “Drop ‘Em Like Liquid”
A hostage situation has developed in Paris. It’s confirmed that Abu Muhammad is on site orchestrating the operation. French police have requested our help. We are sending you in to assist. You need to provide sniper support, free the hostages and neutralize Abu Muhammad.
In short, this is a sniper mission. You and your coop partner have to support a friendly squad throughout the level from a distance. Your goals are to take out the hostage takers in 2 positions. You first have to make your way to a vantage point overlooking your friendly squad while they´re on their way towards the buses (hostage situation 1), then support your squad while they´re making their way towards the embassy (hostage situation 2).
If you play the mission while coordinating attacks with your coop partner then you will breeze through the mission. If you play it carelessly however, you will struggle with more enemy forces and a threat that your police squad will be wiped out or the death of the hostages. This forms the base of a good coop experience, don’t take each other into account… and there will be consequences.In an initial design enemies appeared on your side of the map regularly but we changed that so it’s tied to the alarm state so players have very clear feedback when they mess up and don’t coordinate. If you play the mission silently (which is an Achievement) then you will have no enemies disrupting you on your way in between vantage points. These changes improved clarity of what’s going on and drastically altered clear times of the level which made it an even more fun challenge.
All enemy encounters in the mission can be cleared without you nor your squad causing an alarm state. What all encounters have in common is that if you fail to take them out fast enough, the enemies will be alarmed in some way and challenge the players. These are the enemy encounter types in a nutshell:
1) Players encounter 2 enemies on patrol, unaware of the presence of the players. This is the same type we established in an earlier mission “Exfiltration”. Failing to take out an enemy in synchronization with your coop partner will alert the area which means reinforcements will come to the aid of your enemies and try to take out the squad.
2) The enemies scouting the area around a hostage situation do not attack the police squad. Instead, they start running towards the hostage takers to signal them to kill the hostages. If you alarm them it means you still have a chance to neutralize them while they´re on the move.
3) The hostage takers will always be blinded by a flashbang after you give the “GO” signal to your police squad. You then have a small time frame to shoot the terrorists. Failing to do so will result in the terrorists killing the hostages.
SNIPER SQUARE EVENT
In between the hostage situations there is a variation to the aforementioned encounter pattern. The police squad you´re protecting crosses an open section in the level.. A hostile sniper takes notice and starts firing at them, pinning down the squad. A hostile search party is quickly sent out to check out what the fuss is about ( 3 teams of 3 enemies). In order to not trigger the alarm the player has to kill a team of 3 enemies in a very short time frame since the enemies will pick up their radio to let the others know they´re being shot at. After you´ve taken out the search parties the sniper fires another salvo and exposes himself, now you can take him out and the friendly squad can move towards the embassy.