FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: RC Official Servers, Top 10 Eden Editor, Report In! Project PRECEDENCE: Flash
We've been getting a lot of good feedback and issue reports from the Eden Update (1.56) Release Candidate branch. A number of fixes were deployed and some are close to being committed. This week we'll continue testing and you can still help out. There are a number of official servers online that run the build. Find them by going to the new Launcher Server Browser and filtering for official servers. You can also favorite them for quick access later. These servers may be offline for updates occasionally, but we'll try to keep them up to provide a place to play-test. Thankfully, there are also a number of unofficial servers being hosted by community admins and mod(e) teams. Did you also know that you can use our Game Updater tool to install multiple branches at the same time? Keep your reports to Feedback Tracker coming. We're as excited as you to get the update to everyone's PC once it feels solid!
The best way to experience why the new Eden Editor is such a leap forward for scenario design and sandbox fun is to start digging into it yourself. However, to give you a quick overview, head over to our blog on the top 10 most exciting features. One of the items on the list is moddability, which is evident from certain modders having begun integration of their projects already! Documentation on this topic and the whole editor is growing on the Community Wiki. We also happened upon a nice unofficial tutorial video of the editor's basics courtesy of Cydrann.
Wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year, we're running sales of our games both on the Bohemia Interactive Store and Steam. This could be another great opportunity to recruit your friends just in time for Eden Update. They may want to consider the Apex Edition as the best and most complete option to get into combat.
One of those things is the Tanoa terrain. On this week's dev photo you can see members of the tireless Environment department discussing one of the key locations: the Blue Pearl Industrial Port. The team has been playing quite a number of multiplayer sessions on Tanoa recently, and it's very cool to see more and more final art assets helping to bring the fresh atmosphere to reality. Combat in this green hell is tense and already feels very different to Altis and Stratis. We'll have more to share later in the year.
Our Playable Content ranks were reinforced not long ago by Designer Jan Čepera. You may know his name as a member of the team behind Deliverance, bronze winner in the Singleplayer category of Make Arma Not War. In order to get embedded with our team, one of his first goals was to evaluate the official The East Wind campaign. He especially looked at how the many recent sandbox changes affected the campaign and where we might do small tweaks. Some of this gameplay balancing and extra context-sensitive hints will be part of Eden Update. With other major improvements, such as the combat sound effects, we can definitely recommend replaying the campaign. And give the Deliverance campaign a go as well!
Speaking of The East Wind, do watch the unofficial "Opération Bellérophon" prologue machinima by the GSRI unit. It ties in with events in the Armaverse and is a great start to what will hopefully be an on-going series.
The battle against hacks and cheats in multiplayer continues with another anti-cheat update via BattlEye. Please visit their Frequently Asked Questions page if you encounter issues connected directly to this service. By reacting to new threats quickly, we hope to keep the game more playable for everyone.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Eden Release Candidate, Ongoing Investigations, Simple Objects PRECEDENCE: Flash
Release Candidate testing for the 1.56 Eden Update has now kicked off in earnest. If you'd like to participate, the Steam branch access code is: Arma3Update156RC. The actual release date will be determined based on test results, but it should be somewhere in the middle of this month. Please visit the Dev Hub overview page with details and some cautions. One particular warning this time around is one-way compatibility of campaign save games. You will not be able to load 1.56 saves in the older 1.54 version due to fixes to inventory serialization. Campaign saves do carry over from 1.54 to the newer 1.56 (overall progress, not mid-scenario). Please keep this in mind and consider backing up your saves before switching branches. Alternatively you could use a new user profile to carry out RC tests. Thank you all in advance for helping us move towards a solid release!
The Arma 3 subreddit has welcomed a new mascot, designed by Bohemia Interactive Artist Ziying Shao. We'd like to also recognize the awesome volunteer work done by the subreddit command staff. They are doing a great job moderating, informing and styling this community. Snoo salutes you!
Because the Internet was in need of more puppies, the latest dev photo features Flyn, the new Bravo team guard dog. Background details include Senior Designer Vladimír Hynek, who has been working on preparing the new fonts for Eden Update. An extra benefit of this work is that the game will also support more Asian language characters. Even though no official Chinese translation exists, the game will be able to display the most relevant text characters, as requested.
You may also like the short "ARMA Noir" machinima made by Ed Vyse. Its style and choice of music are different to what we're used to seeing for Arma videos - keep it going!
We've been asked about the status of various on-going issue hunts. First of all, there are undefined circumstances under which uniforms disappear in multiplayer. So far a specific and clean repro method is missing and that makes it harder to track the source problem. If you have an isolated repro, please do share it in the relevant ticket. This appears to mostly happen in modes which use a lot of inventory scripting. One angle of attack for us is to work on low-level multiplayer inventory optimizations. These should result in a set of script commands that can fetch and apply load-outs in a much more network-friendly manner, and therefore help to avoid many kinds of inventory glitches. Parts of this code are already in use in Eden Editor's Arsenal integration, but it's not quite ready yet for more widespread usage. We'll be trialing this ourselves in the Revive system.
The Altis Life server crashes are even harder to solve. It's not possible for us to host this kind of server in the full debugging environment. The required mods are too complex and unfortunately suffer from data errors in many places, resulting in vast amounts of log warnings that complicate finding any pertinent information. Note that these log errors don't even necessarily show during normal gameplay, but they spam the debuggers. We're also not ruling out there is indeed an issue in the engine that might be causing these crashes, but all we've been able to do is add more and more diagnostics to the special profiling builds, and ask administrators to test these. One such build was published today, so we've not given up.
Meanwhile, Lead Programmer Vojtěch Hladík has begun work on a suite of script commands that allow the creation of simple objects (decorative). This type of object is not simulated like a full object (or vehicle) and therefore costs fewer computing resources. They also do not need to be synchronized over the network as frequently. That does mean they miss a lot of functionality, like interaction and destruction. The main goal for these simple objects is to build cool object compositions in critical scenario / mode areas. It's also being considered how to integrate creation of these objects into Eden Editor post-release.
We're closing this week's report with a follow-up to the new animations mentioned Martin Kašpar has published a quick video to show the difference more clearly, and he's posted a script snippet to show how you can trigger the old variants in specific custom cutscenes. For reference: the new animation classes are "AmovPercMwlkSlowWrflDf_ver2" (walk) and "AmovPercMtacSlowWrflDf_ver2" (tactical), versus the old "AmovPercMwlkSlowWrflDf" (walk) and "AmovPercMtacSlowWrflDf" (tactical).
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Eden Update Consolidation, Audio Fidelity, Weapon Switching PRECEDENCE: Flash
We now have a pretty good picture of the consolidated Eden Update package. It is shaping up to be an awesome free update to Arma 3, made possible by your support for the game. We have created our data snapshot and applied the usual development locks, so that we can begin to focus on testing and tweaking the update as a whole. This also means that we'll open the Steam Release Candidate testing branch this or next week.
We'll do our best to stress test the update ourselves and to ensure that no new issues are introduced. We do however really need your help, especially when it comes to custom mods and other variables we can't directly control. Please focus on truly new issues and report them to Feedback Tracker with a clear indication that they were tested in the RC build. If an issue looks like it may be in custom content, kindly forward the details to the authors of that content as well. There are a number of complex platform changes that may affect compatibility even though we've striven to guard back-compat throughout. The powerful new Eden Editor affects code in the engine that is shared by both editors, the low-level audio engine was overhauled, many scripted functions were optimized and replaced by script command calls, etc. All of these will bring the platform forward in huge ways, but there is an element of risk. Together we can minimize problems, and should they occur, we'll work hard to solve them as quickly as possible. Ultimately the game will be much better for it!
