FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Tanoa Sector Tests, Community Guides, 1.58 Re-Released PRECEDENCE: Flash
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.
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 Some of the Intel presented may be outdated, but the overal knowledge contained within the series is definitely still worth your time.
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.
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 systemmalloc, 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.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Official Mod, Milsim Stream VoD, Top 10 Update 1.58, Price Reductions, Score Screen PRECEDENCE: Flash
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!
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.
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.
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 systemmemory 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!
Korneel van 't Land has informed us about "ADR-97 free weapon pack" release.
In support of the Arma 3 Steam Workshop, Bohemia Interactive deployed an 'official mod' in the form of the freeADR-97 Weapon Pack. A new trailer, which accompanies the ADR's release, demonstrates how easy it is to install user-created content from the Arma 3 Steam Workshop.
The ADR-97 Weapon Pack consists of a collection of variants of the ADR-97 submachine gun. Inspired by the iconic FN P90, the ADR is a lightweight, highly maneuverable firearm with a high rate of fire, which stands out due to the 50-round magazines positioned on top of the weapon. The ADR-97 comes with inbuilt collimator sights, but some variants can also be fitted with custom optics.
To add the ADR-97 Weapon Pack to their game, players simply need to visit the official mod's page on the Steam Workshop (via their web browser or the Steam Client), and click on the green 'Subscribe' button, as is demonstrated in the video. Then, when they start Arma 3 from their Steam Library, they can enable the ADR-97 Weapon Pack (and other mods they have installed) via the 'Mods' tab in the Arma 3 Launcher, and run the game. The ADR-97 is now reasy for use; give it a go in the new 3D Scenario Editor!
In addition, while marching forward on the #RoadToApex, Arma 3 today also received a significant platform update. Highlights of Update 1.58 include the new Apex control preset, the ability to switch between weapons while in movement, an overhaul to Arma 3's difficulty options, an improved system for assigning and managing in-game 'tasks', and continued support for the recently released Eden 3D Editor, as well as a range of other improvements and fixes. The complete changelog is available on the Arma 3 Dev Hub.
Last but not least, for the first time since its official release in September 2013, Bohemia Interactive has announced a permanent price drop for Arma 3 and all of its DLC released so far. The new price for the Arma 3 base game is 34,99 EUR / 29.99 GBP / 39.99 USD (before it was 44.99 EUR/35.99 GBP/59.99 USD). The Arma 3 Helicopters DLC and Arma 3 Marksmen DLC are now 9.99 EUR / 7.99 GBP / 11.99 USD (before it was 12.99 EUR/10.99 GBP/15.99 USD). The price of the Arma 3 DLC Bundle, which includes the Karts, Helicopters, and Marksmen DLC has been reduced to 16.99 EUR / 14.99 GBP / 19.99 USD (before it was 19.99 EUR/16.99 GBP/24.99 USD). Those who are new to Arma 3, but want the most complete experience for the best price, can still choose to pick up the Arma 3 Apex Edition for 59.99 EUR / 44.99 GBP / 69.99 USD, which includes the Arma 3 Digital Deluxe Edition, Karts, Helicopters, and Marksmen DLC, and the upcoming Apex expansion. All Arma 3 editions and DLC are available for purchase on the Bohemia Store and Steam.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: 1.58 Release Week, Campaign Unification, Action Filtering, Eden Editor Updates, Targeting Improvements PRECEDENCE: Flash
This week we want to finally release 1.58 to every player. Besides several fixes, the last addition we sought to get in was merged on Friday (action filtering for weapon switching). That gives us all a day or two of further . Take a look at the pseudo change log on our forums for the highlights of this update. If you're aware of critical issues remaining in the build, alert us via the forums please. Catch you on the flip side!
We're planning a fairly drastic The East Wind campaign change in the 1.60 update. For Arma 3's 1.0 release we decided that we needed to split up the campaign into 3 episodes (not counting the Bootcamp Prologue). This also meant that technically these episodes were released as 3 separate campaigns. It's our desire to now finally merge these into 1 campaign for presentation purposes. For anyone new jumping into the game, this would offer a more streamlined and logical experience. There is however one very important caveat to be aware of: existing campaign saves will not work after this! That would mean you have from now until 1.60's release (and technically one more update after that given the Legacy Build) to finish your current session. Re-playing the campaign after 1.60 will be well worth it, with things like the Tasks Overhaul and , but also to refresh your recollection of events for Apex.
The expansion will come with its own 1-4 player co-operative multiplayer campaign, with ties to The East Wind. The Playable Content team actually hit our MOCAP studio recently to record special animations for various scenes in that campaign.
