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  ARMA 3 : APEX Official    



  July 11th, 2016 - 17:50 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00166 Official    

On July 27, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00166 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Maintenance, Apex Blog, Launcher Mod Search, Feedback Tracker Guide
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


Our clean sweep of the game continues during these first few post-release weeks. Besides making improvements to Apex itself, we've also been addressing your reports on older content, and will continue to do so. Some documentation has already been published to the Bohemia Interactive Community Wiki, while more elaborate topics are in progress. This all goes hand-in-hand with mapping out our further roadmap for Arma 3 development and support. It will still be a little while before we have concrete details for you, but you're already in the right place once any news breaks!

INTELLIGENCE


Taking a look back at the #RoadToApex, our Creative Director Jay Crowe has highlighted a selection of Arma 3 accomplishments in a new development blog. He goes over the major releases before the expansion, Apex proper and the platform updates, before concluding with a brief glimpse of what's on the horizon. It also includes some love directed at the awesome community, so you're really best off just going forth and reading the blog!




Since the 1.62 update introduced 13 new Steam Achievements, we'll highlight a few of them over the coming weeks. They don't only serve as 'bragging rights', but can also point out interesting functionality or content you may have missed. Take a look at the full list here. The "Better with Friends" achievement had a global unlock percentage of 0.1% when we first highlighted it, but that has since been boosted to a modest 0.2%. But wait, let's take a step back and explain what you need to do first. This is one of the "Apex Protocol" co-op campaign achievements. It unlocks after you have completed all of its missions with at least 2 players, because as the title suggests, the campaign is best played together.




Working through the missions in a team can be very rewarding. There are a few tips we'd like to offer for maximum success. Did you know the Dynamic Groups feature also seen in End Game is partly available? You can't actually disband the team, because Raider 2 is simply needed for the narrative, but you can promote another team leader! Access the interface by pressing U by default. We also recommend you stick together when tactically possible as it will let you Revive each other more often (bleed-out timing has since been tweaked on Dev-Branch), avoiding the more lengthy respawn procedure. Try to select a good balance of specialty roles in the Respawn Screen (check DETAILS for a full inventory listing). Having a grenadier, autorifleman or marksman available can make all the difference. Communicate your plans by plotting a good tactical approach on the 2D map, for example by drawing lines (Ctrl + LMB) or inserting other markers. These are currently broadcast on the communications channel you have selected for text chat and Voice-Over-Network (type via /, speak via Caps Lock and change channel via < and > by default). Finally you can remind yourself of the mission objectives by pressing and holding J for 3D indicators of tasks, tapping J twice for a more elaborate overview, or by pressing M for the full 2D map briefing and task assignments.

Speaking of working through the campaign together: it was interesting to watch one particular play-through by Jester814 and his team. They approached the missions quite tactically, communicating a lot and planning approaches. They did use various cool gameplay mods at their own risk, though they mostly seem to have worked in conjunction! Before you dive into the videos, please know that they will spoil all events, including briefing scenes!



OPERATIONS


Since many of you meanwhile rock 50+ GB mod libraries, Senior Programmer Jiří Polášek has plugged in a much sought-after improvement for the Launcher on Dev-Branch: mod search. This should make finding and filtering mods quite a bit more manageable (shortcut combination Ctrl + F also works). As added bonus, the public documentation has been updated to reflect the current state and recent additions such as the DASHBOARD and SERVERS pages.




Sadly we're not really much closer to finding the cause of the potentially drastic performance degradation that some players experience at seemingly random play times. Clues do point to memory management, but it's not quite so straight forward as an identifiable 'memory leak' or a common factor among cases (e.g. little available RAM). The game appears to run out of available memory, and fails to negotiate for more from the OS for unknown reasons (a process which actually happens without problems quite often, via memory allocators). We're analyzing the very useful profiling data from helpful Feedback Tracker users, who use special profiling clients to send us captured performance snapshots. We're going to continue eliminating causes to hopefully hone in on the root cause.

LOGISTICS


We're glad to have our Feedback Tracker platform open for your reports after its absence a few months ago. It's not the most user-friendly framework in all aspects however, and we're limited by what modifications we can make to it. What should really help beginning reporters though is a new user guide by QA Specialist Radek Pazdera. Go take a look for general guidelines and specific requests for reporting crashes or other issues. It will demonstrate where to find your exact game version, selected Steam branch, logs, system specifications and more. Providing all the relevant information in clear ways will make it easier for Radek, the QA teams and our developers to process and prioritize your feedback. Our thanks for your contributions to a better platform!




How about we end this week's report with a bit of casual fun? We'll put a challenge out there: can you go even deeper? #Armaception




  Today, 06:33 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00165 Official    

On July 19, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00165 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Profiling Branch, Recruiting, Wallpapers
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


The development locks that were in place during the last weeks of Apex development have now been lifted. This means our team members are free again to continue development under regular conditions. You may already notice this from the updates on Dev-Branch in recent days. We're also taking some time to reflect on the project together. This means we'll be looking back at both the journey and the destination, and creating action plans for a broad range of aspects to further improve upon. Besides our own thoughts, we also evaluate using your reviews, critiques, reports, stories, custom content releases and play-throughs ... and we're massively enjoying doing so. Keep sharing!

INTELLIGENCE


The newest dev photo shows a little supply drop we've sent out to a selection of gaming media outlets to promote Arma 3 Apex's release. Before you ask: there are no plans for delivering plants on a regular basis or to offer them for sale. It is quite difficult to manage the logistics, even though no casualties have been reported to us so far. We hope the recipients approach their new responsibilities with great care. And we'd love to hear how long their miniature jungles provide concealment to the plastic soldiers standing guard in the mud!




If you'd like to decorate your computer or mobile device desktop with the Apex artwork, you'll now find it available as wallpaper in a range of resolutions.




The youngest Bohemia Interactive studio, situated in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), has started recruiting for a few positions on its new development team. We're looking for talented and passionate developers to fill the roles of Senior Artist, Artist, Technical Artist and Audio Designer. Initially you'd be contributing to Arma 3's strong future, and then be on board for future projects on the horizon. Check out our careers page for all job offers in the company, and send us your application if you're interested. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ever since the 1.62 release, custom playable content designers have been releasing updates to their scenarios, modes and frameworks. A lot of them added variants on Tanoa, but they included many other cool new components, designs and approaches. Let us take a look at just a few of these projects that produce splendid content for the multiplayer community:

  • EUTW PVP Warfare version 2.06.00 with Apex content has been released on its development test server. Read all about this popular mode's features on its web page. This is actually one of the community modes we use in our internal update tests, to validate how custom content performs in future versions.




  • Domination is the return of an Arma classic, letting up to 50 players seize targets and complete side objectives. Its 3.48 version has been released alongside a Tanoa TT PvPvE version





  • ALiVE's massive persistent framework continues to dynamically define the front lines for many units. They too have been supporting the new Tanoan battle space since the public builds were first available.






  • F3 Mission Development Framework is the successor to F2. It offers an established library of tools and implementations to scenario designers who have the very basics under control. It's also compatible with Zeus and several popular mods. Definitely take a look if you're keen on being able to use standard solutions for common design work in order to build more complex scenarios!


Can't get enough of the many sights and sounds made possible by Tanoa and the Apex sandbox content? CallMehTOMMEH has published his very own fan-made launch trailer. Those are some solid flying skills on display - kudos!



OPERATIONS


With Apex we've also doubled down on our efforts to improve the localization of the game for the 10 available languages. This is a uniquely challenging field as it can be difficult to ensure nothing gets ... lost in translation. The process starts with the developers putting in the raw texts, but then goes through a whole pipeline to end up being proofread and translated by mostly external contractors. Dedicated testing of the game in the various languages also takes place. One tricky aspect is context. It can often be difficult for an external translator to know precisely how a phrase or single word fit into the game and how they should be translated. This is one of the things being coordinated by Associate Producer Vojtěch Schubert. He has opened a special thread on the forums to request your feedback for further improvements. It's focused on the Apex content, but any older texts can still be discussed as well. See a term that is out of place in Arma's military context? Encounter an unfortunate phrasing? Catch a string that's entirely missing translation? Let us know!




We are indeed working on adding livery and skin templates to Arma 3 Samples for Apex content. The sources are being gathered, and you'll likely find them first on the app's own development branch. We're also wanting to update our asset listing on the Community Wiki as a convenient look-up guide for class names and some characteristics. Meanwhile you can explore the in-editor Config Viewer. Something else still coming the way of certain players is the digital PDF topographic map for Tanoa in the Bonus folder of Digital Deluxe Edition owners (or owners of other editions containing the bonus content).