Audio Designer Kryštof Havel has taken on new duties, as witnessed on a recent dev photo. He can be seen applying a coat of anti-gloss make-up to Programmer Filip Sádovský, one of the stars of an upcoming new dev diary about the Eden Editor.
Take a look at how pretty Clocktacular makes our game and your mods look in his gallery of screenshots covering a year of operations! Another gallery worth sharing was uploaded by Btodan. Looking great folks, keep them coming!
The Arma 3 soundscape is in for a real treat in Eden Update. Parts of the audio engine foundation work was included with the previous update, but in 1.56 we're going to really make use of the new possibilities. Audio Lead Jan Dušek has more:
"As part of our effort to refactor the audio engine and our plan to unify sound configuration, we are introducing a new sound object architecture. This new configuration replaces the old inconsistent approach, which was the result of many years of adding specific features (like sample arrays) to specific sound categories. Now, you will be able to use all low-level sound features everywhere the new configuration is applied. Currently, this new system is only used for shooting and explosions but, in future, it will cover most significant sound categories.
So, on Dev-Branch you can already hear two of the most significant features: 'distant samples' and the 'multi-channel panner' (a smoother transition between ambient and positional sound, which is used mainly for reflection tails). The actual state is a work in progress, and we're still processing feedback and resolving issues / making optimizations. Apart from this, it's worth mentioning that there is also a new class CfgSoundGlobals, which contains default / global sound settings. More detailed information is coming soon!"
In the past, we've hinted at an overhaul of our approach to weapon switching, which we'd targeted for Eden Update. To make good on that, version 1.56 will introduce new control options to quickly switch weapon types in vehicles, like it is for infantry. For now, you will need to bind these manually and experiment with convenient buttons, but later we plan on integrating these actions into our presets, once potential conflicts have been resolved.
If you'd like to play around with this on Dev-Branch, go to the Configure > Controls > Weapons tab and map the switching controls you want. As a character, you can switch to your primary weapon, secondary weapon or sidearm via dedicated controls. Pressing the same control again will start cycling firing modes for that weapon, if more are available. In vehicles, we have divided the weapons over four abstract groups. Going from group 1 to 4, these typically are: cannons or machine guns, machine guns or rockets, guided missiles, bombs or laser designators - dependent on the vehicle (there is config control over this categorization). We look forward to the feedback on this new technology, and can't wait to roll it out fully on the road to Apex.
Programmer Krzysztof Bielawski has made several scenario designers unreasonably happy with increased control over AI entities. Using script commands disableAI and enableAI, you can now toggle two additional sections: "AUTOCOMBAT" and "COVER". The former controls the autonomous switching to combat behavior when the entity detects danger. Having this disabled lets you be the one who commands their behavior, but that also means you become responsible for those poor souls. The second section toggles the AI's usage of cover positions around them in the environment. Let us know how you feel about these options in this forums thread.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Scanning the Horizon, Apex Pre-Orders, Visual Update Status PRECEDENCE: Flash
For this week's overview of the situation, we'll join Creative Brit Jay Crowe for his annual scanning of the horizon (~ > 3 > 7). In both text and video form, he has reflected on 10 outstanding bits of progress and looked ahead to just 10 of the splendid things to look forward to in 2016. If you pay close attention, you'll see glimpses of work-in-progress concepts for the new NATO VTOL aircraft and both NATO's and CSAT's Light Strike Vehicles. The latter are going to be a blast to drive across Tanoa, with mounted weapon variants and lots of Firing From Vehicles possibilities. We've also not yet confirmed all vehicles, let alone weapons, for Apex. The same is true for features. We do have more things in the pipeline, but will confirm and share those once we're confident we can finish them properly. Keep your attention locked to the Dev Hub over the next few months!
We have opened pre-orders for the Apex expansion via our own store with a 20% discount. Let's clear up a few confusions:
We effectively sell Steam versions, and Arma 3 remains exclusively distributed via Steam. That means you can order it from us even if you've purchased directly from Steam before.
If you own the limited Supporter Edition (no longer available), you already own Apex (because it's not a stand-alone expansion). Thank you for having faith in us from the start and being a long-term contributor to the game's continued development!
If you own the physical Special Edition, you already own Apex (because you're special!).
The Extended Edition has been retired in our store and replaced by the new Apex Edition for the same price. This is the best deal for new players, containing Arma 3, Digital Deluxe content, the DLC Bundle (Karts / Helicopters / Marksmen) and Apex itself.
Visit this page for another overview of all editions.
If you do already own Apex, you'll be among the first to experience its content ahead of release. We don't yet have precise dates, but we do intend to stage Apex in chunks on Content Licensing, so you can even try those for free with some limitations. Tanoa itself however, will require ownership to visit.
Also new in our store is new (Arma 3) merchandise, which many of you have requested for some time. Check out our regular T-shirts as well as special Tanoa designs! We even plan to offer new designs on a monthly basis, so keep checking back.
Last week's random dev photo is a snapshot of Team Mike's Playable Content pin board. On it we see some important project mantras, inspiring quotes and cartoons, the awesome custom Resist calendar, "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" IT instructions, balanced meal options and finally the corks that were popped to celebrate various major releases.
In our video update we also mention that the Visual Update, previously planned for Eden Update, has now slipped to Apex. Only the parallax ground surfaces will go out with 1.56, but the rest of the changes still need more work to leave a good first impression. What makes up the rest of this package? There is the overhauled lighting configuration itself, for all terrains, times of day and weather (contrast, saturation, etc.). Then there is multi-component fog simulation, a better shore shader and the optional Screen Space Reflections (these can be too demanding for some systems). It's possible you'll see them appear on Dev-Branch.
Arma 3 launched with a very distinctive animation for walking and for moving in tactical pace with your weapon lowered. In some cases it looked good, but especially when seeing groups on patrol, it came across a bit too 'cool' and unnatural. We've added a new version in the game on Dev-Branch, which has characters holding their weapon with both hands. The original animation set remains available in the game and is accessible using the original class names. It is however not triggered in the default movement set.
In follow-up to last week's information about analytics, we've posted a Community Wiki article with some extra information. Yes, server administrators can indeed elect to opt out. We did already see some early data on Dev-Branch users. To be clear, those numbers are really only from that branch in recent days and not the much larger general player population. We hope to share more interesting information later.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Analytics, Dev-Branch Activity, Geometric Occluders, Parallax Improvements, Font Changes PRECEDENCE: Flash
As we eluded to last week, Dev-Branch is seeing interesting changes on an almost daily basis now. Creative Director Jay Crowe has been offering some highlights from the forums change logs via Twitter #DevBranchThisWeek, and we will elaborate on several more in this report. All components of the Eden Update are coming together and soon the whole package will be available for testing. Your feedback on this daily experimental Steam branch is very useful to the game's development. We would however like to remind you that this version of the game is not intended for regular play. If you're brave enough to storm the front lines of development, please let us know about specific issues on the Feedback Tracker or general thoughts via the forums.
In the most recent weekly dev (live) photo, some of the Mike team were a little too excited to bombard yours truly with snowballs. They claim to have been defending Edita while she's hibernating, but we all know better!
Associate Producer and Localization Champion Vojtěch Schubert reminds us that Bohemia Interactive is always on the look-out for talented new team members for its various projects and locations. Keep checking our careers page for positions that might be up your alley. Perhaps we'll see you at our next elite snowball fight!
It's time for some Spanish REPception! The team behind the FFAA mod have posted a SITuation REPort of their own and kindly translated it on our forums. The biggest thing they have in development is a stand-alone terrain called Lythium. It will let players set their scenarios in tribal areas of Afghanistan and is crossed by a large valley that stretches across the map. We wish the team well as they work on finishing this promising project.
We were also impressed by a new look at the grim atmosphere created in 2017 mod's terrain: Bamburgh. There's a lot of attention to detail, with unique structures and objects used to build many unique locations. We look forward to exploring this unsettling world once it gets released!
