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Mission Architect Tutorial 100 Series

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Parent Article: Mission Architect Tutorial

Tutorial 101: Story Settings & a Simple Mission

Story Settings

Story Title

This is what your story will appear as in the browser. This is a text field. It does get checked by the censor list, as does everything. For our first mission, we'll keep it simple. In programming courses, the first program is often called "Hello world." That's boring. Let's call ours "World Domination 101." (OK, if you're feeling heroic, something like "Saving kittens 101.")

Story Description

"Story Description" gives a small blurb about what the story's about. Type in "Tutorial mission" and leave it at that.

Story Contact

Here, you can put in your contact name, if you want (we'll use "Bob.") Beneath that is Contact Type. This is where you pick from a long list of NPCs - including a custom one you can create. We're not creating one now (though it's easy.) Leave it at "Default."

Now let's create the mission itself.

On the bottom of the screen, you'll see an arrow pointing right that says "Mission 1 settings." Use ether one.

You should be on a page starting with "Choose mission settings."

The Choose mission settings page

There are two tabs here, Standard and Custom. Custom is where you would create your own enemy (or ally) groups. We're ignoring that one for now - play with it later.

Under Standard, you'll have a few buttons. The first is "Enemy group." This is a dropdown list. Since I don't know what level anyone reading this would be, we're going to pick a group that anyone can play with.

If you click on the word "None," you'll see the (long) list. All of them have the name and level ranges of those enemy groups. We'll use the very first one there - 5th Column (1-54.) Click that.

Next section - Map Type.

Click on "None." You'll see a list of map sets. Each of these sets has multiple maps inside of it. We're going to go down a bit and use "Warehouse Abandoned - City of Heroes set." Once this is selected, you'll see a new option, "Map length." You have four options - Tiny, Small, Medium, and Large.

Since this is supposed to be fast, we'll pick Tiny.

A new section will open up that says "Map." You can leave this at random... but what fun is that?

This selection only has two maps - Map 0 and Map 1 - as well as the Random option. Other map sets can have very lengthy selections. If you scroll through the maps, you'll see a floorplan represented on the right.

We'll pick the most basic map there is - Map 0. You should see a hall and a room. This will also give you information, much like the base editor, on how much is allowed (X many ambushes, items, etc.) Make sure it meets your needs - for this tutorial, it does.

Again, there are many optional settings. We are ignoring them for the purpose of this tutorial.

Next section - Write Text

This is not optional. In fact, if you click on "Show Errors" in the upper left, it's showing you that none of this has been filled in.

Mission Introduction Dialog - This is what the contact tells you when you talk to them. Type in "Hi there. I see you're learning to use the mission architect. Glad I could help!" (Yes, it's lame, but you'll see where it goes.)

Mission Send Off Dialog is what you see after accepting the mission. For this mission, just type in "Have fun storming the Castle!"

Compass Active Task Text - shows up in your nav window. Here, just type "Beat stuff up."

Still Busy Dialog - is what you see if you talk to the contact without finishing the mission. Just type in "Shoo."

Return Success Dialog - is what the contact tells you when you see them at the end of the mission. Type in "Thanks, you wonderful being you!"

Click "Mission 1 details" on the bottom right to proceed.

Mission Details

There are two sections here - basic and advanced mission goals. Given this is a basic tutorial, we're just going to touch on Basic Mission Goals.

We want to beat stuff up. Pick Defeat All Enemies. You'll have two choices - Defeat: ... everything on the map (literally defeat all) ... everything in the last room.

Either will work for this mission.

Look to the upper right. If you see "No errors," you should be ready.

Click on Save and Test in the lower right. In the dialog that comes up, pick Save and Test again. It will ask for a file name - call it "Tutorial 1" or something.

Click OK, and select "Accept" in the dialog box.

Now what?

Now, if you're in the main floor of the AE building (with the energy cascade,) you'll see some holograms. By default, they're a generic male form (like in the costume creator.) Had you picked a contact (say, Ms. Liberty,) it would appear like that character. Select "Ask about available missions."

You'll see some of the dialog you wrote. ("Hi, so you're learning to use the mission architect...") Click accept, and it'll tell you to have fun storming the Castle. Click "Leave," and go to the energy fountain int he middle. Like a portal, it'll take you to the map.