LOGISTICS


The new Main Menu has taken a more minimalist approach to the in-game news feed. Instead of directly showing a summary of recent Dev Hub reports, it links out to the relevant locations on the web. This will reduce our own upkeep of outdated systems, and we've always struggled with the limited formatting options for HTML content in the game's UI. As a result, after update 1.64 we'll no longer be maintaining these server-side news posts (at the moment the Legacy Branch still uses them). We don't have information of it being the case, but if any custom services were directly hooking into this legacy news feed, please consider alternatives. We use special URLs that always link to the most recent SITREP, SPOTREP or Dev-Branch change log for example.

Besides our more prominent Steam branches, there is one that contributes to a more stable game, but is really there just for advanced users (mostly server administrators in fact). This profiling branch is coordinated by Online Services Consultant David Foltýn, who is always there to liaise between server hosts and our programmers in order to pursue further (multiplayer) optimizations. The branch contains special performance executables with extended diagnostics, experimental technologies and upcoming crash fixes. These are often targeting just servers, but occasionally also require clients for compatibility. When there is a need, David also hosts special "CHIMERA" servers to facilitate testing. One feature being matured in this branch is an ability for servers to have automated control over clients who do not have an acceptable connection and who can have a negative impact on the entire session. This and other admin controls are discussed on our forums, while they are being tweaked and fine-tuned. We'd like to stress again that regular players should not use profiling branch, but we wanted to explain its purpose and to show one way in which a willing few are contributing to a better multiplayer environment. Thanks!


  July 19th, 2016 - 17:55 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00164 Official    

On July 12, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00164 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Apex Released, Apex Protocol
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


After one hell of a ride, we've all arrived at the release of Arma 3 Apex and the corresponding free 1.62 platform update. Here's our official launch trailer to celebrate this major milestone! We hope you're already enjoying the vanilla expansion or one of the many custom mod(e)s that were updated in unison. More than ever before we witnessed an impressive pre-release effort by the various mod teams and server hosts to make the transition as smooth as possible. Our thanks go to everyone who has contributed to this release, not least of which our developers and Bohemia Interactive's supporting departments. Have fun running your jungle ops on Tanoa or however else you enjoy playing the game!



What does this mean for Arma 3 support going forward? We'll begin by keeping a very close eye on your reports to Feedback Tracker, the forums and various other channels. The team is already doing triage of issues and they are on top of fixes, tweaks and some of the recently postponed features. Based on the urgency of potential issues, we'll determine our update schedule. In any case, you can expect normal main branch maintenance updates to continue on their 4 to 6 week cycle. They should be rather less impactful than recent feature-rich updates, and rather focus on fixes, mod support, documentation and similar work. Daily Dev-Branch updates are also set to continue. Meanwhile, we're planning our further support for Arma 3. It's a little early now, but we hope to discuss the post-Apex road map over the coming months.




INTELLIGENCE


A few bits of Intel on yesterday's release may have slipped by you, so let's highlight them:

  • We've added a significant amount of additional official servers for various bits of playable content, including the Apex Protocol campaign of course! Find them via our web-listing, or the Launcher and in-game server browsers.
  • The "Arma 3 Apex" controls preset is now default (you may have seen the prompt in-game) - give it a go! The legacy "Arma 3" preset is still available as well.
  • If you own a Digital Deluxe Edition or another applicable special edition, you should have the Apex Official Sound Track in the Bonus\Soundtrack folder of your installation. It contains MP3 and FLAC mastered versions of the tracks that are also present in the game itself. One way of playing the tracks is by using Steam client's own music player (View > Music Player).
  • Bonus: the Japanese and Korean translations are now available in the standard international distribution!
  • The old 2D Editor is now indeed considered to be deprecated. It can still be accessed via Ctrl + O(ld) from terrain selection, but is unsupported from now onward.
  • You'll find the full change log in its usual SPOTREP form.

Have a look at this video interview by PC Gamer with Creative Brit Jay Crowe. It should give you another good bit of insight into the Arma 3 Apex expansion, its goals and what it brings to players.



OPERATIONS


Owners of Apex can now also try out the new 1-4 player co-op campaign: Apex Protocol. Since its staging ahead of release, we have been reading your feedback, positive and negative alike, and taken it to heart. Some aspects received useful tweaks ahead of release, while others may still be addressed post-release. We are for example wanting to adjust the Revive bleed-out timings, so you'll have a better chance of saving your team mates. There's been debate on whether the campaign is suitable for individuals. While you certainly can play it alone, this campaign was indeed designed with a co-op focus. Senior Designer Thomas Ryan has gone over some of the design processes on the forums. Do try playing the missions with friends or even random players via Quick Play. And take your time to explore Tanoa a little. This was the first official content build entirely in Eden Editor. Its power has resulted in some cool compositions and scenes to happen upon. Also try playing the missions multiple times; Arma's inherent sandbox nature may throw some unexpected differences your way. Oh, and there's a set of new Steam achievements to challenge yourselves with!

Going back to our goals for Apex, we made the decision early on to focus its playable content on multiplayer. Based on that we wanted to deliver a military PvE co-op experience for more Arma 3 players. We love seeing milsim units run operations, craft deep, advanced and dynamic scenarios, and conduct extensive After Action Reports. But there are many players out there who just cannot put in the kind of time this usually demands (nonetheless, we recommend them to try to hook up with a suitable unit for embedded operations). We hope this campaign is another type of multiplayer content that may interest more players in military Arma gameplay. Besides that, a focus on and investment in multiplayer indirectly benefits everyone, regardless of their play style. It has contributed to fixes, optimizations, new systems and more.

LOGISTICS


We've had to reset the Analytics settings for everyone, so please review your wishes in the Launcher options. This was needed because a glitch that was present only on various testing branches (e.g. Dev-Branch) caused them to be disabled for everyone temporarily. We had no means to accurately identify just the group of users whose analytics were disabled by this glitch as opposed to by their choice to opt-out. Since we felt it would be a shame to miss this useful data on an important group of our core users, we implemented this corrective solution. Launcher should alert you to this reset in most cases. We've also tried to make the system more robust by adding more fail-safes and information about when and how your settings were updated.

Some players have reported visual glitches on vegetation after the 1.62 update. They witnessed light blue coloration when model LODs were switching while moving across the terrains. It would appear that a GPU driver re-install or update has fixed this for the players we've been in contact with, so please try that if you are encountering similar glitches. We are also investigating reports from another group of users who are experiencing drastic framerate drops after the update. We don't yet have concrete Intel on this, but would like to hear from you with details. Meanwhile, please try doing Steam local file cache verifications, non-SSD defragmentations, tests without mods, custom memory allocators and checks on shared libraries.

As per Standard Operating Procedure we've also updated Arma 3 Tools and Arma 3 Samples yesterday. Get the fresh details from the most recent TECHREP.




  July 12th, 2016 - 23:22 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00163 Official    

On July 5, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00163 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Imminent Apex Release, Squad Communications, Units Stage Two, Mobile Ops
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


Welcome to the last SITuation REPort on the #RoadToApex. By this time next week, owners will have access to the Apex expansion on main branch, and everybody will be playing the free 1.62 update. That also means you have less than a week to make use of the 20% discounted pre-order. We hope you're as excited as we are for everyone to be able to enjoy Apex, Tanoa and all the platform improvements soon.




Getting your feedback and issue reports has been of great benefit to the release state of the expansion. Many things were fixed, and other aspects were tweaked or changed based directly on your comments. Some changes were not feasible in time for release, or even will not be during the game's lifetime. Speaking of which, we obviously will keep supporting the game after July 11! There will inevitably be issues in the wild, that we will do our best to solve as swiftly as possible. Please be patient while your favorite server admins update their farms, while modders release their compatibility updates, and while we all get used to this big step forward for the game. The Apex release will occur in the evening (CET) because we need to synchronize with our Steam partners. Considering the big data download and complexity of the update, it may take a brief while for things to settle. We have no doubt that in the end, Arma 3 will be a better game once again.

INTELLIGENCE


We've recently said our goodbyes to a true champion in Bohemia Interactive's Publishing team: Executive Producer Jan Kunt. Operating outside of the core development teams, you'll maybe not have heard his name before, but he has been essential for our releases over the past 9 years. Jan was our liaison to Valve (Steam) and other third-party contacts, making sure everyone was in sync and problems got solved. He also coordinated ratings, licenses, ports and many more efforts surrounding principle game development. We would like to thank him for his tireless work and to wish him well on his next adventure!




Perhaps sneaking by you amid the Apex Sneak Preview fun, we recently hosted another #milsim live stream in cooperation with the RG Task Force. The event was nicely shoutcast by MicOne, RG's Andrews and our own Community Developer Greg Becksted. Taking place at varied locations on the brand new Tanoa terrain, we witnessed 3 Team-versus-Team matches using the official Spectator mode. You can now view the entire event in this recording!