OK, so let's get to the meat of this report and take a closer look at the platform updates coming your way. Project Lead Petr Kolář kicks off with a description of several technical improvements:
"There are plenty of new features heading onto Dev-Branch just as you read these lines. Our programmers have decided to make the lives of content creators easier, mainly for those creating new models. They will be able to use a technology that generates shadows of objects on-the-fly based on the shape of a resolution LOD. Two occlusion-related features are joining the party too, one of them being a new ambient occlusion technology HBAO+ (available in the Video Options > AA & PP). The other allows creators to place shapes and faces that prevent drawing of anything behind the so-called Geometric Occluders (developed for our company's new Enfusion engine, parts of which can still benefit Arma 3). This has not been fully implemented in our data yet, but it should provide a gain of performance mainly in urban areas. Existing content will continue to work, but using the new tech will require models to be updated to benefit from it.
All these new features still need to be properly documented, and that brings us to the most important change: new parallax technology for ground surfaces. It's been already documented on the Community Wiki, because it changes the way parallax behaves even for custom-made terrains! The effect will likely work, but its depth may be more than you'd like. See the documentation for a simple guide on how to correct this. The major benefit of this change is to remove the ugly artifacts when moving close to the ground. We hope you are going to like these post-holiday gifts and we're looking for your feedback on them."
Next up is a change that is rather in your face. We're going to change the fonts for the game, Launcher and later also other places such as this very website. The goal is to make text look crisper and achieve greater legibility. As we're sure you know, some characters are currently hard to distinguish from each other for example. Besides the look and feel of the font, we've also improved memory consumption by utilizing texture sharing. This will mostly help with various Asian languages that have massive character sets. In turn, this has led to significant improvements to the FontToTGA tool.
Another significant new technology is not something you'll actually see or notice while playing. BI's Chief Technology Officer Petr Benýšek introduces us to more advanced analytics in Arma 3 (and our other games):
"Since the release of Arma 3, we've had a general overview of how the game is being played, what game mod(e)s are most popular and what people like or dislike. But this information was coming mostly from the vocal part of our community. The feedback on the forums and other channels is great and will still be used as until now. Nevertheless, it doesn't give us completely objective and unbiased information and it doesn't include feedback from a considerable part of our players. A popular and nowadays broadly used way of gathering data about player behavior is through game analytics. This allows us to know better our players (without actually disturbing them while playing), and thanks to that, to build a better gaming experience. Along with the update 1.56, we are introducing game analytics into Arma 3. Its purpose is to collect basic information about the game, such as game settings, enabled mods, favorite scenarios and weapons, player deaths or actual performance, and report them to our analytics server. If you don't want to be part of that, you will have an option to disable it in the Launcher options. Fear not however, the amount of data is small and should not affect your gameplay experience in any way. It's also all anonymous and the data will be used solely for understanding how Arma 3 is being played. The more data we will gather, the more precisely we will know what you like in the game and how you play it - which in turn will guide us to set our priorities and make the game better for you."
We'd like to add that we see this as an additional tool for our decision-making process, but we do not intent in any way to let analytics data be our sole or primary input. We'll continue to engage with players via all channels and your feedback will remain a hugely important part of our development methods. Analytics will help us with decisions such as the removal of redundant video options, proving that such options are indeed no longer in use. Or we can use them to learn what parameters to expose more clearly in our Launcher. They may also be used to measure how two approaches to a solution on Dev-Branch work in the actual game for example.
It's been a long time coming, but we've finally found a moment to restore amphibious simulation to tracked vehicles (for the tankx PhysX-based simulation class if you'd like to get technical). Programmer Tomáš Nezval has now added the engine-side implementation, but it will require updated vehicle configurations to make use of this. Our vanilla tracked vehicles have not needed an amphibious capability thus far, but there are several big mods who will benefit from this functionality being back in the game.
Another cool addition for vehicles is the ability to set up wrecks to use the dynamically textured livery of the vehicle. Until now, there would be a generic wreck for every variant of a vehicle. Visit the Community Wiki for details on how to encode your vehicle to use this feature created by Senior Programmer BXBX. Be mindful of performance though; this type of proxy is more taxing on the engine than a simple one.
Finally, yesterday we published a small anti-cheat update by our partners at BattlEye to the main branch of the game.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Happy 2016, Mod Showcases, Server Browsing PRECEDENCE: Flash
Welcome to another great year for Arma 3! In 2016 we'll be releasing the free Eden Update and the Apex expansion, both of which contain their obvious core components as well as a plethora of other additions and improvements. During the first quarter you'll see us focusing on Eden, with plenty of activity on Dev-Branch leading up to the update itself. The second quarter will finally deliver more details on the contents of the expansion. It's also when our window for letting you board your flights to Tanoa opens.
A warm welcome as well to the many new recruits who joined the Arma 3 ranks during the winter sales. You've picked an excellent moment to jump in. Not only do we remain committed to improving the game and its platform, so does the ever-growing community of content creators. Several massive mods were released in 2015, with many more on the way. We're also curious about the smaller, experimental and slightly crazy mods that will showcase the capabilities of our engine. And let's not forget the boost in custom scenarios after Eden Editor becomes available to everyone.
Sometimes we'll see videos come along that capture the essence of Arma 3's combined arms warfare very well. DuckRustler of the Rifling Matters unit has made one such cool montage of their varied multiplayer ops last year. Great job!
It's almost impossible to comprehend the huge amount of content added to the game via the Community Upgrade Project. This inspiring collaboration of community modders is focused on bringing our Arma 2 assets to Arma 3 with many lovely upgrades. They have recently released the next major component of this effort: all legacy Terrains. From Chernarus to Takistan and Shapur to Proving Grounds, this pack expands the sandbox in mind-boggling dimensions. The team has build upon the groundwork done in the A3MP and AiA terrain packs, so kudos to their authors as well. Just take a look at this short video to get an impression of the variety in biotopes you are able to conveniently play in. CUP is also very well set up for our Launcher's mod dependencies, so both installing and updating are super smooth.
We can also recommend you check out the updated and consolidated release of Resist. This winning Make Arma Not War entry is a perfect fit with the vanilla campaign (author Kydoimos recommends you temporarily disable other mods to experience the scenarios as intended). You play Cpl. Coleridge in parallel to the events of "Survive". We're still amazed to see the splendid presentation, custom voice-acting, original sound track and many awesome details such as new objects and character emblems. The missions can also be quite challenging, so bring your A-game to the Stratis front lines!
Browsing multiplayer servers is long due an enhancement. That's why we've investigated the best way to improve this functionality for Arma 3. The first results can be seen on Dev-Branch as of late last year. We're adding a better Server Browser to the Launcher. It has more powerful filtering options and will be able to handle mod dependencies better. Read a more detailed report in a recent OPREP by Senior Designer Bořivoj Hlava. If you've already given the browser a try yourself, pop by the forums to share your feedback!
A second new OPREP was posted by Community Developer Greg Becksted soon thereafter; this one a retrospective on the End Game Tournament. Greg explains what our motivations and goals for this first official tournament were, and discusses the lessons we've learned for the future. We have definitely enjoyed the experience a lot and feel like it has brought several player communities closer together. Let us know what you'd like to see next. Perhaps you can be the winner of a special award in 2016!
Encoding Lead Martin Gregor would like to let you know that there are going to be some changes to how assets are categorized in our scenario editor(s). To facilitate a more useful organisation in the many assets for Eden Editor , new properties and categories will be created and assets are to be moved between them. This may also affect the current 2D editor in a few cases, since these changes happen on an object-level (don't worry - there will not be drastic class name alterations for example - we'll document the configuration options soon). In addition, more objects will become available (e.g. military cargo buildings, other structures and ruins) to place in your scenarios and to create nice compositions.
