Still trying to preserve the Heli Transport role

Perhaps I’m just stubborn, but because of my enjoyment and challenge of low altitude Heli flight in Arma, which does it so well, I continue to operate in what seems to be the rapidly disappearing task of Heli troop transport.

As long as Armor exists in the game there will be a necessity for heli transport, but lugging and dropping sling loads of armor around the map makes for a rather blah experience for the heli pilot, and this is a game after all. It should not feel like merely a “job.”

So, I continue to suggest changes to game play that might help to preserve and enhance the Heli transport role. Over time I have learned that there are usually server restrictions associated with rejection of many ideas, but I keep trying.

Since having achieved NAK Elite status of late I can not help but notice that when I land at Infantry base the Elite badge showing on the side of my Heli seems to engender more of a sense of trust in infantry players to take a chance and board up for a lift to the AO. Lately however, It seems that 90% of the time I am taken out by enemy air assets (and sometimes ground-based AA) before I reach my carefully-chosen LZ. In my mind I am left thinking - “well, there’s another load of willing infantry who will just HALO in next time because, even though the pilot seemed very capable, you can still rarely make it to the AO without being blasted from the sky.”

And this is with me flying a very risky nap-of-the-Earth profile, requiring a high level of attention and observation that, even so, finds me occasionally snagging an unseen wire and taking my passengers out with me! And this is where I would like to see a change, that I don’t believe would affect server performance:

Use scripting to reduce or eliminate the ability of enemy air (and ground-based AA) to discover and target transport Heli’s flying below a certain indicated altitude.This altitude would have to be set somewhat conservatively, so as not to penalize novice or less skillful flyers. Many would not be capable of flying at the extreme (and risky) altitudes I currently use to try and avoid enemy assets.

This would not be unrealistic, as in the real world, low-flying aircraft are quite often buried in ground clutter on radar screens and cannot be easily seen or targeted. How about it?

Hi, As a dedicated transport jockey I agree with the above comments. Low flying to insert troops to a hostile AO is a skill that should be made more rewarding . There are enough hazards without the added danger of AI aircraft shooting you down without any chance of avoiding them, something that, although difficult would be possible to do in a realistic scenario.

What you are asking is not practical. The script would have to check each and every frame to see if would were in a transport helicopter, then it would have to check if you were at a certain height, then it would have somehow make the enemy not see you or not fire on you. This type of script would have to run on the server not the client, so the performance decrease would affect every player on the server.

If you are interested you can look into Arma Event handlers: Arma 3: Event Handlers - Bohemia Interactive Community . Event Handlers are the only conditions under which, you can run a script without a huge impact on server performance. Event handlers are like triggers that only happen once the event happens, so we do not have to constantly check (and I mean constantly) for specific conditions, we can wait for the event to occur. Keep in mind if you use an event handler that happens every frame or every sec, the performance degradation would still be to large. After reading through this, you might think of a way, that we have not, to do what you are asking without a huge performance hit.

I’m starting to feel sorry for you guys - having to constantly crush so many brilliant creative bursts with the cold, hard reality of the rather limited digital world we still live in. Still, when all is said and done, this is still better than Microprose Flight Simulator, circa 1986.

It is possible that there might be a way to do what you want (or part of it), that we did not think of. There are “many ways to skin a cat” ( I do not condone skinning cats).

If you would like to discuss different ways to use event handlers, poke me in TS.

Enlightening. Though I can’t say I fully understand the use of Event Handlers in context with other scripting, I do get the gist of it, and I can see how limiting they could be.

Would it be feasible, or less demanding on the server to somehow involve only the individual Helis and not the attacking AI units, by negating the damage events to the Heli from AI attacks below a certain altitude? In other words, From the player’s point of view the animations and sound events would still occur, but they would have no effect on the attacked aircraft.

Another concept: If the Heli pilot could effect a break in the line of sight between himself and the AI attacker (even momentarily) , could the attacker be triggered to break off the current attack (in effect, losing his target lock)?

Would it be feasible, or less demanding on the server to somehow involve only the individual Helis and not the attacking AI units, by negating the damage events to the Heli from AI attacks below a certain altitude?