Italian units (and everybody else) will have a lot of new goodies to play with thanks to the hard work of the PedagneMOD, who have upgraded their Arma 2 mod to Arma 3. This is merely their first release, as they plan to continue development of more types of infantry units. Take a look at this showcase video to see what's been included. Perhaps they can join forces with members of KSK 2035 (by IndeedPete) in future Pacific NATO operations.






OPERATIONS


Around the time of publishing this report, we're also planning to stage the Apex Playable Content to Dev-Branch, so you may already see it there when reading this. Note that some of the campaign videos and other narrative elements have not yet been fully finalized. We generally recommend most players await the full release to enjoy the complete story experience. And a quick reminder: please mark your discussions of the co-op campaign especially with spoiler warnings. This forums thread by Playable Content Lead Jaroslav Kašný introduces you to the campaign and is a good place for your feedback. The other branches will see the content later this week. Today and tomorrow are Czech national holidays, so even though many of our developers have come to work to prepare for the Apex release, we're not at full operating capacity. Let us know about major issues especially, so we can still hunt those down before release day. Thanks!

For a while we've wanted to make improvements to your ability to operate as a team effectively under the header Squad Communications. This has resulted in modest improvements to the vanilla Voice-Over-Network communications and Line Drawing on the 2D map. Two additional features in development are the so-called Squad Radar and Tactical Ping, which you may have already encountered on branches like Dev-Branch. Besides assisting units to play co-operatively, we view these as optional tools to compensate for a decreased spatial awareness when compared to real life conditions. Since we know not everyone appreciates these types of helpers, they are indeed optional and / or linked to difficulty settings for those who accept the I/O limitations of the PC and its peripherals for what they are. Before we expand on these two new features, we do need to let you know that after careful consideration, we have decided to delay them from 1.62. While they show great promise, the features need some additional time for testing and to resolve a few potential UI conflicts for example.




Squad Radar is a spatial awareness indicator that visualizes important entities in your immediate vicinity. Most importantly, these are your team mates, which can be tremendously helpful when trying to keep in formation during CQB for example. Users of the popular ShackTac Fire Team HUD mod will see many similarities. Our thanks go to zx64 and Andrew "Dslyecxi" Gluck, who allowed us to use this scripted feature as the primary inspiration for our hard-coded version. This UI element can be moved in the layout options, wholly disabled or controlled via scripting / description.ext. Tactical Ping (Shift + T by default) lets players point out anything in the environment to their unit members by drawing an alert icon on a certain position. For intricate details on how these features work and can be controlled, please read this splendid forums post by Designer Radko Voda.

The second stage of the Arma 3 Units service is now online! As Brand & PR Manager Korneel van 't Land describes on our forums, the well over 2500 community units can now manage members and organize themselves with ranks, roles and responsibilities. Users can use their Bohemia Account to apply for units, and even benefit from a first version of game integration. While it's unsure this connection to the Launcher and the game itself will make it to update 1.62, you will soon be able to show off your unit association to other players. For this you will need to connect your Steam account to your Bohemia Account in its settings. A new Launcher dashboard will be the prime place to select your active unit, although the in-game profile settings will offer this switch too (note that the existing squad.xml implementation remains in tact). Lead Web Developer Jervant Malakjan and his team will continue to work on Units as its planned third stage includes features like events.




LOGISTICS


R&D Lead Julien Vida has been mapping the status of documentation. This has resulted in a lot of internal tasking to fill the gaps and to publish missing documentation for recent changes and new features or technologies. A first fruit of this labor is the creation of Community Wiki pages for a number of undocumented script commands, with more on their way.

Bohemia Interactive's Mobile team has last week released its first title: Arma Mobile Ops. This free-to-play game for iOS and Android mobile devices is a spin on established popular mobile strategy games. You're a battlefield commander whose mission is to build and defend a base, fight through a singleplayer campaign and invade other players. Form alliances and challenge the tops of the leaderboards together. The game was geo-tested under a different name in a select few local territories, as is common in mobile development. This allowed the team to find issues, measure popularity, gather statistics to improve the game and generally to get it ready for a global release. Now, everyone with a compatible device can download the game and have a quick and fun on-the-go experience for moments like their daily commute. You can play it for free, and use optional in-app purchases to skip waiting times, though those are not necessary for the full range of gameplay opportunities.



Mobile Ops is a first project for us to set up a new team and explore the mobile market. We'll be experimenting with business models and game types. Meanwhile you need not worry that this has a negative impact on your primary Arma experience. The game was developed by a new group of developers who joined the company last year with a strong Unity engine background. They are led by Project Lead Jan Herodes and operate independently from the Arma 3 team, but within the BI family of course. Our main focus is still PC, but we do think we can experiment with mobile as well. Follow the game on its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels, learn more on its website, and discuss your thoughts on our forums.


  July 8th, 2016 - 06:13 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00162 Official    

On June 28, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00162 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Revive, LOD Blending, Integrated Items
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


Our designers are hard at work to hit their final pre-release milestone: staging the Apex Playable Content to , RC-Branch and Sneak Preview Branch. That means getting Showcase End Game, End Game Moddergat, End Game Balavu, Master Tanoa Zeus and of course the "Apex Protocol" co-op campaign ready for your feedback. We're getting close, but we'd like to make some last tweaks and plug in all voice acting and videos first. Once the content becomes available to you, we'd like to ask you to again be mindful of spoilers. Try to mark your forums posts, Feedback Tracker tickets and other shares with cautions to readers, so those waiting for the release version get to experience the events in the Armaverse for themselves. It's almost July, so enjoy the remaining 2 weeks until release!





INTELLIGENCE


Even though last week's mega anniversary deal is no longer available, there are still significant discounts on Arma 3 and its DLC over at the Steam Summer Picnic Sale. Now is a great time to jump in yourself, or to introduce your friends to the game. This offer ends on July 4, just days ahead of the Apex launch itself.







Thank you all for your heart-felt anniversary messages. We were invigorated for another 15 great years of Arma. If you'd like to join our CEO Marek Španěl for a trip down memory lane, grab the latest version of the Community Upgrade Project terrains. It adds back Arma terrains like Everon, Malden, Kolgujev, Nogova and even Desert Island, with Arma 3 upgrades (based on foundation ports by the Cold War Rearmed 2 team, so kudos to everyone involved).






OPERATIONS


A new version (backwards-compatible) of the Revive feature has been staged to . Mainly coordinated by Senior Designer Jiří Wainar, the new version features some significant improvements, which we felt necessary to support the upcoming co-op campaign (and End Game or any other MP mode wishing to use it). It uses a new 'hold action' approach, enriched 2D and 3D presentation, new animations, an engine-based unconsciousness state, significant optimizations, and more. The release state for 1.62 is not the final stop either, as several more improvements are planned post-Apex, such as moving more scripted components to the engine. Read all about the plan on our forums and let our devs know what you think about the latest version!




As mentioned previously, we've been investigating how to better handle the Levels Of Detail for our 3D models (on Tanoa, but also generally). For those who don't know, every model in the game is available in several (pre-made) LODs, selected by the renderer based on factors like overall performance, distance, importance and more. This is done in many games, since rendering everything at maximum detail all the time is not feasible yet (especially when using kilometers of viewing distance). Senior Programmer Lukáš Bábíček has enabled a first version of dissolve LOD blending, which aims to make the transition between LODs less sudden, less aggressive and less noticeable. Effectively you will see a smooth dithered blend during the switch, which we feel makes the scene calmer. There is a performance cost to this approach, although our own automated benchmarks have not shown a significant hit. We'll be going over your experiences to determine the best approach going forward.

LOGISTICS


Our inventory tech now supports some new capabilities that allow for advanced integrated items. This was applied to some of the high-tech Apex Special Forces gear, but may also be very useful to modders. Designer Radko Voda, who has cooperated with Senior Programmer Jan Mareček on this, goes over the details with us: "Integrated items represent a new type of equipment that combine the functionality of multiple different items into one. Let's consider the new Special Purpose Helmet used by CSAT Special Operators as an example.This helmet has integrated night and thermal vision modes that you can cycle freely without any other attachments or items being equipped. Also it occupies both the helmet slot as well as the slot for the NVGs in your inventory. When you equip some other helmet or NVG this helmet will be removed just like if you would have replaced any other item. However, when you equip this helmet, it will remove any items from both helmet and NVG slots alike. The default helmet slot is equipped as per usual and additional occupied slots are indicated by a yellow background and the item icon with 50% opacity.

To achieve this functionality we have introduced a new type of configurable parameter: subItems[] = {"item_class"}; When you put this parameter into the class of some item, you can integrate some other items into it simply by specifying their class names in the parameter field. However, this is currently working only for a limited selection of item combinations. You can integrate NVG and Radio items into Helmets and you can make a Vest that occupies the Backpack slot as well. We would like to gradually extend this functionality as far as possible, but due to technical limitations of the existing item implementation we cannot guarantee that it will be possible for all items in the end. Nevertheless, we found even the currently possible combinations quite promising for the creation of amazing new pieces of equipment."