A second 1.54 hotfix was released just before the winter break. It addressed various (mod) compatibility issues, fixed game instabilities and made small tweaks to weapon sway. There are however still several things we're working on solving as soon as possible:
We've temporarily disabled white-listing functionality in the remote execution technology. Once the tech was broadly enabled for standard scripted functions like BIS_fnc_MP, a lot of back-compat issues arose in custom scenarios. Or rather: the tech worked, but it asked for too many manual changes from server admins / scenario designers to set up their white-listing properly. Not doing so would cause parts of the tech to be disabled, and the scenarios to be crippled. It's important to note that you can still disable the technology, but you cannot allow it selectively at the moment. Operation mode 1 is currently doing the same as 2, whereas 0 still disables it. We are looking at an alternative solution that achieves the security and functionality with greater back-compat.
In order to isolate Altis Life server crashes, our programmers have continued to roll out special profiling executables leading up to Xmas. This has now finally pointed us in the direction of a source problem. Something is going wrong in specific character animations, and we're honing in on a solution.
Some players are seeing performance issues connected to audio, especially during intense fire fights. A fix for this is being tested on Dev Branch, but it's being reported that you can use this work-around: try configuring your Windows sound Default Format to 16 bit, 44100 Hz.
Our partners atVirtual Programming have been working hard on updating the client port betas to 1.54. We're testing these updates in-house right now. There are a few issues that need to be solved before we can release them to you as well. Meanwhile we're discussing with VP and BattlEye whether it might be possible to support the anti-cheat service on the port platforms in the future. We'll keep you updated!
Welcome to a special OPREP on the Arma 3 End Game Tournament. Here we'd like to briefly discuss the higher level goals of the End Game Tournament, provide a short summary of how it progressed, and share some of the key lessons learned.
Before we dig in, for those who missed it, the Arma 3 End Game Tournament was a head to head single elimination tournament - featuring 8 teams made up by community groups, developers, and other special guests. The tournament unfolded over the month of November, leading up to the Finals on Saturday December 5th. All matches were live streamed on the official Arma 3 Twitch channel.
To retro-actively catch the action yourself, head on over to the official Arma 3 Twitch channel to re-watch any of the previous live streamed match ups in their entirety here. Or check out the full and some edited down shorter highlight versions on MicOne's YouTube Channel here.
Go there to get a look at the full OPREP - End Game Tournament and/or watch the final match to the Arma 3 YouTube Channel.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Winter Break, Scripted Function Optimizations, Animal Enhancements, Server Stability PRECEDENCE: Flash
As the end of the year draws near, Bohemia Interactive is preparing for its winter hibernation. We will pause our regular operations from December 21 until January 4. This means there will not be daily Dev-Branch updates or further Dev Hub reports during that time. We will however continue to work on addressing the remaining version 1.54 issues as best we can before the holidays (more on that later in this report). It goes without saying that our intention is for the game to work well for everyone, so this has our full attention.
2016 is going to be a great year for Arma 3. The Eden Update and Apex will expand the sandbox in interesting ways and give you new tools to play with. We wish everyone the happiest of holidays and a fantastic new year!
If you're looking for a place to try End Game multiplayer, join one of our official servers. This small group of servers has been up since Zeus was launched, but now offers both that mode and the three instances of End Game: Zaros, Feres and Kavala.
Dslyecxi of community group ShackTac has posted his glorious 2015 year in review video. Enjoy close to 30 minutes of varied Arma 3 (and some Arma 2) gameplay highlights from this well-known unit, also celebrating their 10-year anniversary. From infantry assaults to helicopter Close Air Support, this montage does a great job of showing the serious fun that can be had in the authentic and open military sandbox.
There was a major release in the modding scene this week: the Unsung Vietnam Mod (3.0 Alpha). It brings a first version of their custom terrain, vehicles, weapons and characters to all Arma 3 players. To the dev team we say: congratulations on the release and good luck with your journey to Beta and beyond!
There is one server crash in particular that we're trying to resolve with priority. It appears to affect the Altis Life community most of all, but we know it's not exclusive to that mod(e). Various server administrators and player communities, like Altis Life UK, have been helping us directly by providing logs, data and testing special builds. Like we have seen with similar crashes in the past, we again have not been able to reproduce these in the debugger environment at all. We're still isolating the cause, be it data, the engine or any number of external factors. We do know that the hotfix we have in RC testing does not seem to fix this yet. Even so, we may release it soon as an interim improvement (it does fix various other issues and make tweaks to weapon sway for example). Meanwhile you can consider using the 1.52 Legacy Build branch on Steam using access code Arma3Legacy152. That is in no way a long-term solution, and we will continue to be on the hunt for a fix.
For some time now, External Designer Killzone Kid, has been working on optimizing the official scripted function library. This means he has identified common operations which could be much faster in native engine code, requested useful new script commands and looked at general improvements. The first results have now reached Dev-Branch. The goal of this work is to achieve full backwards compatibility, while making content using these functions run faster. Please report potential issues, broken compatibility, or your suggested optimizations to us and we'll take a look!
We also have Animation Encoder Martin Kašpar looking into improving scripted control over animal behavior. Currently the animals are running simplified and optimized engine-controlled behavior only. They do not react to script commands such as doMove reliably. Changing this is not a big priority for us, but it will help various mod(e)s to do various interesting things with animals, starting with dogs. Take a look at Martin's guide on the Community Wiki, as well as this quick demonstration video. Further animal animation configurations should be getting the same treatment over time.
There was a small update on main branch last week that contained only updates to the (BattlEye) anti-cheat service. It should prevent the use of more undesired cheats and contribute to an enjoyable multiplayer environment for everyone.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Tournament Champions, Personal Protective Equipment Configuration PRECEDENCE: Flash
We've been working hard to process your feedback tickets after last week's 1.54 release. Some of the results have reached main branch swiftly, some topics are discussed later in this report, and some are otherwise in progress. We're also looking ahead to Eden Update in the first months of the new year by slowly wrapping up Eden Editor implementation and prioritizing other components of that promising release. Dev-Branch is set to be an interesting place over the next few months. Besides that and on-going Tanoa production, December is typically also a month during which we're busy with activities not directly connected to development of our games. We evaluate the past year and prepare the company and teams for a great and productive 2016.
We're honored to congratulate the Arma 3 Ambassadors on winning the End Game Tournament and becoming the reigning End Game Champions! Last weekend's match-up between the Ambassadors and RG Task Force was decided in a first-to-three series of matches. With the momentum going back and forth between the teams, the finals were very exciting to see unfold. The organizers needed to do one round restart due to external factors, but things went smoothly from there. After four matches, the teams were tied 2-2 and everything came down to a final win for either side. Ultimately the Ambassadors proved they were able to form a cohesive unit from strong individual players who had little prior experience playing together. It has also been interesting seeing various tactics develop during the tournament. Kudos to all competing teams and players for participating and giving us all a series of entertaining events!
It's been a great experience for us to host this first official tournament. There are many things we've learned and will take to future events of this type. Lessons cover topics like doing this over the open Internet, End Game mechanics, nailing down the rules, and practical aspects like streaming itself. We'd like to also thank Greg Becksted and Korneel van 't Land for being the primary organizers and all Bohemians behind the scenes for their support. A massive thank you also to our awesome shout-casters, Mic One and Stardog, who brought us to the edge of our seats many times over. Looking forward to cooperating with you again some time!
If you liked what you saw, jump into a server running End Game yourself. We host a few, but there are community servers as well. Nexus Update brought two new instances of End Game to everyone, each catering to slightly different playstyles. The system itself is modular and can be used by community designers to deploy on unofficial terrains for example. Educate yourself with the Community Wiki documentation.