Not really. The only thing that we could do would be prevent all damage, at all times, to specific heli’s, but that would not be practical and I would foresee players misusing it. Also getting rid of all risk would take away a lot of the fun.

I honestly think the answer is to work with the other pilots and players to clear a path to the AO for the transport pilots. There are always going to be “the drop in players” that that will just halo to the AO’s, but there are the regular/return players that enjoy the infil-exfil aspect of the game.

We are working on incentives for pilots to be transport pilots, and for players to take the transport heli’s to and from the AO’s

Hey guys,

So I played 2 or 3 days ago as Cas in the F18 variants. I worked with 2 other jet pilots and we maintained air superiority so our helicopter teams can move in. When we had our jets shot down, we lsot air superiority, which meant our helicopters got shot down, I was the first to get knocked out followed by the other 4 CAS also up, I ejected and survived the others did not, I witnessed the AA bubble pop all of our attacks. I watched the Helicopters and drones get swatted out of the sky by an effective barrage of AA, both missile and cannon fire from ground forces.

We had positive comms the entire time, what got us was the 5 Tigris AA, the multiple DLC tanks I cant rememebr the names as well as the technical trucks that were employed in addition to the couple Manpads and machine guns. If you are having a tough time as transport, get your fastmovers to assist. If there are none, notify all that get into your helicopter that they are at risk of being shot down and you will do your best to get them there safe. Explain the Risks, Explain why its a risk, and then just fly. You cannot prove you are a good pilot if you sit on the ground, You can only prove by flying again after you get shot down.



I fly NOE 99% of the time, just above the wires, trying to use terrain rises to mask my flight as much as possible. Still, enemy air (and sometimes ground AA) just suddenly shows out of nowhere and takes me out (on rare occasions I manage to evade). I have a pretty good attitude, but after being taken down on multiple runs to the AO on Altis, I start to feel pretty hopeless, and feel really bad for the guys who took a chance by taking my ride. In a perfect world I would just request an air escort. I have had no luck with that so far. I will make more requests and see if I can generate some response.

Arma 3 presents challenges to ideas that result in a change of AI behavior or game functionality etc. The easiest way is to change gameplay / how players play or their abilities.

I would say the onus is on the pilots themselves. When CAP is not able to adequately carry out their duties then I have taken it upon myself to try and save our other pilots. This ranges from taking control of the AA battery to going UAV operator and getting the defender going assuming that I can’t get up in a CAP jet myself.

I have seen every single CAP capable jet (2 wasps and a shikra at the time) trying to bomb small little squads or hit 1-2 infantry in the AO while enemy CAP is killing everything at main airfield, including transports.

Basically there is never a CAP jet to take up because they are either all shot down or they are not paying attention / are so focused on hitting ground targets. I get that you want to get your scores up but 20 friendly infantry and 2 friendly tanks can finish killing that small spread out squad in the middle of the AO while you save the rest of your airborne team.

All it takes is a little bit of attention. CAP can be boring. I don’t recommend flying in circles with nothing but AA because that seriously feels like a job. You can multi-task but when you see a white triangle on your radar you need to investigate because you need to suppress the enemy air so that our transports can fulfill their role and the entire server doesn’t give up on the transports because that’s exactly what happens.

As Wasp / Shikra / Gryphon

    1. Set up an air corridor. Draw a straight line from the transports to the AO / LZ and monitor that for enemy air traffic. I say this because if you fly a fixed wing escort in formation with the transports then you’re lacking the necessary speed when an enemy jet shows up.

    1. Check transports (this also goes with pay attention). If you see a transport that has infantry or is lifting then do a sweep around them and around where they are going. Transports: announce you are carrying troops (especially large amounts!) and request an air sweep and maybe an AA assessment.

    1. Pay attention! White triangles are either empty (someone ejected perhaps) or ENEMY. You have to check it out because if it’s that enemy jet it’s going to wreck havoc fast.

    1. Watch AMRAAMs. They will kill friendlies just as easily as enemies. If friendlies are mixed in OR are in the proposed path of the missile then close with ASRAAMs and launch as many of those puppies as you want.

