The session host handbook

Overview

Welcome to the session host handbook! The aim of this page is to help out session hosts by having a common set of guidelines that all session hosts should do their best to follow. I am not a huge fan of strict rules as they do not always apply well to particular situations. Instead I will present this much more as set of guidelines and principles. If you are not a session host this guide should allow to see what is expected from a session host. Session hosts are accountable to both the admins members of 1Tac.


What is a session host?

The session host is the person who runs the session. I was once heard a a great analogy that a session host is effectively the host of a party, they should entertain the guests and ensure everyone is having a good time. You don't need to have technical Arma 3 skills to be a session host, we have our own tools that make doing session host tasks easy.

  • Ensure players are having the full '1Tac experience' at sessions.
  • Deal with disruptions or the unexpected at the session
  • Control and have final say in the slotting process.
  • Control and have final say in the missions played.
  • Put the needs of the players above the desires of the session host.
  • Plan the mission list ahead of time with contingencies
  • Post the AAR topic after the session with a list of missions played.
  • Help out players as needed (or at least attempt to point them in the right direction)
  • Good people skills - Session hosts will have plenty of opportunities to both upset and make people happy in order to balance things. Being able to disappoint people without being a dick is a vital skill. Also you may need to poke COs repeatedly.
  • A touch of organizing skills - Picking missions and helping things run in a timely manner is useful.

If you would like to become a session host get in touch with an Admin.


How does a Session Host play their part?


Now that I have covered what the essence of a session host is, it's time to give guidelines for the more hands-on aspects. Firstly though I'll introduce the tools available.


As a session host there are a few tools available to you. Firstly BI have written a few command server admins. The vanilla admin system is quite simple and uses commands that you type into chat. These commands will not be displayed to other players when you type them in. At any given time there can only be one player as the active admin.

To become the admin type either (if you need the admin password get in touch with me):
#vote admin <your_name>
#login <admin_password>

You will then be able to use all the admin commands, you have find a full list here https://community.bistudio.com/wiki/Multiplayer_Server_Commands

Also once you are ingame you will have access to the admin system via Ctrl+F1, you can access them being alive or in spectator. It contains tool to respawn/teleport/get Zeus/access camera/arsenal and the debug console.


As the session host it can help to choose a suitable list of missions to play ahead of the session.

The first thing you will need to do is estimate how many players might be in attendance, this can be a large range but is typically in the range of 20-40. Then you can head to the mission database, here you can sort the missions by last upload by clicking on the 'modified' column header. You can sort this table by clicking on any of the column headers including the 'blank' ones to see what missions are 'approved'. The minimum and maximum slots will be displayed on the list.

Typically it is wise to prepare by having 3-4 coops and 2-3 TvTs in your pool. Once you have selected these, you should think of what order to play them in. Typically a short coop is best served first to get people focused and refreshed. The second mission is usually the best opportunity to be the main meat of the evening with the the longest/best/most demanding coop placed here. After this coop a TvT should be played. You may want to consider putting missions next to each other that offer diversity (such as using different islands/armies) to help break things up a bit. A handy pattern is something like:

  • Starter coop
  • Main coop 1
  • TvT 1
  • Main coop 2
  • TvT 2


When a mission is loaded and slotting is about to begin. Quickly read the mission description as it may have guidance on how to slot the mission. It's your responsibility to start the slotting in a timely manner if players are talking feel free to use the phrase 'Break break' in a demanding manner should the need arrise. It gets the message across very quickly.

Handling slot selection is one of the trickier aspects of hosting. As it can be difficult to balance correctly and what slots to open based on the player count. Below are the recommended guidelines:

Firstly a team commander must be slotted (If the team is to have less players than a two squads, making the CO take ASL slot might be better).
Next an estimation for how many squads should be made, with there being at least 9-10 players per squad for a decent sized squad. Once the estimation is made a call for the squad leaders should be made.
At the same time squad leaders are appointed, mission critical slots (transport pilots/asset commanders) should be appointed too.
Fireteam leaders should then be slotted, and finally everyone else..
Calculating the perfect slots for 30-40 players can be quite difficult to do rapidly and you can always open/close slots as needed (though it is a bit harsh to close asset slots as this may need lead to some resentment).