Looking for something different? PHANTOM has published a powerful showcase of what you can achieve in the sandbox using scripting and modding. Inspired by the films, "The Thing CLASSIFIED SPECIMEN" is a horror scenario that's ideal to scare you silly during these dark winter days.
The improvements to Personal Protective Equipment required various asset configuration changes. While the feature itself was announced and discussed at various points during development, and staged on Dev-Branch a long time ago, we did not adequately document the specifics for mods to work with. We were very happy to see some mods use the three weeks of Community Wiki. This stub will be further expanded soon, and we'll also update the relevant Arma 3 Samples. Mod creators with further technical questions are recommended to visit this forums thread. Players, please give your favorite modders some time to adjust fully and then we're sure you'll be able to play their content including the improved hit detection.
Hot on the heels of the 1.54 update itself, we published a hotfix. We clearly needed to address a few priority issues as soon as possible. One of these required a work-around to avoid a Launcher crash that was unfortunately caused by incorrectly configured Windows libraries on user systems. A future update to the OS should fix this, but we could not wait for that. Some of the other errors fixed were really our mistake and should have been caught during Release Candidate testing. Thanks for your quick reports; they led to quick fixes as seen in this SPOTREP. Our main attention now is on reported (server) crashes. Keep sharing your logs, reports and specifics please!
One of the useful additions in the Nexus Update is the Launcher's ability to process Workshopmod dependencies for you. The Launcher team has updated the public documentation to explain how this works and what your options are when (un)loading mods.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Nexus Update Released, Units Live, Tournament Update PRECEDENCE: Flash
The last major update of 2015 has gone live on main branch; welcome to Nexus Update! Visit the improved Arma 3 website for Creative Director Jay Crowe's blog on all the highlights. We'd like to thank all participants of the RC tests for your assistance. Together with the players and mod teams we were able to catch a few things and address them ahead of release. Please allow some time for all server administrators and mods to update and adjust to the latest version of the game. We'll of course be monitoring Feedback Tracker and other channels for potential issues that may have slipped through. Your patience while we get the game running great with all improvements and mods is appreciated. An update of our client port betas is also in progress with our Virtual Programming partners. We hope to push that update out as soon as it's ready and tested.
Last Saturday's End Game TournamentSemi-Finals certainly had their fair share of excitement! We began with the E-bracket match between the Bohemia Dev Squad and Arma 3 Ambassadors (who were reinforced by Tangodown's NyteMyre). Pre-match voting indicated even odds, but ultimately the Ambassadors were victorious in a 2-0 win. Viewers were treated to many interesting combat tactics by both teams, and a vehicle destruction derby was especially entertaining to see. If you do watch the whole recording, be sure to look out for the part where all members of the Dev Squad chase an enemy Ifrit on foot! The last round did have to be restarted because of an unfortunate glitch causing the schematics to disappear. This should since have been fixed for the finals. We obviously praise the great effort by our team's top players, but our congratulations go to the Ambassadors who managed to form a cohesive team of individual players and secure their place in the finals.
For the second half of the semis, we witnessed a battle between Armalusa and RG Task Force. The first round was hotly debated, because it resulted in a tie with an advantage for phase II winner Armalusa. This was partly possible because of the mechanic governing the availability of the schematics in phase III. We do have plans to change this in some way, such as allowing both teams to pick them up at any time or another method, but it was decided to not change the mode's rules during the tournament. For now, if you want to secure the win, you'll just have to be decisively better and RG took on that challenge in the following rounds. The second round was won by RG after a phase II blitz and clever Ifrit park at the upload location. This result allowed the final round to be one of the most entertaining of the tournament. Armalusa knew they had to win and gave it their best. There was a lot of intense on-foot combat leading up to a spectacular finale. Armalusa was very close to completing the final upload, when RG's Cpl.Tristan stole the schematics in the nick of time! RG 1, Armalusa 0. Thanks for the show teams!
The finals of this first official tournament will be played coming Saturday at 18:00 UTC. We're planning for it to be a best of 5 match-up between Arma 3 Ambassadors and RG Task Force. We're psyched and can't wait for what promises to be a very exciting conclusion.
The Arma 3 Units 'Foundation Release' revealed in the recent OPREP has now gone live for everybody. At the same time we've published an iteration of the entire website, which tweaks the design and gets things ready for Units and further planned extensions. Kudos to Brand & PR Manager Korneel van 't Land for the coordination, Web Developer Jervant Malakjan for the bulk of the implementation, and the rest of the Publishing team for their great support. Well over 100 units have registered their community groups already; now it's your turn.
One random example of such unit is the Boonie Crew, who have also shared a very nice year-in-review video of their operations. Find more units to your liking by filtering on a range of criteria, such as attitude, gameplay, region, language and more. Feedback and issues are welcome in this forums thread and on the Feedback Tracker (Category: Units).
As tradition would have it, we've also updated the main branches of Arma 3 Tools and Arma 3 Samples. Go over Tools Commissar Julien Vida's new TECHREP for the details. Similarly, get your scroll bars ready and dive into all of the game's changes in its 1.54 SPOTREP.
Designer Radko Voda has submitted the technical documentation for Stamina on the Community Wiki. It explains how the mechanics work behind-the-scenes, its connections to other mechanics, and lists the script commands that can control it.
Third-party mod sync service withSIX has announced they have gone open-source. Their platform can now be collaborated on by anybody via GitHub and their various feedback channels. Best of luck to them with this new approach.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users< INFO: Arma 3 Units, Tournament Update, Stamina PRECEDENCE: Flash
Our planned release for Nexus Update (1.54) was meant to be today, but last Friday we uncovered a few issues in large-scale multiplayer testing. Those should since have been fixed. We're going to confirm the fixes in follow-up tests this week to determine when we can publish to main branch. Please keep trying the Release Candidate and reporting any issues, especially new ones. We'll keep you apprised of further RC updates and the actual release timing via our usual channels.
The second round of the End Game Tournament was played and streamed last Saturday. If you missed the broadcast, and have a spare four hours, check out this recording. You could also visit Mic One's channel for edited highlights in the weeks after matches are played. One of its organizers, Community Developer Greg Becksted, drops by to give us the results:"First up were the Quarter-Finals C where Armalusa of Portugal met OFCRA of France. Armalusa took the first game and OFCRA took the second game, in two quite evenly matched games. With the scores tied, anticipation grew to see who could take the win in game 3. In that game Armalusa secured the 'retrieve' task in Phase II of End Game, effectively netting them the win in the event the game would end in a draw. With this advantage under their belt, Armalusa took their time choosing to hold off on picking up the schematics till it was clear they would have a safe and secure path to their upload point. With only a few minutes remaining in the game, Armalusa picked up the schematics and started to make their way there. Being extra cautious, they kept the schematics secure and on-the-move, out of potential threat of them being taken away. The game ultimately did end in a draw, so Armalusa will be moving on the Semi-Finals. Between the regularly scheduled C and D match-ups, we saw the exciting sudden death rematch between Tangodown and the Arma 3 Ambassadors team (read up on what prompted this in a SITREP #00131). The first game in the rematch was very close with tremendous efforts by both teams that ended in a draw. Needing a win to make it to the Semi-Finals, both teams played in a second game without a dull moment, which ended with a back-and-forth struggle to gain control of the schematics. In the end and by a narrow margin, the Arma 3 Ambassadors team pulled off the win in game 2.
The final match-up of the evening, Quarter-Finals D, commenced with RG Task Force meeting Liberated Gaming. Both teams played with great determination. The teams reported, and we witnessed ourselves, some bad desync occurring, especially in the final game. The development team has since took on this issue with high priority and we feel that the main cause has been tracked down and the fix is currently being tested. In the end, RG Task Force was able to secure two back-to-back wins. A third game was played in keeping with the spirits of this tournament and was just for fun. RG Task Force advances to the Semi-Finals."