That's all for this week. Enjoy the summer vibe on Tanoa!





  June 28th, 2016 - 22:01 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  15 years Armaversary celebration Official    

Korneel van 't Land has informed us about 15 years Armaversary celebration events.


Bohemia Interactive celebrates 15 years of Arma


Over 10 million sold copies, special Arma sale today
Prague, Czech Republic, June 22st 2016


With the release of Arma 3 Apex on the horizon, Bohemia Interactive celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Arma series, which saw its first release on June 22nd 2001 in the form of Arma Cold War Assault (originally titled Operation Flashpoint*: Cold War Crisis). Since then, several Arma installments, alongside expansions and downloadable content, have followed. To date, the Arma series has sold over 10 million copies of games (DLCs not included).

Marek Spanel, CEO and co-founder of Bohemia Interactive:

“When we released our first Arma game in 2001, little could we know that it would start a successful line up of games and spin-off serious simulators. Fifteen years later, Bohemia Interactive continues to provide unique games to our creative communities. A special thanks goes out to all Arma players and content creators. We look forward to the Arma 3 Apex release and everything else that lies ahead in Arma’s future!”

To further celebrate Arma’s 15th birthday, Bohemia Interactive has bundled 15 years of Arma for 15% of their current price (i.e. 85% discount, best deal ever), today only, exclusively on the Bohemia Store. This special package includes:

Arma: Cold War Assault
Arma: Gold Edition
Arma 2
Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead
Arma 2: British Armed Forces
Arma 2: Private Military Company
Arma 2: Army of the Czech Republic
Arma 3
Arma 3 Karts DLC
Arma 3 Helicopters DLC
Arma 3 Marksmen DLC

The regular price for this bundle of games is 114.39 EUR / 94.59 GBP / 141.89 USD, while today’s exclusive deal massively lowers the price to 17.16 EUR / 14.19 GBP / 21.28 USD.

Known for its authentic combined arms gameplay, stunning large open terrains, as well as its support for content creation and modding, the Arma series has developed into one of the most popular military game franchises on PC. After the hit success of the first Arma in 2001, the studio took on various ambitious new projects, and was involved in establishing a successful spin-off business in serious gaming and simulations with its first game for training: VBS1. In 2005, Bohemia Interactive released its first console game Operation Flashpoint: Elite* for Xbox – followed by Arma in 2007, which marked the studio’s first full independent release without support from a major publisher.

Arma 2 released in 2009, and remained a priority for several years after release, resulting in several DLC packs and the Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead expansion. This also lead into the mod sensation DayZ, created by Dean Hall, which took the entire gaming industry by surprise in 2012 and established a new game category. About half a year later, in 2013, Arma 3 paved the way for Bohemia Interactive’s open method of development, becoming one of the first titles to enter and graduate from the Steam Early Access program and selling 2.5 million copies to date. Arma 3 still continues to enjoy full support in the form of free platform updates and premium downloadable content, including the much-anticipated Arma 3 Apex expansion, which is scheduled for release on July 11th this year.

For more information about Bohemia Interactive and the studio’s portfolio of games, please visit www.bistudio.com – and keep track of all the latest news by following Bohemia Interactive on Facebook and Twitter.

*Operation Flashpoint® is a registered trademark of Codemasters


  June 22nd, 2016 - 20:27 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00161 Official    

On June 21, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00161 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Armaversary, Main Menu Overhaul, Vehicle-in-Vehicle Transport, Vehicle Path-Following
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


The first week of pre-release public testing of the Apex sandbox has proven once again the value of this approach. Combined with our own thorough tests, your feedback has contributed to many tweaks and fixes already. At the small cost of a slightly skewed first impression due to the work-in-progress nature of the content, this will lead to a more solid release on July 11. Note that most changes arrive first to the daily experimental Dev-Branch. We then selectively merge these to the Apex Sneak Preview and RC updated periodically. The update processes are running a little slower than we're used to, because of the large amount of data and increased branch count. It has also been quite remarkable to see a wide range of mods release compatible versions within days, and in some cases hours, of content staging. The hard work of teams like Exile, GetWrecked, various Life incarnations and others will provide players with a great many options come full release. There's still plenty to polish, so we'll get on with it!




INTELLIGENCE


Happy birthday Arma! On June 22, it's been 15 years since the series' first entry was released in Europe: Arma Cold War Assault. Since then, over 10 million copies (excluding DLC) have been sold, of which 2.5 million for Arma 3 to date. On behalf of our company and everyone who has worked on Arma, we'd like to thank all players, modders, units, server admins, moderators and all other people who have supported the franchise along the way. To celebrate, we're hosting the best deal ever, with 15 years of Arma at 15% of its current price (special bundle of all released Arma games and DLC) - one day only, exclusively on the Bohemia Store. Cheers to another 15 years!




One of the first things greeting you when starting the game after Apex (1.62), is an overhauled Main Menu. One of the goals was simply to apply a fresh coat of paint, as we've done for the game itself with the Visual Upgrade. After a few years of playing the game, and with more years to go, having a splendid new entry point to gameplay was desired. In addition, several of our designers have taken a look at the User eXperience of the interface and made tweaks to how elements are arranged, presented and interacted with. One part of this was to re-focus on the center of the screen (most other displays were also centralized). This is also where we placed several visually-pleasing spotlight tiles for the content we want to promote (or mods want to promote!).




Another aspect of the Main Menu is the terrain-specific cutscene played in the background. Throughout the Arma series there have been various approaches. Before Apex, our terrains showed a drone-like feed with combat going on in the distance. Now we've gone with a series of static scenes that showcase the environment, and provide more stable performance at the same time. Of course mods can tweak the UI and these scenes. Head over to the Community Wiki for the documentation.

Entertain yourself with the "Water in your Eyes" mission cinematic about Dutch unit 11th Air Manoeuvre Brigade. It shows them executing a naval anti-piracy interception using assets from the FFAA mod. Nice editing Lorrio!



OPERATIONS


Logistics are essential on the battlefield. After introducing features like Sling Loading for helicopters, we wanted to offer another important capability: carrying vehicles inside larger vehicles. This will open another avenue for commanders to move their assets across large distances, for example between the islands of Tanoa. The first version of Vehicle-in-Vehicle Transport is available on Dev-Branch, where it will be iterated for a little while before taking it to other versions. So far, the new VTOLs have been prepared to load any suitable vehicle in the vanilla sandbox, from the new LSVs to existing light armored vehicles. In some cases you may even load up multiple vehicles. In the future we'd like to prepare our larger pre-Apex aircraft for this as well, but that requires some additional work. Cargo vehicles do not need setting up for the most part, as load capacity is determined based on their actual bounding box dimensions and weight. One very cool aspect of this feature is the ability to eject cargo vehicles mid-flight and have them be parachuted down (depending on altitude and pilot skill!).

In our wildest dreams, we envisioned this feature to also mean you would drive up a vehicle ramp and park the vehicle manually. However, after experimenting with this and similar approaches, we learned it wouldn't be feasible to deliver, given reasonable resources. These attempts caused complex problems with AI, animations and physics. We want our engine-based features to be fully available for: AI, commanding, waypoints, multiplayer, Eden Editor, Zeus, mods, etc. That's why we've decided to implement the feature in a more abstracted way. For technical details and available modding options, check out the Community Wiki documentation (more information coming, including script command references). Give the feature a go yourself, build some simple scenarios around it, and discuss your evaluation on our forums. Programmer-Designer duo Tomáš Nezval and Karel Kališ are monitoring for any reported issues and potential tweaks. We definitely think it will allow for some very cool gameplay and large combined arms operations.

LOGISTICS


Advanced mod teams may enjoy a new command-line version of Publisher that was prepared by Senior Programmer Jiří Polášek. On, and it supports skins! The tool can be experimented with on the Arma 3 Tools Dev-Branch.




Deep in his secret lair, Senior Programmer Krzysztof Bielawski has been experimenting with significant AI driving enhancements. Before we describe this effort more, we should make it clear that this tech will not be part of the 1.62 update yet. It requires more work and testing of all content. Once finalized, our hope is that especially vehicle path-following will have improved. It should teach AI to navigate through narrow roads and urban areas more effectively. Other AI challenges being looked into are formation holding and convoy driving. There is also a powerful new modding opportunity as it allows a per-vehicle behavior to be configured via a new driving component in vehicle simulation. On top of this it has been a general refactoring and optimization of the code. A first iteration, tweaks and fixes have already gone live on , so let us know how it's working and get more Intel straight from the source!

