Interactive Tour of Duty
Interactive Tour of Duty, or ITOD for short, is an activity run by leaders in the club where members play custom missions or levels in their game at part of an on-going storyline. It was developed as a way to extend and enhance the playability of single player flight simulator games within the Star Wars universe, though its use has expanded into other types of games.
How it works
In an ongoing ITOD, the group leader periodically provides a custom mission or level for their game, based on a general story. Each members plays the mission and records their results. They then report their mission results to their leader by a specific deadline. The results of the mission are judged successful or not by the average results of those who provide their reports. Each successive mission in the ITOD is then based on the results of the previous missions. In this way, members feel as though they are really taking part in the story. It should be noted that an ITOD is not easy to manage. Any leader who runs an ITOD smoothly should be commended for their dedication, skill and imagination.[]
Many groups within the Rebel Squadrons maintain an active ITOD. Vigilance Starfighter Group (VSG) runs both single player and multiplayer ITOD's for X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (XvT) and X-Wing Alliance space combat simulation games. Righteous Indignation Division (RID) has an ITOD for Empire at War real time strategy game. Patriot Battle Fleet (PBF) maintains ITOD's for X-Wing and Tie Fighter single player space combat simulator games.[]
Many of these ITOD's are now running under a unified ITOD using the same storyline across the different platforms. The ability to run a unified ITOD started in 2006 as the Patriot Battle Fleet (X-wing platform) absorbed Retribution Wing, the remnants of the TIE Fighter unit. This made for a campaign and story unified across two platforms, the first time this was successfully attempted (there were previous attempts years earlier, but they were unable to be sustained beyond a few missions). Later in the year the X-wing vs. TIE Fighter and X-wing Alliance units (Renegade Fleet and Intrepid Battle Group, respectively) merged into the Vigilance Starfighter Group. This resulted in the formation of a second campaign unified across two platforms. During the planning stages of this VSG campaign the Empire at War unit, Righteous Indignation Division, was added to the campaign, resulting in a three-platform unified ITOD. The Commando Division eventually joined the larger ITOD, forming a four-platform-wide unified tour.[]
In late 1995, VA Super created and implemented the concept of the Interactive Tour of Duty. At that time, the ITOD was a way of playing the original X-Wing game within an ongoing and changing plot, instead of the static Tour of Duties provided with the game. Back in the day, ITOD was a very effective recruiting tool for VA Super and the Rebel Squadrons itself.[] The ITOD was perhaps the single most important change ever made in the Rebel Squadrons, making the club what it is today by providing a means of continued activity, which of course brought attention to the club. By Feb 1996, it also increased VA Super's popularity within the club so much that the membership initiated the club-wide referendum that lead VA Super to become the first Fleet Commander.[]