Stay tuned for the next round scheduled for Saturday November 28th, where we will see BI Dev Squad meet Arma 3 Ambassadors and RG Task Force versus Armalusa. These teams will now be competing to determine who will participate in the final match-up on Saturday December 5th and their chance to be the ultimate winner of the Arma 3 End Game Tournament!
This Friday and Saturday, Prague will host its annual indie Game Developer Session. Our very own Vojtech Kovaric will be speaking on the topic of Quality Assurance, going over the maddeningly difficult task of testing an open and moddable platform and game. Three other Bohemia Interactive devs will host sessions on a range of topics, so if you have an interest in development, consider popping by!
We can finally get more specific about Arma 3 Units, our web service developed to connect Arma 3 players and groups. Explore the newest OPREP by the fine gentlemen behind this effort for details on the concept. You'll also read about the planned 'Foundation Release' surrounding the Nexus Update, closed beta participation and some hints of future plans. Greg a.k.a. BohemiaBeck has posted a thread on the forums with even more information and details on how to join the party early. If you're interested, take the time to read some of the replies, which reveal our hopes to bring features like a developer API and basic web chat in the longer term. Your feedback and suggestions are welcome as always!
The Stamina and Fatigue systems have received further tuning by their Task Force, with balances to timings across the board. Stamina recuperation and exhaustion rates have been improved, to keep the game decisive, yet fluid, while the availability of sprinting after reaching an exhausted state has been further restricted. To manage combat effectiveness when fatigued or injured, players can no longer hold their breath indefinitely, and will now need to learn and master the best times to steady their aim, to compensate for weapon sway. Hold breath timings have changed, while improvements to the system itself add new sounds and reward players for conserving oxygen. A subtle animation slowdown has been added to terrain gradients, bringing a deeper level of connection and encouraging players to make more tactical decisions about their environment. Finally, a pesky bug that allowed for players to recuperate stamina very quickly has been squashed.
We're also preparing to publish a Legacy Fatigue Mod as example modification with sources in Arma 3 Samples. Senior Designer Josef Zemánek will also upload an unofficial functional mod version on Workshop soon. This mod both provides a starting point to players and modders who wish to replicate the previous behavior, but also showcases the enhanced (scripted) control you can have over these systems. In addition, we hope to still better explain our motivations for these changes both on the forums and in a future OPREP.
Tools Commissar Julien Vida reminds us that the last step in a plan to reorganize our samples and connected data is about to be taken. We'll soon remove the licensed data packages branch from Arma 3 Tools on Steam. If you're still subscribed to this branch, you'll be automatically switched back to main branch. The data packages themselves are still available via our website.
We've received some questions about the release of Eden Editor. It's been on Dev-Branch for some time, so when will it come to everyone? The new 3D Editor will be part of the free Eden Update that is planned for early 2016 according to our roadmap. This is a pretty big tool within the game, so we always planned for a considerable public beta. Development is going very well, but there are still a few features that we'd like to incorporate in the primary release.
UNIT: Korneel van 't Land, Greg Becksted & Jervant Malakjan, Brand/Community/Web Development TO: Arma 3 Users OPSUM: Introducing our development plans for Arma 3 Units
Over the next few weeks we'll be rolling out 'Arma 3 Units' – a web-based service for connecting Arma 3 players to Arma community groups. Via this OPREP, we would like to introduce the concept, explain the scope of its 'Foundation Release', and present our near-future development plans.
BETTER WITH FRIENDS
The potential of Arma 3 is truly unlocked once players form organized groups and go into the multiplayer together. There are a great variety of Arma 3 community groups; however, it’s not always easy for players to find these, or to set up a new one. With Arma 3 Units, we hope to make a modest first step towards lowering this barrier of entry. As a result, more players will be able to discover the variety of playstyles, enjoy a more meaningful gaming experience, and perhaps even establish new friendships.
In essence, Arma 3 Units could be described as an online catalog of Arma 3 community groups (referred to as 'units'), and a promotional/recruitment tool for new and existing groups/clans. With the initial launch of the website, which is scheduled for the end of November/start of December, we aim to deliver the core components of the service, namely the browsing of units and registration of new units. A bit further down the line, however, we intend to add more features – such as the ability to join a unit with your Bohemia Account, schedule events, and more.
Beyond our near future development plans, which we'll dig into a bit more later in this OPREP, we see many more possibilities for Arma 3 Units. Our internal wishlist is already significant, plus we expect to receive many more splendid suggestions from our community. At the same time, we do also need to recognize potential limitations in time and resources, which effectively means we'll have to carefully balance the focus of our web team between the different projects within Bohemia Interactive. That said, if successful, we do consider Arma 3 Units to be a potential longer-term endeavor.
THE FOUNDATION & THE FUTURE
As mentioned earlier, the initial Foundation Release of Arma 3 Units will provide the core functionality of browsing through units, and, of course, the registration of units. After the Foundation Release has been deployed, we'll be directing our attention towards on a number of features that we consider essential additions to the service. When visiting the Arma 3 Units website, you will already see some of these features hinted at in the website layout, but they will have been grayed out with a tool tip that says "coming soon". For now, let's discuss these 'upcoming' features in a bit more detail.
Firstly, we'll be focusing on the integration of Bohemia Accounts into Arma 3 Units. This should enable players to more easily join or apply for a unit, while unit admins will be able to manage and review member applications from within the Units admin section. In addition, depending on a unit's privacy settings, using Bohemia Accounts will make it possible to automatically calculate a unit's size, and display the names of the players that are connected to the particular unit. Also, by integrating Bohemia Accounts, we're opening the door for connecting Arma 3 Units to the Arma 3 game – which in turn could enable us (eventually) to more seamlessly integrate in-game group management systems such as the infamous squad.xml.
After that, our next priority will be the creation of events by units, and for unit members (and/or non-members) to join these events. Plus, on top of that we want to provide a place where Arma 3 players, who are not necessarily part of a Unit, can quickly find other players to form a squad and head into multiplayer together right away – whether it's for a round of End Game, a co-operative scenario, a sandbox game mode, or something else. To complete the package, we intend to implement a push notifications system, which should help users to keep better track of unit announcements and events.
BETA GET READY
Before we get to that, we'll be hosting a short closed beta test, to ensure a solid Foundation Release in the comings weeks. The primary purpose of this closed beta is to identify technical errors, streamline the user experience, and tweak the website layout. To participate in the closed beta, we're inviting admins/leaders of Arma community groups that are interested. More information on how to join, and where to report you feedback, can be found on the Bohemia Forums.
Arma 3 Units, what else? Besides the things we've discussed in this OPREP, we have not yet specified the long-future plans for the service. One of the things we could imagine is to directly integrate Arma Units into the Arma 3 Launcher (and perhaps even into the game itself). Then there are other, more 'wild' ideas that could expand upon the service, such as potentially facilitating the organization of tournaments between units, or enabling a unit to form alliances with other units. However, for now, our focus it the make sure the core framework is there, and once the concept has proven itself, we hope to involve all of you in the brainstorm on Arma Units' future.
In closing, we hope this dev blog gives you a better understanding of our development plans and goals for Arma 3 Units. You can expect another status update from us in the next couple of months. In the meantime, please let us know your thoughts/ideas/suggestions/notes. Stay safe - and greetings to you and your unit!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Development Update, Community Art, Stacked Event Handlers PRECEDENCE: Flash
We felt now might be a good time to deliver a small status report on plans beyond Nexus Update (1.54 is undergoing public RC testing). For Eden Update we are obviously chiefly focused on Eden Editor, although several other platform features are in the pipes. The Audio team hopes to stage a first set of improved weapon firing configurations, which use the new functionality to deliver much nicer distance-based sounds for example. Work on the Visual Update package has continued as well. Staging its tweaked lighting, water reflections, improved underwater fog and fixed up parallax maps to Dev-Branch is set for a while after 1.54. The primary Apex release is greedily devouring all of our Art capacity. The artists in various offices are building Tanoa's unique structures, decorative objects, vegetation, rocks, clutter, surfaces and more. Some of them are modeling the new Light Strike Vehicles, VTOLs and other assets. It will be a while before any of this sees the light of day, but it's all shaping up very nicely.