Now go beat stuff up!

Inside the mission.

You'll note, up top, that you automatically have an "Exit" button as well as "Architect options." Don't get confused - when you actually do finish the mission, you'll get a "Mission Complete" dialog coming up. (If you were playing a published mission, you'd also get a dialog to rate the mission and send a comment.)

The mission we made should only take a moment to defeat - go finish beating things up, and come back. Hit Exit when finished.

Publishing a story

All right, so this is the rockinist mission ever, and you want to share it with the world! How do you do that?

Go back to the computers that you used to get into the MA to begin with. Along the top, click on "My creations." Look for "World Domination" (or "Saving kittens" or whatever you called it.) Click on it, and you'll see it expand.

Expanding will give you two things - more information (map size, enemies and the like,) and a series of buttons. PUBLISH sends it to the Architect servers. It will take a little time to show up, usually a couple of minutes. This is the one we want.

Note that you can only have three published arcs out there. Yes, this is taking one up. You can have as many unpublished ones as you have space for on your computer.

Er, wait, I don't want that taking one up!

No problem. In the same section, you'll see "My published stories," "My unpublishes stories," "My characters" and "My enemy groups." Once it shows up in "My published stories" (again, it takes a bit as the story is reviewed," you'll get another button that says "Unpublish." Select that, and it will free up a slot.

Now that you've done it once, feel free to go back and explore your options. I hope this little walkthrough has shown you how quick and easy it is to create the basic framework which will let you expand and tell the stories you want.

Tutorial 102: Basic Story Setting Options


If you haven't done the basic mission creation tutorial guide, you may want to, as I will be using that mission as a basis for this, and possibly future, guides.

All right. We have our basic World Domination (or Saving Kittens) arc. One simple mission. Open this mission up from "My Local Missions."

We skipped multiple sections when we did the walkthrough. Let's go back and look at the first page, Mission Settings. Specifically, we're going to look at optional sections.

Start by going up to the second icon at the top and pick "Save as." Give it a name such as "Tutorial 2." This will preserve your original so you can go back. When editing, it's a good idea to save prior versions before doing anything - don't rely on the autosave button. If you save, you know where you're at.

Choose Mission Settings options

We're not going into custom groups yet - one step at a time. Under Choose Mission Settings, you will see two optional sections:

  • Mission Parameters
  • Mission complete Clue

We'll look at these individually.

Mission Parameters

Click on Mission Parameters. If you click on the blue square with the quesiton mark, you'll get a simple explanation of the two options in here.

Mission Pacing

Mission pacing refers to how the levels of the enemies change through the map spawns. You have four options.

  • Flat - All enemies stay roughly the same level.
  • Back loaded - Enemies will start off lower level in the beginning and jump up higher near the end.
  • Staggered - Personal favourite. Enemy levels can vary throughout the mission.
  • Ramp up - Similar to back loaded, but with a steady progression up in level or difficulty.

The default setting is "Flat."

Time to Complete

If you want the mission to have a time limit (the default is no limit,) this is where you select it. You can't just type in a time, however. You must pick from a list, ranging from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

Your choices are 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 minutes and 2 hours.

Please, if you use this option, be realistic (unless, like Tina McIntyre's infamous mission, you want the chance of failure to be high.) Also, if you use this option, pay attention to the next section, "Additional Text."

Since this is a tutorial on a very small map, set your time to complete to 5 minutes.

Mission Complete Clue.

This is very simple - you have two fields, one of which lets you give a title to your clue ("An interesting find") and a description.

Write text

The required fields were covered in the initial walkthrough, tutorial 1, and should still be filled in with that information. This section will deal specifically with the sections marked (Optional) in the editor.

Additional Text

This section has multiple options. We'll be filling in everything here.

Mission Title

When you go to talk to your contact, often you'll see a title and subtitle - Levantra, for instance in the Rikti War Zone has an example of this with "Introduction to Vanguard, Part 1." This is similar to the "Introduction to Vanguard" at the top.

Fill in "Mission Creation Tutorial."

Mission Subtitle

This is where you'd put in Part 1, Mission 1, Beginning, finale - whatever you want to call your chapters.

Fill in "Misison 1." Yes, it's boring. But you only have one mission.