There will be a brief interruption in our regular activity this Thursday and Friday while all Bohemia Interactive teams meet up for a company-wide event. This will affect Dev-Branch and other branch updates, as well as our interaction on the various communication channels.

Until next week, let's join these Tanoan locals anxiously awaiting your arrival to their homeland.




  June 22nd, 2016 - 18:24 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00160 Official    

On June 14, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00160 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Apex Release Date, Apex Sneak Preview, Apex Dev Diary
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION

Where do we even begin? Chances are that not many of you will read this week's report due to the massive influx of Apex Intel and goodies over the past days. But perhaps for that reason we actually recommend you do keep on reading! Get a clear overview of what we've revealed: the July 11th 2016 release date, a E3 2016 Teaser Trailer, the full expansion contents, and more.



INTELLIGENCE



Soon after last week's staging of Tanoa, we published the Dev Diary we had promised a while back. In this video, Project Lead Petr Kolář and Creative Director Jay Crowe take you on a tour of the setting and content of Arma 3 Apex. Looking beyond centerpiece Tanoa, they discuss the new vehicles, weapons and gear for the various factions. The last segment of the diary takes a first look at the upcoming "Apex Protocol" co-op campaign, without spoiling too much about the narrative. You will also see glimpses of many of our proud developers, working hard in the various studios to get the expansion done on time. Keep it up guys and gals, together with the community we'll get this done!



If you'd like to inspect the contents of the expansion at your own pace, visit our new Apex overview website for all the details. Not only will you learn about the premium content additions, but we've detailed the long list of free platform updates as well. A series of new screenshots has also been shared there, and on the Bohemia Interactive Store and Steam product pages. The full Apex Edition is still definitely the best option for new Arma 3 recruits.

We'd like to also clarify that, unlike some would claim, we have absolutely never advertised the DLC Bundle would contain Apex. It has always been stated to include Karts, Helicopters and Marksmen DLC. Owners of the (retired) Supporter Edition do receive Apex as part of their package.




The team then entered an intense few days of non-stop work to prepare for our appearance on the 2016 PC Gaming Show in Los Angeles. Thanks to Brand & PR Manager Korneel van 't Land's tireless behind-the-scenes coordination and Jay's splendid on-screen presence, we showed off Apex to the massive live audience. Our thanks to the show organizers and host Sean Plott for getting us back on! In case you missed the show, watch its recording here (01:31:17 for the summoning of the Crowe). The audience support in the various chats also did not go unnoticed! Besides premiering the Teaser Trailer, there were two other very significant reveals!







The final release date was confirmed as the 11th of July 2016. Yes, it's 11 days past our intended Q2 release window. But the extra time will allow us to react to several weeks of public feedback, and also let the (modding) community prepare for the release. And to make sure you have something to do, we've staged all Apex sandbox content for you to try!




Making it easier than ever to preview the work-in-progress content ahead of release, we've added a new public branch for Arma 3 and Arma 3 Server. Go to either app's Properties, select the BETAS tab and then pick the Apex Sneak Preview Build from the list. Steam will now download the data and after that you're good to go. There are various things to keep in mind, so let's make this a clear list, shall we?

  • The Apex Sneak Preview branch will be available all the way up to release, and then you can obviously continue playing on main branch.

  • We recommend this branch over Dev-Branch for regular players. It's less experimental in nature.

  • If you suffer bandwidth restrictions, consider waiting for the full release. Large and frequent updates are expected until release.

  • If you don't want to spoil your own first impressions by this work-in-progress build, consider waiting for the full release.

  • Feel free to share media and stream from this build, but we'd love it if you could let your audience know this is an unfinished pre-release version.
  • People love exploring, so please be mindful of obvious spoilers. We've been very impressed with your efforts to warn people so far, especially on the Arma subreddit!

  • Even if you do not own Apex yet, you can try the assets in the Virtual Arsenal / Garage mode for free! This mode can also be accessed from the game's DLC Content Browser (Shift + P).
  • Playable Content (e.g. the co-op campaign) is not yet staged, but will be during the weeks before release.

  • This is and will be the same build as the RC Branch highlighted below (therefore also multiplayer compatible with each other).

  • Game Updater unfortunately cannot support this branch prior to release. Please see this forums post by R&D Lead Julien Vida for information.






We're still tweaking, fixing and polishing the contents of Apex in many areas. Weapon animations and audio will see improvements, some features are yet to be enabled (e.g. Vehicle-in-Vehicle Transport and secondary weapon muzzle deployment), glitches are being addressed, etc. Please report specific issues on the Feedback Tracker with as much data as you can. We'd also love your feedback via our forum threads for vehicles, weapons, gear and props.





OPERATIONS


The feedback to Tanoa has been amazing, rewarding and motivating! The Environment Design and Art teams are processing all reports and tweaking the terrain across the board. Besides fixing obvious glitches, like misplaced objects, they are also still improving areas like the underwater world as best they can. Other aspects will remain as they are for release, such as the amount of building interiors. This different approach was first discussed during last year's reveal of Tanoa. We are however investigating the handling of model Levels Of Detail. We too observe LODs switching too aggressively, and we are pursuing improvements both in our data and the engine. It should be said that LOD switching will never be completely invisible, simply due to the nature of this method of achieving better performance.




It's cool to see you've noticed our work on making the AI work better in Tanoa's jungles and other locations. This has been an on-going effort on the RoadToApex, with some of the changes reaching Altis & Stratis in the previous platform updates. Further tweaking of this too, is still in progress, by adjusting AI parameters and improving the technical LODs of natural objects for example. Along with features like the extended AI suppression commands, please discuss how you feel AI behavior can be further enhanced on our forums.







LOGISTICS


Even though we now have the readily available Apex Sneak Preview branch, we still want to also cater to regular Release Candidate testers. A clone / alias of the same build is available as regular1.62 RC via Steam access code Arma3Update162. We intend for these branches to contain the same, multiplayer-compatible, build until release. Find the high-level and evolving change log here. It's up to you which one you prefer to use, but either way is fine!




Until next time, enjoy your sight-seeing tours of Tanoa!


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  June 15th, 2016 - 18:48 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00159 Official    

On June 7, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00159 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Apex Artwork, PC Gaming Show 2016, Tanoa Dev-Branch Status
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


Things have really kicked off yesterday with the revelation of the official Arma 3 Apex artwork and logo. We hope you're as excited as we are about the setting that's depicted there. It has been a joy to read your discussions about the clues contained within. We're seeing the full package coming together fast now, and soon you'll have all the details yourselves. One particular event to mark in your calendars is the PC Gaming Show 2016 on Monday June 13 at 11:30 PDT / 20:30 CEST. Creative Director Jay Crowe will be on-stage to announce the release date for Apex, and to drop more splendid Intel. The show will be live streamed on various platforms, including a mirror on our Twitch channel. There will no doubt be a recording for on-demand viewing afterwards as well. Be sure to stick around for the after show for more Bohemia Interactive coverage!

[Related Twitter content on click]

INTELLIGENCE



Before we look ahead even more, let's take one more peak back at the recent 1.60 update. Besides the Visual Upgrade, shown off brilliantly by CallMehTOMMEH, there were many more cool aspects. To make sure you didn't miss a thing, take a look at our top 10 favorite changes. They weren't necessarily ordered by any parameter, but they stood out to us as useful steps forward. The pretty comparison images and other media should give you a much clearer view on the improvements. Another synopsis is offered by our friends at the ARMAnet podcast in their recent debrief episode.

[Related Twitter content on click]



We were blown away by KinglesPringles' awesome machinima showcasing the Operation: TREBUCHET mod. If you'd like to stay aware of how development on this unofficial mod is progressing, do check out their UPLINK reports!



OPERATIONS


The plan was to ambush Apex owners by staging the Tanoa terrain to our experimental Dev-Branch. But it turns out some distribution and ownership issues are delaying your hands-on exploration a little longer. We are liaising with our Steam partners to get this resolved quickly, because we know the game build itself works well. For unknown reasons the Steam API is feeding incorrect ownership status to the game, and it's also refusing to download the Tanoa data to you. Know that there is nothing you can do on your side to solve this. We're pursuing a solution as soon as possible. We would also like to remind you of the type of build you're getting by using Dev-Branch. This is not and has never been a final release state. Please take a look at the branch overview of limitations, and consider whether you'd like to jump in or wait for the full release. Of particular note are the expected large daily updates. Due to the EBO (Encrypted PBO) files not being friends with Steam's delta patching, you can easily see hundreds, if not thousands, of MBs getting pushed around. To tide you over, enjoy this sneak preview video by our very own CEO: Marek Španěl.