As transport

    1. Communicate with your fixed wing. Make sure they know you exist and you are carrying a good portion of the server.

    1. Pay attention! Check radar. If you see those white triangles on radar then you need to call it out. Get fixed wing to check it out because time will kill you. While you’re dodging that first missile from the enemy jet it is coming closer and closer. Then you’ve dodged the first missile and OH HELL: second missile launch. Now he’s close and closing more. When that 3rd or 4th missile comes even the best pilots will struggle because he is on you and your chance of survival is slim. Get fixed wing there!

    1. Finally, experience. Either yours or infantry. Find a good place to land and remember IT IS YOUR CALL. Get behind mountains. Stay outside that circle, especially in the early beginnings of the AO. AA from the AO can easily engage 5km. Do not let them get line of sight on you.

  • I’ve only addressed air threats. As far as ground AA goes: Fixed wing you need to target those AA batteries. I know that Rhea SAM site isn’t targeting you but it’s targeting the loaded ghosthawk 8km away or is going to. Those centurions are spartans too can seem inert but when they go hot, especially if transport aren’t paying attention and they pass near, then it’s a bad day. The rest depends on the AO really. Try to get those tigrises and AA NYX in the areas where transport are trying to get to. Sometimes that AA spawns on the wrong side of a hill and just hitting one tigris can clear up a whole LZ.

-I’m not trying to be critical. People have their gameplay styles but the server is very survivable with pilots that work together.
Get your priorities straight. When an AO first pops up then you need to leave the AO alone and check for enemy jets and clear some AA.
After you address those priorities then you can go to AO. Friendlies are only really showing up a couple of minutes after the AO spawns anyways.

Transports need help.

I have dodged 5+ missiles with 10 people in my chopper and our fixed wing comes out, saves my behind, and we all get to the LZ with a story to tell. What happens without that friendly fixed wing saving me? The enemy jet swings around and kills me anyways.

Morale of the story: Those targets in the AO that you focus on, the ones that ground or air can get later, are not worth the lives of 10 people and a pilot. It takes 1-2 minutes to see where friendly transports are, use radar to sweep, and check the map for AA threats. That amount of time is nothing. The AO can wait. If ground needs you immediately then they can call on side chat and you can shift priorities then.
This is why it seems that transport dies, everyone feels they have to HALO in, and tanks drive for 15 minutes because everyone has given up on transport. That team effort saves everyone and makes it more enjoyable for all.

Well said Golden. Couldn’t agree more.


Well, regarding this topic.
From my point of view (A pilot who mostly flies as transport as soon as requested) and often as CAS (Due to my timezone, rarely there are enough units online), I can understand how effective AA disposition, as well as a well established shikra that just hovers and “brags” above the main airfield and takes down anyone who gets within its range. I can perfectly realize how frustrating and annoying it gets as I’m one of the first ones who’ll complain about it.

Now about the topic itself, as I take it is as a challenge, and even though I believe transport pilots don’t get any rewards (Experience and so on) I think that the accomplishment of either picking up, transporting, or dropping off either infantry, or armor at the AO is (At least for me) quite motivating enough to keep going.

Also don’t forget that Teamspeak is a useful feature, and even though I understand that @wmetcalf is NAK Elite and doesn’t have to be in TS3 in order to fly, you’ll always find enough help, or at least, that’s what my experience was. The moment you request for CAP, someone will try to respond as they are well aware of you being pretty much a sitting duck. I myself have made quite some transports, not only heavy armor, but also simple single units.

I do understand how people get tired of transport, but that is also a very personal thing, many people for example enjoy being infantry even though I barely even think about spawning as a rifleman, or anything like that. So even though the pilot job would be the safest players would still prefer the action, and rather kill then help. So from what I see in such a topic is a simple difference in characters.

There are players who enjoy being a support, and making sure that their team has everything it needs rather then being the first line of fire.

So even though I perfectly understand how frustrating and annoying being a transport pilot can get, I also enjoy the “Thanks pilot”, “cheers pilot” every time you manage a good delivery, and even though that you don’t really get an actual reward, it (For me) is fully worth it.