Mission accept text

This is the "Accept" that you click at the bottom to take the mission. By default, it is filled in with "Accept."

Fill in "Now see what you've done!"

Mission entry popup

This is the window you see come up in many missions - "This office is nice. It won't be nice when you're through with it, but it's nice now," for instance. It's a little opening flavor bit.

Type in "Times must be tough. They seem to have gotten a storage unit instead of a warehouse."

Mission Success Popup

This pops up if you've successfully completed a mission. You don't see these very often, actually, but if there's some action you want to imply ("Soldiers come up and whisk your hostage away," for instance,) that's what you put here.

Type in "Well, that was easy."

Mission Fail Popup

This is the same as the Success popup - but obviously only comes up if you fail. If the mission is able to BE failed (timed, prevent X from being destroyed,) you may consider using this. ("You emerge from the rubble. Time to face the music.")

Since we have a five minute timed mission, go ahead and put in "You wake up... oops, bad time for a nap."

Return Fail Dialog

This is what the contact tells you if you failed the mission. This is a bit more important, in my opinion, if you have a failable mission. You can use it to segue into the next mission, or give a story ending ("Well, you failed, and it looks like they now have a biological weapon. We'll have to hope they don't use it.")

Type in "What were you doing, sleeping? It's so hard to get good help these days."

Running the mission

Save the mission again. We won't publish, since this is just for your own use.

When you look in the mission browser, you should have two, possibly three, World Domination 101 missions. If you look closely, you'll see a file name listed under each. One will be "Autosave," possibly. The others will be Tutorial 1 and Tutorial 2. We just finished Tutorial 2, so that's what we want to run.

Start the mission, talk to your contact, enter the mission...

Then go get some coffee or something. You should have a 5 minute timer to let run down. This will let you see the "failed" dialogs and contact response. After you do, run it again and play it, beating those wuss 5th Column troops. You should see an end of mission dialog box, and different dialog from your contact.

Tutorial 103: Adding a second mission (and beyond)


The Mission Architect file you've been saving is a .storyarc file. As the name implies, it doesn't have to be a single mission - and I'm willing to bet, more often than not, it won't be. An arc, of course, consists of two or more missions. You've likely run these either as mission arcs or strike forces, task forces, or trials.

Any arc you create can have from one to five missions in it (at time of I14 Open Beta. The restrictions may be changed later through various awards or at the whim of the developers.) This tutorial will expand the "World Domination 101" mission into a two mission arc.

As always, open the most recent local copy of the file on your machine (Tutorial 2) in the Mission Architect. Click on Save As... and save it as Tutorial 3. This is the copy we'll work with.

Creating a second mission

Adding another mission to your arc is very simple. Select Tutorial 3 and hit "Edit," then look at the editor window. If you look to the right of your mission "books you'll see a button that says "Add mission." Click that.

You will now have a new, blank mission called "Mission 2 (1-54)" ready for editing. These titles (Mission 1, Mission 2) cannot be changed, but they have no impact on how anyone else sees your missions. The 1-54, as you might have guessed, is the level range. This will be determined by the critters in your mission - it can change from mission to mission. We'll get into that in a later tutorial.

Page 1 of Second Mission

For now, let's make a second, fast mission. Under Choose Mission Settings, Type in or select the following:

  • Enemy Group: 5th Column (1-54). Again, we're ignoring custom groups.
  • Map type: Again, we want something small, but we'll pick something a bit bigger this time. Pick Office Abandoned - City of Villains Set.
  • Map Length: Small
  • Map: Office Abandoned: City of Villains - 8. This is a two story map.

Skip to Write Text, for now. If you want to play with the settings dealt with in 102, come back to do it. We want to get you a second, working mission. Under Write Text:

  • Mission Introduction Dialog: We've found more 5th Column for you to clean out. They're in a warehouse down the way. Go get 'em!
  • Mission Send Off Dialog: Show those goons who's boss!
  • Compass Active Text: Clear out the 5th!
  • Still Busy Dialog: Are they gone yet?
  • Return Success dialog: Great job, $name, you really showed them!

Page 2 of Second Mission

(We'll get into the dollar strings later.) Now click on either "Mission 2 Details" or the "2" page on Mission 2.