Bohemia Dev Squad's MVP, Endstar, is seen training for an upcoming End Game Tournament match at his Research & Development desk in the latest weekly dev photo. There are many other things going on in this picture, but we'll just point out that the sidearm is a decommissioned weapon (movie prop) that we use as reference material.
Plenty of fantastic looking community artworks and screenshots have reached us over the years. We often share these via @Arma3Official and you might also follow Senior Designer Bořivoj Hlava, who has a finely-tuned radar for talent. If you enjoy seeing these productions, visit the Arma 3 Photography thread on our forums, where you will also find special projects like unofficial comics. Another source of media is the Steam Community Hub. Keep sharing everyone!
We had already hinted at description.ext integration into Eden Editor, and now this functionality has arrived on Dev-Branch. As with more components of the new editor, this too can be extended by modders. You can set it up for custom sections and open up other scenario configuration parameters for your mod(e)s. Script command getMissionConfigValue is needed to access this new type of data. It can also be used for old-fashioned parameters, so this command will slowly deprecate missionConfigFile. As a fortunate byproduct of this work, ProgrammerFilip Sádovský has found a way to make errors in the EXT file no longer crash the engine, but instead just throw an error.
On Saturday we announced that the planned End Game Tournament sessions for that day would be postponed after the horrible events in Paris. We felt it would not be appropriate, especially given one of the competing teams for that round is French (OFCRA). We've discussed with the teams how to best continue, and it's likely all sessions will simply move back one week. Keep an eye on our usual channels for the latest information. In the mean time, Mic One has published his awesome overview video in which you can learn about the three stages of End Game matches.
We have finally introduced limited support for stacked config-based event handlers into the engine. By using nested classes in CfgVehicles >> (MyVehicle) >> EventHandlers, you can define multiple handlers of the same type (e.g. init). Previously, mods could only overwrite existing handlers, and so they had to resort to more convoluted solutions.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: 1.54 RC Started, Tournament Update PRECEDENCE: Flash
The public Release Candidate branch for Nexus Update (1.54) has opened to anyone who'd like to participate in testing or who wants to start preparing their scenarios and mods. Its Steam branch access code is Arma3Update154RC, which is available for the game and its server package. Please post specific issues to the Feedback Tracker. Since this update is quite large, we expect the RC period to last a good two weeks. Several of its components are even now undergoing carefully monitored tweaking. A high-level list of changes can be found on the forums, where the build can also be generally discussed. We do however recommend using specific threads for large topics such as audio, Launcher mod dependencies, personal protective equipment, stamina, spectator, FFV, etc.
When the time came to select the next Community Guide topic, we quickly landed on "Defense". It covers a useful collection of skills for Arma in general, but also applies very well to End Game, a central component of Nexus Update and the on-going tournament. Andrew "Dslyecxi" Gluck was approached once again to apply his excellent Arma videography skills. The guide goes over planning your defense, consideration of terrain features, usage of Intel gathering assets, force multipliers, practical tips, and more.
The A & B bracket quarter-finals for the End Game Tournament were played last Saturday, with plenty of excitement and controversy! In the first match-up, the brave Italian BDR Clan faced the Bohemia Dev Squad. The match was decided after 2 developer victories, advancing the Dev Squad to the semi-finals. Our compliments to BDR for some impressive counters to the vehicle tactics used against them.
Next up were the Arma 3 Ambassadors versus Dutch community Tangodown. After a first round draw, and a win by the Ambassadors, the last round was won by Tangodown in a thrilling hilltop finale. Much confusion ensued, which was our mistake. The rules did not explicitly cover this scenario well, and so the officials ruled a Tangodown victory based on their interpretation of the rules (since updated and clarified). In the days following the event, we've discussed this with both teams and are happy to find them willing to go for a sudden-death rematch! Massive respect especially to the members of Tangodown, who are putting their semi-final place on the line in the interest of fair play. This tournament was always meant to be "friendly-competitive" in nature and we're very glad to see this attitude reflected by the competitors. We'll obviously do our best to avoid these situations in future events - together we learn.
We've already extracted some useful lessons from this first foray into an official event of this type. This really is a trial run for us. If it's well-received as a whole, we may take it further, and explore different game modes and play styles. Some spectator mode tweaks will already be applied for the next matches (and Nexus Update itself), such as the ability to highlight every player and not just unit leaders. We also observed that it can be unclear what the first-person camera actually shows: this is not exactly what the player is seeing, so you'll not see them using sights. Seeing third-person view in the Spectator also does not need to mean the player uses that function, although in this tournament it is available. Shoutcasters Mic One and Stardog did an awesome job commentating on the proceedings, and they brought in some nice interviews and other videos. The stream team has discussed feedback and improvements going forward, hopefully resulting in an even more entertaining event. Join us next Saturday from 17:00 UTC for the C & D bracket quarter-finals as well as the special rematch!
During the tournament live stream, we noticed several people pleasantly surprised by some of the music played during the intermissions. Most of what you heard is actually part of the official Arma 3 soundtrack. Owners of the (Digital) Deluxe Edition can find MP3 and FLAC versions of all tracks (including DLC) in their installation Bonus\Soundtrack folder. You can also use Steam client to play these tracks. Go to View and then Music Details (or filter your library on MUSIC) to see a listing of the tracks available to you. Or you might want to use these tracks in the game (regardless of DLC ownership): take a look at this Community Wiki overview and the related documentation. We can also confirm that the many remixes of the main theme have driven Audio Lead Jan Dušek slightly mad - "TÝ-DA-DU-DÜ".
While we have you listening to music, we highly recommend the soundtrack for singleplayer Make Arma Not War winner: Resist. Just like the campaign itself, it's a fitting contribution to the vanilla game. Our compliments to community composer Valtteri Harju!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Project Leadership, End Game Tournament PRECEDENCE: Flash
Breaking with tradition, this opening section will be written from my own perspective. After well over a hundred reports and therefore weeks, the time has come for me to hand the Arma 3 project to someone else. As of this week, the game will be in the capable hands of someone most of you know: former Encoding Lead, Lord of the Bounce, Petr Kolář. He will lead the awesome team on the road to Apex and beyond.
It has been a huge honor to re-shape the game and team as we went through Early Access graduation and over two years of post-release support so far. Considering there were times when we believed the game might never be released, it’s a great joy to see the unique Arma series in a stronger position than ever before now. Sure, not everything went smoothly and some things we wish we’d handled differently. It will make for an interesting post-mortem eventually, but Arma 3 is far from dead. I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved with the project, including the community of modders, server admins and players
This change was planned for a while, but now we’re close to the first milestone on the expansion roadmap, the time is right. I’ll continue to work on the game as Producer for some time, most likely even writing up more of these reports, as I slowly prepare for a new challenge within Bohemia Interactive. Thank you for your support and cheers to a splendid future in the Armaverse!
Your Saturday entertainment should be sorted for the next couple of weeks. We've announced an official End Game Tournament. Eight teams (community groups, Bohemia Interactive devs and special guests) will go head to head in a fun invitational knock-out tournament. What are they fighting for? Eternal glory and the coveted title of Arma 3 End Game Champion of course! All of the matches will be live streamed and hosted by shoutcasters Mic One and Stardog. Things are kicking off this Saturday, November 7, at 17:00 UTC with the A and B bracket quarter-finals. You can watch the live events on our Twitch channel, but there will be many other streams from the various competitors for example. Visit the tournament page for the full schedule, team overviews, rules and a F.A.Q. Best of luck to all teams, especially our devs, who'll probably need it most!