If you need to force-slot someone if you click on someone on the right side, you will then place them whichever slot you click on. Be mindful to select yourself again once you have finished to prevent an accident.


Once the mission is slotted, hit okay to load the mission. Wait for the mission to finish downloading and you are loaded in, looking at the map. Once this happens announce the start the 5 minute briefing break. You will give the CO roughly 5 minutes to plan. During this time it is best to keep the teamspeak channel silent. If you do wish to allow people to speak you should seek the CO's approval unless there is an important need.

An effective tactic is that if people start hot micing on teamspeak, drag them to another channel and talk to them notifying them that their microphone is causing issues in a polite manner.

During the 5 minute break it might be wise if you do not see any commander placed markers (usually after 3-4 minutes) to check that the CO isn't placing them on the wrong channel. Once time is up notify the CO, and ask them to start briefing. Once they are finished ensure there is an opportunity for questions. Once all questions have been sorted, start the mission.

One general piece of advice is that during the briefing map is that if you press the enter key the mission start. This is not ideal and can sometimes happen from hinting after typing some chat if your keyboard is a bit weird, like mine :(.


Not all missions will be set up to automatically end. As such as session host you should be aware of the objectives and keep a rough eye on the team's progress. If they do complete all the objectives you are welcome to end the mission this can be done through the admin menu (Shift+F1).

After the mission ends give players a few seconds on the end screen so they can check their kill/death lists.

In some rare cases it may transpire that very players remain and a large majority of players are dead. This may entail some spectators asking/demanding the mission ends. You should allow the alive players at least some time to provide them with a fair opportunity to continue. If you do feel that the gameplay does look fairly uninteresting for all involved you may use Zeus to intervene. However do not spawn new units, take over control of te pre-existing AI (give new waypoint orders/direct control). If you do this do not be an evil Zeus attempting to outright kill them, but act as an AI would.

It is extremely rare that we get people playing with us who actively aim to disrupt things. If this happens first give them a warning, perhaps through dragging them to another channel if ACRE is linked or through ingame/private messages. If this proves in-effective, I'd advise consulting some other members and perhaps escalate to further warnings/kick/ban. However I think it is extremely unlikely such drastic actions are required.

Restarting the server
As a session host you are able to restart the server using the mission database. In the top right there should be a button called Servers, on this page you will find the server information and buttons to restart the server. If you do not see the the servers button, or can't restart the main server get in touch with me.

Respawn
Respawning players is something we have explored several times. If done incorrectly respawning players can be a major hindrance so do it with caution and consideration. I believe respawning players falls into two categories:

Spawning late people


It does happen fairly frequently that a player may join during the briefing or the first few minutes of the game. For their enjoyment it is pretty easy to spawn them in. First you should consider if the current mission can support the extra player (if there are transport seat constraints this may be a problem). Then you need to place the respawns. Attaching people to pre-existing fireteams/units can be quite convenient, typically spawning late people as an AAR will not disrupt the game. You need to ensure that spawned players are respawned close to their leader, and that they know who they are attaching themselves to. I usually use steam/teamspeak chat to coordinate this. It might be unwise to spawn a lot of people at the start.

Respawning dead players


This is where things can get messy, firstly the permission of the mission maker should be sought out. It might be wise to also consult the CO. If the respawned element is not organized the CO will need to invest a fair amount of time re-organizing them before they even get a tasking. If a CO knows about reinforcements ahead of time, they may stall the entire platoon's progress until the respawned elements arrived.

Then you need to find out who is in spectator and wants a respawn. Some players might have gone AFK or do not desire a respawn. Then you need to figure out what to do with them. Most of the time this will be creating a new unit. You will need to appoint a leader and ensure has the right radios, you also need to make subordinate leaders are assigned if the total respawned players will be more than a fireteam. Once spawned you should brief them and detail any radio channels to them. You should inform them to get in touch with the CO, report in what they have and request a tasking.