Oh, didn't I mention that? Yes, the "1" and "2" in the mission books actually have a purpose. You don't have to arrow through each mission! If you need to fix an objective in Mission 4 of an arc, you can just click on "Page 2" of your "Mission 4" book, and it'll jump right there!

The first mission was a defeat all. Let's pick a different one - Fight a BossItalic text, under Basic Mission GoalsItalic text. We'll go over each basic goal in the next lesson. Right now, just fill in the blanks.

  • Boss name: Put in Bob. Because that smiling guy is just creepy.
  • Boss Enemy Group: 5th column (1-54)

Optional settings will be explained in the next tutorial.

Click the first check mark to save your mission.

Testing your mission

Just click Save and Test, right? Well, hold on a minute.

Yes, our first mission was short, and wouldn't be hard to play through to get to your second mission. Before finally publishing an arc, you'll probably want to do just that - play the whole thing through. Right now, though, we just want to see mission 2. How do we do that?

We rearrange the books up top.

The books aren't just for show and quick navigation. If you've just finished Mission 5 of an arc and JUST want to test that, you don't want to play through the first four missions. So, click on Mission 2, hold down the mouse... and drag it in front of Mission 1. The cursor will indicate it's dragging the mission by turning into a hand clenching a bunch of pieces of paper. Anywhere on the "ribbon" in front of the first mission will do.

Note that when you drag a mission it switches places with the one you drag it over. It doesn't insert itself in the order an move everything over, it's a swap-places with another mission.

Now, click Save and Test. Go wipe that smile off Bob's face!

Remember to drag them back into order when you come back, then re-save the storyarc.

Deleting a mission

All right. So you want to delete a mission. Maybe it's so messed up a little tweak won't help. Maybe you accidentally clicked "Add mission" twice instead of once and now have a blank mission. So how do you do it?

For the purposes of the tutorial, click "Add Mission" again. You should now have "Mission 3" available.

Looking at the mission "books" up top, you should see a little red dot next to them. Click that, and it will delete that mission. Take a look at the mission first -- click on the "1" on the book to see the first page, just to make sure you're deleting the right one. In this case, it will still be "Mission 3." It will disappear from your list.

I personally recommend saving your arc before you delete a mission, JUST in case. (Call it something like "Delete M3") -- we're not going to do this for this tutorial, but when you really get into editing, just assume you WILL make this mistake at some point. This little precaution will save you grief and headaches. (Note that you might want to check into CVS systems suggested in open beta for versioning and archiving. Or, you can back up your MA files stored locally on your hard drive in some other manner, such as putting on the list of files to be backed up with your back-up software.)

Tutorial 104: The basic mission objectives

This is going to be less a tutorial than an explanation of the Basic Mission Goals. Advance mission goals will each have their own tutorial in the 2-series.

Basic mission goals overview

There are four basic mission goals, most of which will seem very familiar from multiple missions in the City Of franchise. We'll go over each in detail shortly, but they are Fight a Boss, Collect an Object, Defeat All Enemies, and Free a Captive.

Each mission can have multiple goals, depending on the mission map selected. We will not be using our tutorial mission for this. Go ahead and select "Create a mission," and select an enemy group.

  • Map Type: select the first one, Arachnos Set.
  • Map Length: select Medium.
  • Map: select Arachnos Set - 1

Look on the right hand side of the mission editor window. You should see a map. (If not, click on the + next to Choose Mission Settings. Under Description, you should see Mission Map Details. This will tell you how many details, ambushes, bosses, rescues and such are allowed on the map. Some, typically the small or tiny maps, are very limited. Others will allow you to put in quite a lot. If what you want to use (say, two Collect an Object types, such as crates and body bags) won't fit or isn't listed on the map, you will need to either revise what you want to do, or select another map. Each map is different, even in the same "size" - if one Medium map won't work, look through the others.

Adding and Removing objectives

Adding objectives are easy. Pick one of the basic mission goals, and click. The appropriate section will appear and you can fill in the details which we'll go over below.

Clicking on the title of the section (say, "Boss:Bob" from our last tutorial) will "roll up" that section, hiding the text and other settings to help clean up the window.

The left hand side of the objective title bar will have an icon (for example, a skull for "Defeat a boss") in a circle. It may also have a star next to it - objectives with stars are ones you have set for "Required for mission completion" in optional settings.