Rock Paper Shotgun has published a refreshing account of their experiences in vanilla Arma 3 with community group Folks APRS. The author has joined for several PvE operations, and describes the challenges and excitement of dealing with perma-death and communication. You too can join their public sessions, so head over to their site for the details.
Community member Leshrack has released his first mod, one which allows you to tow vehicles with other vehicles. It support all vanilla (wheeled) aircraft, and can be configured for mod vehicles as well. More information is available this forum thread.
Tweaking of Stamina continues on Dev-Branch, and our goal is to reach a stable state by Friday. The dedicated group of devs involved in this work will want to post a more detailed update on the forums soon, but here are some of the bigger tweaks as described by Sandbox Lead Miloslav Cinko: "The UI bar was adjusted to not steal too much of the player's attention, but still provide players with information about their status (if enabled). Some special actions, like rolling sideways, have a negative impact on stamina now and the weight of equipment was tweaked so that undesired load-outs should not be achievable. We're also experimenting with jogging draining stamina. A number of noticeable issues snuck into the weapon sway mechanic that were not intended, so the most recent focus has been on this mechanic. We'll continue to process your feedback and see what can still contribute to reach our goals for this iteration."
Megagoth, one of the community's audio aficionados, has contributed to the recent update on Audio progress with a lovely video overview . He explains how the sample reorganization can help to reduce update sizes, which even considering delta-patching is applied, definitely was one of the motivations. More interestingly, he explains in a very audiovisual manner (epic Paint skills confirmed) what the changes and new configuration methods allow sound designers to do. He does also share a valid warning: with great power comes great responsibility. Modders will have such detailed control over certain aspects of the sound engine, that breaking the entire soundscape becomes very easy when applying low-level values that were not considered carefully. Overall though, the things that will be possible to achieve are very exciting for us and modders alike.
There have been several cool scripting additions and changes in recent months. External Designer Killzone Kid has written up a great overview of them on the forums. From general syntactical commands and constructs, to Stamina and UI commands, there's bound to be some useful tools for scripters. And if you weren't sure what the recently staged Upload Terminal object can do besides being used in End Game, also check out this nifty use of it!
Now that the Eden Editor beta supports custom layers, the team has moved on to another big feature: description.ext integration. Since the first Arma games, this file could be used to configure several advanced scenario parameters and even define entire config hierarchies local to the scenario (e.g. to build User Interfaces). The time has finally come to expose most of the common parameters in the editor itself, without needing to create a manual file. Don't worry, this is approached in such a way that existing scenarios with description.ext files will continue to function and their parameters will take priority. More advanced uses of reading the missionConfigFile may need to be re-considered using techniques we'll document clearly when the time comes.
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: End Game Additions, Spectator, Audio Progress, Terrain Processor SDK PRECEDENCE: Flash
Almost all aspects of Nexus Update (1.54) have been staged on Dev-Branch. That does not mean they are considered final; some furious tweaking is on-going. Since the update contains a lot of moving parts, we'll use a fairly lengthy Release Candidate period. Internally, we'll probably apply our data lock next week. For those of you new to our development processes, data lock means we make a snapshot of the build (engine and data) and strictly control every change that is made and allowed in. This does slow down the creative processes, but also stabilizes the game and lets us focus on the most important tasks. Not long after this lock is applied, we'll prepare the RC branch for public testing. We've also published a page to better explain how RC testing works, what our goals for it are and how you can help.
Our weekly dev photographer was able to snap a moment from a rather French rendezvous between Game Capture Artist Arthur Walter (known for the still-magnifique "Somewhere") and Tools Commissar Julien Vida. They were discussing a special live streaming setup, about which we'll have an announcement to share soon. Arthur has joined our company a few months ago, and he helps us with a lot of different media production tasks for our games. One day he might be taking cool screenshots, the next day he provides technical support for a live stream, and today he's begun work on a Nexus Update trailer.
The collaboration of people behind the Community Upgrade Project have delivered another major milestone of their mod. The first release of the Vehicles Pack (in addition to the Weapons and Units Packs), brings a dazzling amount of assets to the game. These are mostly assets from Arma 2, Operation Arrowhead and DLC, enhanced with Arma 3 technologies and features. Should you encounter problems, please report them on their own tracker. The release is also a great showcase of the new Launcher mod dependencies on Dev-Branch, making the installation process super smooth. The amount of content produced for the community for free by these dedicated people is truly inspiring. Thanks!
Another mod sharing their progress with us this week is Air Cav Vietnam. Take a look at their most recent trailer here. They are developing two components: a mod containing assets and a server package revolving around a coop experience. All of this will be taking place on the already-released Nam terrain by Variable. You can track the work via their Steam community group. We're excited to go on a virtual tour of duty once their first release drops.
Finally, we cannot ignore this new video from Real Virtuality Jedi Master McRuppertle. Release that dueling mode, you will?
The Playable Content additions for Nexus Update have been pushed to Dev-Branch. There are two brand-new instances of End Game, each catering to a different scale and pace. You'll also find a first version of a new Spectator mode. For now you'll be able to access this mode by using one of the 4 available virtual roles per End Game instance. The Spectator mode was designed to be modular and extensible. Scenario designers can show custom (meta) information and set up relevant key locations for example. We'll be iterating on this for some more time, and then publish documentation to the Community Wiki. Please leave us your feedback in this thread by Design Lead Jaroslav Kašný. For another in-depth look at the content and the status of several multiplayer systems, do read Creative Director Jay Crowe's post on the topic.
Next, let's take stock of movement along the Audio roadmap. Senior Programmer František Novák has committed a low-level overhaul of the audio engine, which lays a foundation for the planned features. Noticeable right now is the Stereo Emitter. This allows us to finally properly play stereo samples based on the observer's distance, boosting the richness of the soundscape. This new approach will be much less hard-coded and better configurable (also for mods). Jay has jumped onto the forums once again to explain a little more. We've also begun a clean-up of the sound samples. Read the full details in Audio Lead Jan Dušek's forums post, but in summary:
SFX: we're splitting bigger addons into smaller ones, but preserving the internal addressing via PBO prefixes. We're also deprecating obsolete samples, which we intend to delete with Eden Update (but can make available for use in Arma 3 Samples e.g.).
Radio Protocol: we're also splitting these addons, but cannot preserve the paths in this case. One of the reasons for doing this is to allow small tweaks to be made without massive data patching.
It is now possible to manipulate Under-Barrel Grenade Launcher rounds directly in a dedicated inventory slot, thanks to a cooperation between Senior Designer Vladimír Hynek and Senior Programmer Jan Mareček. This makes it easier to identify the currently loaded type of round and swap it out from the menu. Modders can utilize this enhancement for other secondary muzzle types as well. The addition goes hand-in-hand with the improved reloading animations for UGL weapons. Those now also actually show a (generic) round being manipulated for improved immersion.
The Environment department has found a few moments to address smaller issues and glitches reported for Stratis and Altis over the past many months. Doing the fixes will result in some of the object IDs changing once again. A long time ago we've attempted to change this technology and use static IDs instead, but that has failed and has not been attempted again since. We still recommend to avoid referencing these IDs directly and to try to find alternative methods (feel free to request as such via Feedback Tracker). This should have become more feasible with new script commands such as nearestTerrainObjects.
Advanced terrain creators can now leverage the Terrain Processor SDK. A sample project has been provided in the Arma 3 Samples Dev-Branch, and the accompanying manual can be found here. Using the SDK, the tool can be expanded with custom tasks and plug-ins.