[Related Twitter content on click]

But let's assume the access issue gets solved soon; then all Apex owners get to explore the entire Tanoa terrain. We're very proud of how it has turned out even given the polish that's yet to be done. It looks great, feels authentic, and provides for a plethora of gameplay possibilities. Please share your feedback with us on the forums, and report glitches on the Feedback Tracker. You'll probably still encounter misplaced objects and similar issues, and your reports will let us solve as many as possible before the full release. Please also allow us to respectfully ask you to mark any media you share with some indication that this is still a work-in-progress version, so that it may be clear for future viewers. Finally, since exploration is such a key part, consider not sharing some of the unique locations too prominently. Let eventual Apex owners be wowed by the locales our environment designers have worked so hard on. But most importantly: have a lot of fun playing around in this new green sandbox!



LOGISTICS


With parts of Apex coming your way on Dev branch, we should explain how Content Licensing will work with regards to our established DLC strategy. Let's get the easy parts out of the way first: all vehicles, weapons and character gear will work as it did in previous DLC. You will be able to try them freely in VR Arsenal / Garage. When you encounter and use them outside of that mode as non-owner, you will meet various limitations and messages. Various decorative props, as well as all new features and technologies are free to every Arma 3 player out there! This is made possible thanks to the continued awesome support of the full player-base.

The difference is the Tanoa terrain itself. Here you really need to own Apex to gain access, whether in the editor or multiplayer or any other avenue. Not only that, but the Tanoa-specific data, such as environmental objects and structures, is only downloaded to Apex owners. This is a necessary departure from the previous approach where everyone shared the exact same data-set. Practically what this means is that you should carefully consider including such assets in your custom content, because non-owners may struggle to play it. The motivations for doing this are the sheer size and scale of Tanoa, and the investment behind it. We did not find a reasonable way of implementing a try-before-you-buy approach here. In addition, the extra ~6 GB of data was too large for us to force onto every Arma 3 player's installation. We think that once you explore Tanoa, you'll clearly see the years of effort our team has put into it, are worth it!

Shortly after the 1.60 update, there was a small hotfix to address several miscellaneous issues discovered after rolling out the build to everyone. Inspect its SPOTREP for all the details

The folks of the Foxhound International community group have published a very handy reference guide for scripters. It's a single sheet PDF with lots of relevant SQF scripting topics like: syntax, operator precedence, control statements, locality, etc. While you are there, soaking up the knowledge, also go over their other development blogs. Thanks for your contributions!

[Related Twitter content on click]



  June 8th, 2016 - 18:21 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00158 Official    

On May 31, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00158 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Update 1.60 Released, Feedback Tracker Online, Respawn Screen
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


Now that the dust is starting to settle from the usual post-release frenzy, we hope you're all enjoying the pretty sights made possible by the Visual Upgrade. We're actively scanning all channels for any priority issues. We'd like to commend the warriors of the mod scene for swiftly releasing compatibility updates to unlock the potential of the new improvements. If you're playing with Exile, Unsung, CUP, ALiVE or many of the other projects out there, you'll find new versions for 1.60 out already.




We're now entering a very exciting time. Our destination is in sight. During June you'll get all the Intel on Apex and its release plans. There will be lots of activity on Dev-Branch while we prepare the game for 1.62 and start staging expansion components. Please be mindful of what Dev-Branch is and is not however. We welcome all your feedback, and really do need it, but if you'd like to experience the final product - consider waiting just a tad longer. The team is entering a stressful and rewarding period. Developers are stepping outside their normal roles and helping each other out where they can. We're working hard to ensure this will be the release Arma 3 and its players deserve.

INTELLIGENCE


We know you love mods, and so do we. Mod DB has kicked off another mod appreciation week for 2016. Share your favorite mods and thank your favorite modders simply by posting about them on your channel of choice. Add a download link and #modlove2016 to spread the love. Let's give those awesome developers the pats on the back they deserve!




One example of comprehensive modding efforts has probably not gone unnoticed: the release of Iron Front Lite Preview on Workshop. This may warrant a little history lesson for new recruits. IF is a massive World War 2 project that was also released as stand-alone game based on Arma 2's technology. The impressive full package has been ported to Arma 3 and is being updated to use its new technologies and features. The Lite version is free for everyone and uses lower-quality textures. There is a tonne more pieces of information in this forums thread, ranging from team credits to future plans.



Another cool aspect is IF's cooperation with popular multiplayer mod(e)s. Play King Of The Hill on the Eastern Front by reading their set up instructions, and stay tuned for Battle Royale to come to this setting in the near future!







Did you already know that we've expanded our available Bohemia Interactive merchandise a while ago? You'll find a range of T-shirts in our store, with more designs planned in the future. Available also are printed maps, Tactical Guides and unit patches. Display them with pride!







OPERATIONS

UX Designer Petra Ivašková has shared with us her first OPerations REPort, on the new Respawn Screen that was released with update 1.60. She describes the major changes to the interface, which is now unified into a single panel, and a new approach to role and load-out selection. The report wraps up by mentioning customization options for modders and scenario designers. They will find in-depth documentation on the Community Wiki. Even though this work has been released to main branch, it can still be discussed on our forums!




LOGISTICS


The full list of changes for Arma 3, Arma 3 Server and Arma 3 Tools can be inspected in the SPOTREP and TECHREP. One of the things many of you immediately spotted were temporary compatibility issues on custom terrains. This was expected and done after a discussion with modders so that they could more effectively leverage the Visual Upgrade for their terrains. It did mean that full backward-compatibility could not be preserved, but a number of popular terrains have already been updated meanwhile. For the technically-minded among us, this means that the CAWorld base configuration class contains the VU parameters so that they can be easily inherited by any terrain. If your sky looks broken, please look for an update or contact the mod's author to request one.

Any issues can now be once again reported to Feedback Tracker. It has been slowly re-launched over the past weeks to make sure things are working well. Former tickets were imported with working re-directs to their new equivalent. If you had an account on the previous version, recover it by requesting a new password. We of course recommend you then configure your own, strong and unique password for access. The Phabricator framework also supports multi-factor authentication, which you should consider for additional security. Let us now get back to using this feedback portal for collaborative development of the Arma 3 platform in a constructive manner. Thank you for your patience while the system was down.




  June 1st, 2016 - 21:35 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00157 Official    

On May 24, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00157 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Development Status, Rendering Optimizations, VON Improvements
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


We would very much like to release the 1.60 update later this week. That would clear the way for the final leg of our journey to Apex. It would allow us to start staging some very interesting components of the package in phases. And of course it would mean everybody gets to enjoy the Visual Upgrade and other improvements. Give the most recent RC branch a go if you can, and alert us to any last-minute issues on the forums. Our developers' work on Apex is meanwhile subject to Strict Data Lock and Localization Lock. For those of you new to our development cycle, this means that all work and changes in data must now be explicitly approved. We do this to consolidate the package, to monitor how all components interact with each other, to stabilize the build, and of course to pester our beloved devs! The second lock means the bulk of texts have been submitted for translation and any further changes need careful coordination. This doesn't mean work has finished, far from it, but we're nearing our destination on the #RoadToApex.

INTELLIGENCE


Reality Gaming Task Force is back with an action-packed montage that was compiled from 600 clips during 6 months of gameplay compressed into 6 minutes of video.



The Spanish FFAA mod is no stranger to our reports either, but we simply cannot ignore this gorgeous cinematic!



Completing our round of REPregulars, Kydoimos of Resist fame has published a handy collection of scenario design props to Steam Workshop.




OPERATIONS


A few optimization-related entries appeared on the Dev-Branch change logs recently. Now that Tanoa is nearing its final form for release, it allows for more effective and targeted optimization work to be done. Doing this while locations aren't yet populated, or the thousands of placed objects don't yet have final Levels Of Detail, could skew results. A set of rendering optimizations by Senior Programmer Lukáš Bábíček has now come online, covering areas like preparing the scene for rendering in smarter ways, aggregating the terrain grid, drawing distant objects that have become reduced to mere pixels, LOD-handling, calculating terrain shadows, etc. Even though these optimizations were benchmarked on Tanoa, they can definitely help on other terrains. But there are risks also. It may be that one type of scene now works better, while another runs worse. Or various kinds of visual glitching may have become more prominent. We'd like to hear your own observations and measurements. Please note that the Dev-Branch build does have some additional performance impacts compared to main branch (diagnostics e.g.). Also try to rule out external factors, such as corrupted data and defragmented drives.

LOGISTICS


There has been an overdue and multi-angle effort to improve our native Voice-Over-Network technology. At this stage the goal of this work is to make vanilla VON properly usable, not to match the excellent work of the various radio communications mods out there. At a low-level we have Programmer Dmitro Panasenko looking at the underlying technology. The game now supports the Opus codec next to Speex (use vonCodec = 1 in the server.cfg). There have also been optimizations and fixes to address the stuttering issues. These are hard to verify due to the high number of players needed in a session, so we eagerly await your experiences. Coordinated by Designer Karel Kališ, there are also UX enhancements in the pipeline. Available now is a separation of VON and (text) chat, with control for servers and scenarios. More improvements, such as muting options, are being looked into, but we're not yet sure when we can deliver those. Read more details in this forums write-up on the current state, and feel free to leave your feedback.