Last but not least, the right side of the objective "title bar" ("Boss: Bob") will have a small red tab with an X on it -- if you click on this, it will delete the objective.

Fight a Boss

Required Settings

  • Boss Name
  • Boss Enemy Group
  • Character (appears after standard enemy group chosen.)

These are pretty straightforward.

  • Boss Name: This is just that - the name you want for the boss. "Bob" or "The Evil Lord Darkety Dark" will work, as long as it's (a) not copyrighted or offensive (the censor will catch it,) and (b) under 75 characters.
  • Boss Enemy Group (or Custom Group under Custom): This again should be self explanatory. For either Standard or Custom groups, you will have a drop down list of available groups to choose from, as well as the level ranges they occupy.
  • Character: This appears after selecting a standard group. It is, again, a drop down list - but here's where you have to start paying attention. The names will be color coded by what is available. If it's orange, it's not available in the level range of the mission. Some are available from 1-54. But if I had an arc which was set in the level 30+ range, for instance, I couldn't use a 5th Column Nebel Oberst - as it only exists in the range of levels 1-4.

Custom Character Name only appears for Custom Groups. Custom characters can appear from levels 1-54, so there's no level range to worry about with them.

Custom Groups also give you the Create Character and Edit Character buttons at this point, should you want to edit or create a character and group for your arc. These are, obviously, not available with standard groups.

Optional sections

There are three optional sections with a host of options in them. While you can ignore them, and may want to if just testing, you'll probably want to fill in at least some of them in your own mission. The optional sections are:

  • Boss Settings
  • Boss Text
  • Boss Defeated Clue

Each of these, of course, have their own subsections. (Thus the reason this post is so long.)

Boss Settings

These control when the boss is created, some of what's around him and his behavior. There's a long list of items you can select here.

  • Required for Mission Completion: This is important. This radio button shows up immediately below "Boss Settings." If you don't want the boss fight to be a "Must finish" item, uncheck it.
  • This mission goal is created when...: The default is None. This allows you to select an event which will spawn the boss. Set to "None," the boss will spawn normally. But if you have, say, a hostage to rescue or collection to complete, you can set that (once you have it) as the trigger for the boss to spawn.
  • Quantity: The default is 1. So, do I really need to explain "Quantity?" Note that all bosses will be carbon copies of each other, so this is really best for generic bosses. It will copy *everything,* including dialog.
  • Alignment: The default is Enemy. Get used to this setting. You'll see it a lot. You have three choices here, Enemy, Ally, and Rogue. An Enemy is with his own group, and will fight you. An Ally will fight other spawns it runs across. And Rogue will fight everyone.
  • Boss placement: The default is Back. The options are: Any, Front, Middle, Back

This determines the general location a boss will spawn. Any will spawn it anywhere, No, you cannot select a specific room. Note that on outdoor maps, there's no real "front, middle, or back" even if you select it - the boss, and anything else with a placement, could spawn anywhere.

