Mission Building Tips

Nibblin' around the edges of the UME- By:Bill Nichols of the 49th

How to do more than the UME allows

Gents, If you've worked at all with the UME provided with Jane's USAF, you'll know that it's a great mission editor program. However, it doesn't let you recreate all of the features presented in the "canned" missions. The following is a very preliminary start at unwrapping the USAF mission files, so that anyone interested can create unique USAF custom missions above and beyond what the UME allows.

***Caution: This Involves Editing missions with Notepad! Use at your own risk***

The UME only allows you to add certain items to a custom mission. For example, you can’t add a "Jolly Green" helicopter. Here’s some info on how to get around this limitation:
You can edit saved missions with a simple text-editing program like Notepad. This way you can change the planes, buildings, helos and convoys to objects normally not available in the UME. Hereīs how to do it:

1. Make a mission the usual way, using the UME.
2. Write down what planes etc. you include in your mission.
3. Then open your mission with a text editor (e.g.., Notepad)
4. Search for some lines called record XXX (stands for numbers) with some text behind it. Look for your planes or whatever you want to edit.
Example: Let's change an MI-8 into a Jolly Green. The starting record is:


[None]| [None]|[None]|[None]|0|[None]|[None]|[None]|[None]
|0|0|100|Don't Care|0|0|0|0|[None] |0|0|0|0|0|EnemyHelo02_1Path

Then, edit the name of the unit...like this:

Record125=EnemyHelo02_1|[None]|Jolly Green|0|[None]|[None] |0|

344|0|Red|[None]|[None]|[None]|[None]|0|[None]|[None]|[None] |
|0|0|100|Don't Care|0|0|0|0|[None] |0|0|0|0|0|EnemyHelo02_1Path

Thatīs it! Now you can add planes on the ground, if you turn a watertower into a IL76. You can find the names of all available units in a mission file called XLBase.pms in your mission folder. All you have to do is to open it with a text editor. For other examples open the missions included in the game.

Remark: There are some combinations which wonīt work and might screw up your mission and other things, donīt blame me for it! Iīm just telling you how to do it, not that you should do it. ;).
Also it is possible to arm normally unarmed units, for example if you change a B-52 in a B707 or worse. Also it is possible that your "new" aircraft aren't armed logically (4 Bombs on one side, none on the other etc...)

(Take care of empty spaces and spelling, i.e., "Aggresors" instead of "Aggressors")
*Baseshape1, 2 and 3 (Airbases!!!!)
*Jolly Green
*Mig29 (not the Russian one!!!)
*Smoker (seems to be a smokesign)
*SHK_UL_1 (a dummy device, I think. good for targeting runways?)
There are some Las Vegas buildings available, too!

Let's say that you include a bridge object as a target, but the default name, "bridge", is boring. Maybe you want it to say instead, "Golden Gate Bridge". Here's the skinny on how to change the name that is displayed to the player:
1. After creating your basic scenario using the UME, open it using a text editor such as Notepad.
2. Under the section titled, "[Entity]", you will find some definitions of what the record includes. Most importantly, there will be the following:

Column1Prop=DisplayName,string,[None],1,0,The name that will be displayed to the player.,[None]

Here's an example where we've changed the Object Name for an enemy ComCenter structure to read "C3I Site":

Record00=EnemyStruct_1|C3I Site|ComCenter|0|[None]|[None] |0|

[None]|Com destroyed|[None]|[None]|0|[None]|[None]|[None]|
[None]| 1|1|100|Must Destroy|0|0|0|0|[None]|0|0|0|0|0| [None]

In the UME, all aircraft will begin with tanks full. If you want a flight to have less than a full tank of fuel, here's how to do it:
1. After creating the basic mission using the UME, open the file with Notepad.
2. Under the section called [Loadout], you will find the following info:

"Column29 Prop=Fuel,int,0,1,0,?,[None]"

Here's the rule:
If Column29 (the last column in this record) is set to zero, then the associated flight will begin the scenario with all tanks full. Any other number, and the flight begins with the specified pounds of fuel. For example, in my custom mission, "Flyin' on Fumes", the F- 117As begin with only 4000 lbs of fuel, as follows:

Record31=Austin_1|M61|0|Chaff|80|Flare|60|GBU27|. . .|4000

This makes it possible to create custom scenarios where the player must first refuel, before executing his mission.

In the "Stepdown" training mission, the player faces a simulated threat described as "Smokey SAM". Although I've barely tested it, here is what I think will allow you to add Smokey SAMs to your custom training missions:
In the Stepdown Training mission, the Smokey SAMs are defined under the "Loadout" section of the PMS file, as:

Smokey Sam|1|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0

Column 07, which includes the pointer "Smokey Sam" above, is defined as the following:


I've found that if I add a SAM site using the UME and change the Column 07 value for its "Loadout" section to read "Smokey Sam", then I'll have added a simulated, non- lethal SAM like what is presented in the Stepdown training mission. I haven't yet discovered how to make the Smokey SAM hits count against your mission success criteria, however.

I encourage each of you to explore the UME and share with us anything you learn about how to enhance its capabilities!