  May 24th, 2016 - 22:05 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00156 Official    

On May 17, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00156 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Release Candidate 1.60, Limping, Line Drawing, Quick Play
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


That was quite the weekend for Arma 3! A huge amount of players tried the game for free over the past few days, beating our concurrent player record. Plenty of recruits have also made their enlisting a more permanent career. We'd like to welcome everyone to the Armaverse. You've picked a perhaps slightly turbulent but very definitely exciting time to jump aboard. A new expansion is on the horizon and we're still supporting the platform with a motivated team. Keep an eye on the reports in our Dev Hub, like the one you're reading now, for our Intel on the #RoadToApex. Our last pitstop is the 1.60 update, for which we've just started the public Release Candidate test. Thank you for contributing to the splendid release prep!




INTELLIGENCE


Last week's dev photo shows on-going focus tests of the Apex co-op campaign. Design Lead Jaroslav Kašný and Senior Designer Thomas Ryan carefully observe several Prague QA testers as they had their first proper play-through of the missions (on the actual photo they were just preparing for the session in Eden Editor). They took notes on issues, progress, flow, comprehension, challenge, balance, fun and more. All feedback was taken back to the Playable Content lair for use during development iterations. The 1-4 player campaign with ties to "The East Wind" will be one of the last components of Apex to be available to you on Dev-Branch, but we think the multiplayer experience will be worth the wait.




French unit Le 126 RIM has shared a nice promotional video in the form of a gameplay cinematic showing a High Value Target extraction.



OPERATIONS


You can now share information on map interfaces a little more conveniently, because we've added a simple ability to draw line map markers (in addition to inserting standard symbol markers). Thanks to Programmer Marcel Marciš and Designer Radko Voda, you can just hold Left Control and draw using the Left Mouse Button. The map interface has also been enhanced by two combo boxes, one to select the marker color and one to change the inserted symbols (the old arrow key selection methods will still work). Any placed markers can be removed by hovering over them and pressing Delete. Visibility of the new line markers is handled the same as for any other type (via active radio channels). We are looking at methods of controlling potential spam. Please let us know your notes on this feature on the forums.




We've long wanted to reflect a character's injured leg restrictions in a more immersive manner. Thanks to an effort coordinated by Animation Encoder Martin Kašpar, and supported by our other animators and MOCAP technicians, characters with leg injuries will now be limping as they try to move. This involved quite a few changes in the animation spider, so if you spot glitches, let us know in this forums thread.




There is one more surprise feature that is to be included in the 1.60 update: Quick Play. Finding a suitable multiplayer server can be quite time-consuming, especially when you're new to Arma 3. There are many things to consider, like custom modes, required mods and servers with special rules. While we've recently added an improved to the Launcher, with powerful filters to find suitable sessions, we also want to cater to those players with little time or awareness of the varied multiplayer scene. The idea behind the new Quick Play display in the game is to get you playing with as little user input as possible. You simply pick a desired game type, maximum ping and searching method - then the game will try to get you into a server automatically. Importantly, this system takes into consideration the mod mix you're using, so it will only connect you to servers that are compatible. To make it very clear: this is not intended to replace the existing browser(s), but to be a companion tool. This also is a first version, and please be aware of limited server availability during RC testing. As with our other improvements, do please visit the forums to leave your notes.




LOGISTICS


If you'd like to participate in 1.60 , please check our forums overview for the highlighted changes. The Steam access code follows its regular format: Arma3Update160RC. Since Feedback Tracker isn't quite ready yet to make its re-appearance, please report issues to the RC discussion thread or Troubleshooting section. We're also monitoring discussions on the Arma subreddit, and several other channels. This might also be a good moment to remind you of the Campaign Unification, which will affect existing saves!




Let's wrap up this week by enjoying a small selection of the great screenshots that have come our way recently. Special kudos go to Lapinaur, who has been relentlessly publishing sweet artwork almost every day. But our thanks go to all war photographers out there - your pics bring little morale boosts to us every time we see them!







  May 18th, 2016 - 06:17 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00155 Official    

On May 8, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00155 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Launcher Upgrade, CfgPatches Revamp, Difficulty Overhaul Phase 3, Work Drive
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


We are presently preparing a snapshot build for the 1.60 update that we'd like to release at the end of this month. We feel that we should point out this is another complex update that affects the game in many areas. Some of those are very prominent, like the Visual Upgrade. Some are more low-level and explained later in this report. As is usual for Arma 3, these changes have been available on Dev-Branch for weeks if not months. We will also soon stage a public Release Candidate for even broader testing. And of course we're doing our own extensive build tests. As we've learned, no matter how hard we all try, there is a risk of errors sneaking in. Please know that we will work hard to mitigate the risks and to address issues should they appear. Ultimately, doing these changes now will pave the #RoadToApex, and hopefully provide a smooth landing on Tanoa.

INTELLIGENCE


There is a new Dev Diary coming your way. Focusing on the Apex expansion, a few key developers on the project will share exclusive information and reveal some of the behind-the-scenes processes. This should finally provide a clearer picture of what Apex is going to bring in terms of its setting and sandbox additions. Most of the interviews have already been recorded, and the editing is now starting. As you can see on the weekly dev photo, our Creative Director Jay Crowe was sharing his thoughts so passionately that he drew the attention of a rather unusual audience.




The new Feedback Tracker sent out its first signs of life this week, although it did so a little too intensely. Some of you received large numbers of e-mail notifications (from a >@bistudio.com address) about seemingly random tickets. This was caused by the first attempt to import the old database into the new system. Our web team is trying another approach now, so FT is probably still offline while you're reading this. Our goal is to have the full collection of tickets available with minimal loss of data, including re-directs via the old URLs. We'll let you know when things are fully online and ready for your reports (not just for Arma 3, but other games as well). Meanwhile please keep using the Troubleshooting section on the forums.

The community ARMAnet podcast is still going strong and we can wholeheartedly recommend listening to its fifth episode. They interviewed several members of the Community Upgrade Project: Alwarren, Slatts and Varanon. In a very insightful and stimulating discussion, they went over the history of their mod, their methodology and the team's organization. The guests and hosts also debated the pros and cons of working on an evolving platform such as Arma 3's. Check out this episode and the older ones via PodBean or iTunes!




Ahead of their 3.0b release, the Unsung Vietnam Mod have uploaded a lovely atmospheric promo trailer by IN8II. We're keen to see what they'll achieve with the Visual Upgrade. It's looking very promising!



OPERATIONS


One of the Launcher team champions, Jiří Polášek, has reported on a significant upgrade that has been staged to Dev-Branch recently. Its 1.5 version brings great new improvements to the Server Browser, such as more robust handling of various types of required (server) mods and DLC detection. It even sports partial support for non-Workshop mods. A list of the specific changes is available here. There is one particular thing to highlight, since it will appease many of you. Until now, due to technical limitations in how Steam handles Workshop content, you'd often have duplicates of mods on your harddrives. The Launcher team has now found a way to utilize mods directly from the Workshop cache. That means the Launcher will also delete the copies it had created in the Arma 3 install folder (those are no longer needed). Jiří adds a warning for advanced users who tried to work around the issue themselves by deleting or otherwise manipulating the cache: "If you had developed the habit of deleting the Workshop cache files, please stop doing so. After this update, you would be effectively be removing the actual mod files. Only the first time Launcher 1.5 is started, it will attempt to restore the Workshop cache with files from the Arma 3 folder. Afterwards, this fix will not be possible without a re-download (verifying integrity of game cache)."




In preparation of new addon identification features (mainly for Eden Editor - we'll have more details for you soon), we are revamping all CfgPatches classes; the part of the game's config which is responsible for the load order of configuration files. We are unifying the way these classes are named, which results in some new classes and some obsolete ones. The obsolete classes will still be available in-game for backwards compatibility, meaning that there shouldn't be any issues in the long term. However, once these changes appear on Dev-Branch, scenarios created in that version of the game might not be compatible with the main version of the game until the next main branch update (1.60).

Having previously reported on phases 1 and 2 of the Difficulty Overhaul, we can now say that the 3rd and final phase is live on Dev-Branch. A simple but useful addition is a set of text descriptions and image previews of the various options. This should finally do away with the sometimes vague labels of the past, and make it clear what you're changing.