  • Enemy Group difficulty: The default is Easy. This has no effect on the boss itself, but will affect the enemy group around him. Easy, expect minions. As you go up, it'll select lieutenants or bosses to surround the main boss with. Use with care.
  • Enemy Group: This section deals with what surrounds the boss, and what the boss does to interact.
  • Surrounding Enemy Group: The default is Same as Boss. Selecting "Standard" or "Custom" makes no difference here in anything but the choices you'll have. This selects the group guarding the boss -- if you want, say, a 5th Column boss surrounded by Devouring Earth in a map otherwise filled with Tsoo, this is where you do it.
  • Boss Starting Animation: The default is Default. This is a dropdown list with multiple animations. If you want the boss cowering, captured -- any of the list of emotes, set it here.
  • Enemy Group Starting Animation: The default is Default. This is the same as "Boss starting animation," but for the surrounding mob.
  • Make the boss run away when hit points drop below...: The default is Boss does not run away (for health reasons). The other options are: Full health, 75%, 50%, 25%, 10%, Boss Does not Run Away. Want your boss to chicken out if he gets hurt? Set it here.
  • Make the Boss run when Ally count drops to...: Want him to run if he's down to one guy? Set that here. Pay attention to the help topic -- don't assume there's going to be a big group around him. "Ally count" means the mobs around the boss, not in the entire mission.
  • Defeat Condition: The default is Entire Encounter Needed to Complete. The options are: Entire Encounter, Only Boss Needed to Complete. If you don't want a "Defeat all," just "Kill the boss in the last room," this is where you set it.
  • Boss Text: Lots of options here, but honestly straightforward.
  • Boss Description: The default is imported from mob definition. This is the boss's "bio." You can leave it as is, or type in a new one for either standard or custom characters.
  • Navigation Text (Plural) or (Singular): This is what shows up in the nav bar as your objective. Choose singular if you only have one boss, multiple if you have more than one. One trick you can use here, by the way -- if you have multiple *single* objectives (Defeat the Consortium, made up of 5 unique bosses,) use the same name in the Navigation Text (Plural) even if they're different types of objectives (defeat a boss and find an object (pile of bones), for example) and they will combine.
  • Boss Defeated Text: This shows up in your chat ox when you defeat a boss. For example, "You have defeated BadDude and retrieved the Doohickey. See what your contact has to say." 300 character limit.
  • Boss Unaware Dialog When you first see the boss but he hasn't aggroed -_ for example, the popular "Man, I can't wait for my break" from Mayhem missions, before you're seen.
  • Boss Attack Dialog: "Oh, no, it's you!" This is what the boss says when he's aggroed. You can use dollar-sign variables (Oh, no, it's $name! Get $himher!) here, as in many other fields.
  • Player deals damage to boss dialog: What the boss will say when you first hit them. "What was that supposed to be, a punch?"
  • Boss at X health: Levels: 3/4, 1/2. 1/4, Defeated. Bits of dialog to taunt the player ("Ah, it's only a flesh wound!") as you go on ("You're better than I thought!" "I might be in trouble..." "This is going to raise my insurance premium.")
  • Boss defeated Player dialog: What the boss says if you die. "Ha, what a wimp, I hardly broke a sweat!"
  • Boss Defeated Clue: Finally, a nice, short one. If you want your boss to drop or say something as a clue, this will show up in the "Clues" window. Name and Description are the only fields.
  • Clue Name: Think of it as a title. "A strange relic."
  • Clue Description: The body of the clue. "This piece of metal feels hot to the touch, and smells vaguely of cheese."

Collect an Object

This is where you set up a glowie (a clicked object), or group of glowies, to be found. If you want multiple groups of glowies (say, decoys and one real crate,) you will have to set up multiple collections. There's a trick to get around that in the Text section, though.


  • Collection name: This is a unique identifier for the collection. It cannot be the same as any other collection. This WILL appear when someone clicks on the collection.
  • Collection Type: Options: Floor, Wall. This simply splits up the long list of possible glowies by if they're attached to a wall or not. Body bags and crates, for instance, would be "Floor" objects, where computers, computer desks and such would be "Wall" objects. Some maps may not have a floor option or a wall option.
  • Collection Object: This is the dropdown list that appears when you select Floor or Wall. If it doesn't appear in one list, check in the other. A picture of the object will show up on the right hand side.

Optional settings

There are three sections to the optional collection settings:

  • Settings
  • Text
  • Collection Complete Clue

I won't touch on Collection Complete Clue, as it's the same as the Boss Clue.


There are five settings here:

  • Required for Mission Complete: The default is On. Just like the boss. If finishing this collection (clicking all glowies) will complete the mission, set this, otherwise turn it off.
  • Quantity: The default is 1. Simple enough - how many glowies?
  • Placement: The default is Any. Choices: Front, Middle, Back, Any. Again - where do you want them showing up? For a larger collection of glowies, "Any" should scatter them around the map. Note again that outdoor maps do not have a front/middle/back.
  • Interact Time: The default is 4 seconds. This controls how long in seconds you must work with the glowie, without being interrupted (moving, being attacked, etc.) If you want a long "search" on a computer, for instance, set this higher. A quick click? 1 second. Don't set it for too long, or it can get annoying.
  • Remove object on complete: The default is Do not Remove On Complete. Options: Remove on Complete, Do not remove on complete. Simple - do you want it to disappear or not? Think about if it makes sense for the object to vanish or not - an urn, perhaps. A desk, probably not.