Cooperating with the Designer departments, Junior Programmer Rastislav Tisovčík has also implemented a new forcedDifficulty server.cfg parameter. It allows server administrators to force a particular difficulty preset for all scenarios played on a server. To better communicate this to players, a few User Interface tweaks were made as well. You'll find the details in the relevant forums thread.

LOGISTICS


Tools Commissar Julien Vida shares with us details on an update to Work Drive - a tool in our suite that handles the working drive (P) and its content. Its new iteration lets modders extract PBO data in a simple and optimized way. Head on over to our forums for a full analysis by Julien himself. We'd like to remind everyone that you should always pay careful attention to any license covering the data you're extracting. Respect each other's hard work and let us all enjoy a productive, collaborative and rewarding User Generated Content scene!




  May 11th, 2016 - 16:58 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00154 Official    

On May 3, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00154 on the official Arma3 site.

FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Tanoa Sector Tests, Community Guides, 1.58 Re-Released
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


Seeing how we're very busy to deliver Arma 3 Apex, there isn't a lot to report on this week. You'll be happy to know that this effort includes our Marketing Communications people working on various avenues to shed more light on the expansion. Over the next two months, we'll finally be showing more about the assets, features and the Tanoa crown jewel. At the moment we don't yet have a concrete timeline for staging the components to Dev-Branch (besides what was already released on the #RoadToApex of course!). Our usual approach is to stage Sandbox assets (vehicles, weapons, characters, props, Tanoa) in several phases first and Playable Content (co-op campaign) last. Features sneak in continuously throughout, as they have for the past while. Once we decide on the specifics, we'll be letting you know via our usual channels.

INTELLIGENCE


In cooperation with Andrew "Dslyecxi" Gluck , we've published another entry in the Community Guide video series. The "Reconnaissance" episode deals with methods for conducting recon and why you would benefit from doing it in the first place. Andrew describes it as "looking for the enemy in a low-profile manner", which can be useful regardless of your play style or favorite mode. It will allow you to get an understanding of the tactical situation before you execute a plan of action. Tools of the trade include: binoculars, magnified scopes, remote cameras, UAVs, UGVs, recon helicopters and operators on the ground. A key take-away: always preserve the element of surprise!



If you haven't seen the rest of the Community Guides, view them all in this playlist. You can also access them from within the game, in the LEARN sub-menu. Because the game has evolved a lot since its initial release, we've added a few disclaimers to make it clear using which version each guide was recorded. Some of the Intel presented may be outdated, but the overal knowledge contained within the series is definitely still worth your time.

OPERATIONS


The splendid environment team, led by Martin Pezlar, still has a lot of work ahead of itself, cutting their way through the 'green hell' of Tanoa. As a sign of good progress, they have recently requested thorough sector testing from our hard-working Quality Assurance testers. The terrain is divided into 8 big sectors, which consist of a total of 32 sub-areas. Many of those are now undergoing rigorous and detailed testing by the ladies and gentlemen in the QA teams, for which we thank them! They are focusing on a broad range of issues so that we can fix them ahead of release. To give you an impression of what they're scanning for: misplaced objects, weeds growing where they shouldn't, missing textures, inconsistent visual appearance, satellite map blending errors, collision problems, AI navigation glitches, road and path network disconnections, terrain mesh irregularities, 2D map topography mistakes, and more. As further sectors are made ready by Martin's team, they too are submitted for testing. At the same time, Tanoa is being set up for its lighting configuration. Situated in a different part of the world, there are noticeable differences compared to Altis and Stratis. Slowly but surely, and with excellent cooperation with our artists and other departments, the archipelago is made ready for your eager exploration.

LOGISTICS


Hotfixes for update 1.58 and the Arma 3 Tools were published to the respective main branches last Thursday. For the game this should have solved the performance issues connected to the system malloc, plus some crashes and a problem related to difficulty settings on Dedicated Servers. Further difficulty issues are under investigation, so that we know exactly whether some behavior may have changed unintentionally for example. We are also still searching for the cause of various server crashes reported by admins.




  May 3rd, 2016 - 18:15 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00153 Official    

On April 26, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00153 on the official Arma3 site.


FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Official Mod, Milsim Stream VoD, Top 10 Update 1.58, Price Reductions, Score Screen
PRECEDENCE: Flash

SITUATION


We've moved a step forward on the #RoadToApex, admittedly with a few stumbles, now that update 1.58 has hit main branch . There were several great improvements, which we're confident have bolstered the game's usability. Later in this report we will also share Intel on how we're dealing with some of the issues that were shared with us. Apex is looming on the horizon, so besides dealing with update glitches, we're already in full motion to compile the 1.60 build ( Visual Upgrade and more). That does mean there are many more complex changes coming up, which we all know don't always work flawlessly in the broader player-base. But we still feel that doing this in chunks, rather than all at once, makes it more manageable for us, modders and players alike. Plus it means you don't have to wait for everything we're working on. Bear with us, it will be worth it!

INTELLIGENCE


You can now watch the full-length recording of the #milsim live stream, organized by Community Developer Greg Becksted and QA Assistant Adam Hurta with the 21st Ranger Regiment. It was impressive to see the unit react to unexpected events while observing strict discipline. Greg reflected on the fun event by stating: "We've completed our first ever #milsim live stream, visiting the 21st Ranger Regiment on one of their regular co-op milsim missions. With 70+ players active, multiple platoons and an active campaign lasting weeks, what does it take to organize, run and participate in a milsim group like this? We took a close look at the 21st Ranger Regiment's operations, touched on what mods they use and discussed the details of what is involved in running one of their typical missions. We were also joined by FRIZNIT, one of the developers of the ALiVE mod. He expanded on the mod's features and provided some of its history and their plans moving forward. Many thanks to Vegas, the leader of the 21st and everyone in the 21st Ranger Regiment for letting us tag along on one of their operations and letting us explore how they use Arma 3 for their milsim experience."



Perhaps it has snuck past you unnoticed, but we've announced the first permanent price drop for Arma 3 since its release in September 2013. Both the base game and all released DLC have been reduced in price. For newcomers, the Apex Edition definitely still is the best option. It will give you the game, digital extras, DLC and the upcoming Apex expansion. Take a look at the updated purchasing overview.

OPERATIONS


Last week we did something a little unexpected. We published an 'official' mod to Steam Workshop as a celebration of Arma's custom content scene. One of our goals was to show how easy it can be to discover, install and maintain such content via the official Launcher. Read the whole story in Creative Director Jay Crowe's most recent OPREP on the matter.




What kind of mod is it actually? We present to you the 'ADR-97 Weapon Pack', which consists of several variants of this unique SMG. Created by the multi-talented Senior Programmer BXBX in his spare time, you can now play around with this high rate-of-fire weapon for free. We should also acknowledge splendid support by Project Lead Petr Kolář and Senior Animator Paweł Smolewski for their off-duty help with encoding and animations respectively. To clarify: even though this firearm was crafted by our devs, we do really consider this a mod, not a vanilla Sandbox asset. See the weapon in action in our introductory video, and then jump into the game to squeeze off a few rounds yourself.



Senior (UI) Designer Vladimír Hynek has teamed up with Senior Programmer Krzysztof Bielawski to convert the previously hard-coded score / stats screen (seen in multiplayer by pressing P by default) to one that is configured like most other displays. This will not only let us tweak and improve the screen, but also allow modders to make relevant changes more easily.




LOGISTICS


A full change log of the 1.58 release is available in its SPOTREP. Even after four weeks of public RC testing , various issues did pop up. Let's go over the major ones, for which we are considering a small hotfix in the near future.
  • A group of users report severe performance degradation after some playtime. This appears to be an issue when using the system memory allocator. Most of these users confirm that the issue is solved by switching to another allocator (e.g. TBB4). Regardless, we believe we have a fix, and we're testing it in-house.

  • The Difficulty Overhaul mostly just caused confusion, which was a matter of re-configuration for server administrators. Tips and work-arounds are being discussed in this thread on the Arma subreddit. Actual bugs in the implementation are not yet confirmed, but are being investigated.

  • BattlEye started kicking clients who took too long to download custom scenarios. This was temporarily mitigated by setting a longer timeout, but a proper fix is being sought. The silver lining is that these changes to the BE implementation lay the groundwork for support in the Linux and Mac ports.

  • We're also processing (modded server) crash reports.


The Tools and Samples also have their change log, and a very nice overview of the changes written by R&D Lead Julien Vida. Here there was an issue that caused faulty binarization of terrains, which has swiftly been fixed on the relevant Dev-Branch.

But let us not forget the cool stuff these updates bring to the platform. We've written up another Top 10 article to go over the 1.58 highlights, such as the Tasks Overhaul and the weapon switching package.







That's it for this week. Now that the weather gods over our various studios have decided it isn't quite spring yet, we join PhiGohlYT in wishing for the summer season!




  April 27th, 2016 - 07:11 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

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