This is the text related to the collection of items -- the nav bar text and text that shows up in your chat box. It's optional, but typically a good idea to fill in. There are a few sections:

  • Navigation Text (Plural)
  • Navigation Text (Singular)

I'm lumping these two together. These are what you see in the navigation bar - "Check the computer," "Find the clue." Plural will automatically add a number in the front - "5 Computers to check," for instance.

Here's where you can merge multiple collections. Say you want a clue "found" on one of five computers. The collection names must be unique -- but the Navigation Text (plural) can be the same. List both the decoys and the 'real' computer as "Computers to check" under "Plural."

  • Begin Interaction Text
  • Interrupt Interaction Text
  • Complete Interaction Text

These show up in your chat box when you start working on the object. For instance:

"You begin searching the computer for clues."
"You have been distracted. The computer beeps, resetting your search."
"You have found the file you're looking for!"

Don't be too wordy, though you have a limit of 100 characters each. If you want detail, fill it in in the Collection Complete Clue.

  • Interact Bar Text: This shows up over the "countdown bar." It's usually a small phrase, such as "Disarming bomb..." as the time expires. Keep it short.

Defeat All Enemies

OK, this is the simplest of them all.


Choices of everything on the map, or everything in the final room. Pretty self explanatory.)

Free a Captive

This can be a long section, but much of it is very similar to the "Fight a boss" section. When expedient (since this is a lot of typing) I'll refer back to the "Fight a boss" section.


  • Captive name: Simple enough - the name of the person you're rescuing. It's a good idea to refer to this person elsewhere ("Oh, try to save Jim") but not necessary.
  • Captive Type: As the "Boss type." Select group and type, from either standard or custom groups. Note that custom critters take more space than default ones.

Optional sections

There are four optional sections:

  • Settings
  • Release Captive Text and Dialog
  • Animations
  • Captive Rescued Clue

Again, you'll see me refer to the boss section for much of this.


Most of these sections are similar to the boss section - just replace "Boss" with "Captive." The settings are:

  • Required for mission completion
  • This mission goal is created when...
  • Quantity
  • Enemy group
  • Surrounding Enemy Group
  • Captive Placement
  • Enemy Group Difficulty
  • Surrounding Group Alignment

The only thing really different here is "Surrounding Group Alignment." Where with a boss you chose the boss's alignment, here you can select Enemy, Ally, or Rogue for the group with the captive. You cannot set the captive to an enemy or to betray you (that's in Escort, an advanced goal.)

Release Captive Text & Dialog

Again, much of this is similar to the boss settings. I'll only be touching on the differences.

  • Captive Description (bio)
  • Navigation Text (Plural)
  • Navigation Text (Singular)
  • Release Captive Completed Text
  • Enemy Unaware Dialog
  • Enemy Attack Dialog
  • Captive Inactive Dialog
  • Captive Active Dialog
  • Person Rescued Dialog
  • Release Captive Completed Text: This shows up in your text window when you've rescued the person ("You saved Mr. X from...")
  • Enemy Unaware/Attack dialog
  • Captive Inactive/Attack Dialog

Like the boss dialog, only (obviously) one's the captive, one's the captors, both unaggroed and aggroed. They do seem to fire off all at once many times -- but they do that in regular missions at times, too.

  • Person Rescued Dialog: This is what they say in a dialog bubble when you've finished defeating their surrounding group ("Oh, thank you, I was so scared!")
  • Animations: This covers the emotes the captors and captive do. There are three settings, all lists to pick from:
  • Enemy group starting animation
  • Captive starting animation
  • Rescue captive animation

Obviously the enemy group won't have an animation when you're done with them. And yes, get it out of your system -- let your first freed captive use "puke" as a rescue animation.

  • Captive Rescued Clue: Same as the "Boss" section - it goes in your "Clues" window. Title and description.

Tutorial 105: Tips & Tricks

Some of these have been mentioned before. This is purely a reference.

Rearranging missions

You can rearrange your missions by dragging the "book" (Mission 1, etc.) up top over to the front. This allows you to test missions out of order.

This swaps the mission you're dragging with the one you drag to. For example, if you have an arc with missions A-B-C-D-E and drag D to A, the new order is D-B-C-A-E, not D-A-B-C-E.

Errors And Jumping

Ah, so things don't always go as planned. If you look in the upper right hand corner, you'll see a little speech bubble and, hopefully, "No errors" in grey. If there IS an error (forgotten mission objective or other, required piece of text, for instance,) that will turn bright orange and give you "Errors found."

Well, that's not useful. But wait! Before you go laboriously digging through your missions to try to figure out what's wrong... click on that bubble. You'll see that it expands, listing specifically what's wrong!

Now, that's useful. But wait, there's more! Yes, for no extra charge, it will actually take you TO the area that's causing problems! Just click on the specific error (say, "Boss Name not provided") and faster than you can say COH/V, it takes you to the page the error is on and highlights the field in red for you to fix!

Handy little bubble, isn't it. You'll find little tricks like that all over.

In fact, you'll find it just below, too, in the Mission Description. Don't like some of your dialog? Click on it -- it'll take you to that line so you can edit it. Want fewer (or more) glowies to find? Click it! Nice little time saver, wouldn't you agree?

But the clicking doesn't stop there. See the Pen Icon on the top ribbon? Click it! It will take you to the Story Settings page (the page the pertains to the whole arc). Clicking the 1 and 2 of each mission book will also take you directly to those pages.

Tricks with Text

Right Click Formatting

Aside from copying and pasting, you can do several things to bring attention to specific pieces of text -- much like the orange text seen in more recent story arcs. How?

Click and drag the cursor over a section of text to highlight it, then right click. A menu will appear. From this, you can not only copy and paste, but add things like emboldening, color, text size, or text replacement.

To input by hand the html-like tags for these font changes (for example, if you're writing or saving the text in a different word processing editor) the codes are:

  • Color can be set by <color #rrggbb>sample text</color> where rrggbb is the hexadecimal red, green and blue components of the color.
  • Size of text can be set by <scale #.#>text to resize</scale> where #.# is the numerical sizing factor, with 1.0 being normal default. Less than 1 is smaller than default, greater than 1 is bigger. So, 1.2 would be 20% larger and 0.8 would be 80% of default size.
  • Italics: <i>sample text</i>
  • Embolden: <b>sample text</b>
  • Line Break: <br>

Text replacement and variables

Text Replacement is available, for starters, from the menu when right clicking on highlighted text. You have five options from the menu - Hero Name, Class, Origin, Level, and Supergroup. But that's not all. You can manually put in other variables in some text and dialog fields. For instance, you have a boss you want to notice the player and say "Get him!" or "Get her!" How do you do that?

  • $supergroup: that character's supergroup; if they have none, then "No Supergroup" will appear instead
  • $class: their archetype ($archetype also works)
  • $level: their level
  • $origin: their origin
  • $name: their name ($target also works)
  • $heshe or $Heshe: substitutes "he" or "she" depending on gender (capitalized will cap the substitution)
  • $himher or $Himher: same as above, using "him" or "her"
  • $hisher or $Hisher: same as above, using "his" or "her"
  • $sirmam or $Sirmam: same as above, using "sir" or "ma'am"

And so, "It's $name! Get $himher!" will automatically replace $name with the character's name, and say "him!" or "her!" where appropriate.

Mix and match

OK, we're not into "Creating custom critters and groups" yet, but one of the things to be aware of is the size of the mission. To keep it interesting, find critters that "logically" fit with your group and already exist in game. You can fill out a group without filling up your space that way.

The big stuff loads once

Again, not something we're touching on yet, but if you load a custom group and see it's taking half of your space - don't worry. It will not do that for each mission. Instead, it loads *all* the critter descriptions first. Individual missions are small, typically. It will refer to the information throughout the rest of the missions.


Need to fix something in a published arc, but don't want to lose ratings? Use the Republish button. It takes a little time to update - but it saves your information. The down side, of course, is that your local files aren't updated. Just the copy on the server... so if you missed something, you do have to edit it all again.

But I only want one!

When the MA says an ally may be placed with group "single" (Page 2 > Advanced Mission Goals > Add an Ally > Settings > Enemy Group Difficulty > Single) then that means that the ally will appear alone (not with a single enemy).

Clue/Goal Order

The creation-order of the mission goals will dictate the order of the clues in the player's clue-list. Make sure to create and link goals according to the proper required order for both your story and the clue-list!