On this week's dev photo you'll see our proud envoy to last weekend's Game Access 2016 summit in Czechia (< don't blame us). We had quite a few devs in attendance to support sessions by their fellow team members, as well as to listen to other great developers in the Czech industry. The presentations were recorded, so we'll report back once they are online.
Wrapping up the weapon switching package for 1.58, we've added tech to filter action menu entries which are bound to a control. This was configured for weapon switching actions only for now, but we may extend it later. Especially when combined with the Arma 3 Apex controls preset (which maps switching weapons to the number keys), this goes a long way to de-clutter the action menu. It should reduce the frequently complained about situation of trying to open a door under fire, but slowly switching to your launcher instead ... and dying. Let our Research & Development designers know what you think on our forums!
More usability enhancements coming from R&D and Sandbox are coordinated by Designer Ondřej Kužel and his direct line to our programmers. They have worked on improvements of various targeting systems (planned for 1.60). This encompasses a list of changes in the categories commanding, crew communications and weapon systems. You're best of reading through the great write-up by Ondřej himself.
One specific addition is a virtual camera pod on fixed-wing aircraft. It should help pilots to coordinate their Air-to-Ground attacks more precisely by enhancing their restricted view from the cockpit.
Then there is a very exciting bundle of new features for the Eden Editor (after 1.58). Its development team continues to process their own wishlist as well as community feedback with excitement. Designers will now find a new entity type: Comment. This is a very useful tool to leave yourself notes and reminders in 3D space. You may wish to build a detailed F.O.B. somewhere later, and just place a reminder in the editing scene for now e.g. Comments have an always visible title and a tooltip with more details. Another useful tool is the ability to create and scale area entities, such as Triggers and Markers.
We've reached the cherry on the cake: asset preview images. While we're still generating these for all vanilla assets, you now see an image preview of the asset you're hovering over in the Asset Browser. We are also preparing a pipeline that automatically generates those for mod assets, although it's not currently functional yet.
Technical Designer David Sláma reports on cool new animation source tech for weapon animations, implemented by Senior Programmer BXBX. As the documentation describes, modders may now use numerical identifiers for sources associated with muzzles other than the primary one. This tech should offer more flexibility and allow weapons to be more effeciently animated. It should even be fully backward compatible!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Visual Upgrade, Milsim Live Stream, Respawn Screen PRECEDENCE: Flash
With Release Candidate testing for 1.58 continuing this week, and major 1.60 features being staged to Dev-Branch, things are perhaps becoming a little confusing. That's why we're here to clarify when you can expect what on the #RoadToApex. The simplest way of looking at it is: we want the weapon switching package to be in 1.58, but the version is otherwise locked. Anything else is for 1.60 or Apex itself.
Said expansion has meanwhile passed an internal Alpha milestone for the Sandbox. That means the assets are being finalized towards Beta, with Levels Of Detail, detailed textures, etc. They are being prepared for encoding, animations and sounds. Milestones are also a good time for our team to align priorities, dependencies, resources and the overall progress. Special snapshot evaluation sessions let us identify bottlenecks and solve issues that arise from the complexity of multi-studio development. We were once again energized by your feedback to some of the recent changes, so the team is working harder than ever to deliver Apex.
Yesterday we've announced our next official live stream event, this time focused on #milsim. Community Developer Greg Becksted has linked up with Vegas - the leader of the 21st Ranger Regiment unit. Of course even within the spectrum of milsim communities you'll find plenty of varied interpretations. This Saturday April 16th, starting at 18:00 PDT, we'll stream a demonstration of one such co-operative role-playing operation with the 21st. Things will kick off with a proper briefing, move into the AO deployment and then go into the actual mission. Various stream guests will offer commentary on milsim communities, popular mods and more. Cya on Twitch this Saturday!
And there is more live entertainment to be had for Arma 3 this weekend. The first season of the Battle Royale Games is being hosted by PLAYERUNKNOWN on Twitch. Last weekend saw the first round for the Games with the popular mode's Regular preset. Congratulations to Grand Master Marius on being victorious! Next weekend you can follow a brutal session in the 'Hardcore' arena. Acquaint yourself with the schedule here
Members of the Community Intelligence Group have stumbled on an under-the-radar reveal of one of Apex' vehicle assets. As an exception and with explicit permission we have indeed allowed External Artist Tomáš Velebný to update his portfolio with renders and screen grabs of the brand-new off-road vehicle he's created for the expansion. We hope you like it as much as we do!
It could well be that besides playing the game for hundreds of hours, you feel you could still have more Arma 3 in your life. Here to fill any void is a new unofficial podcast: ARMAnet. Now you can spend your commute to work by listening to hosts Dagger and Reaver and guest speakers. They will cover news, the community, units, mods and much more. On the first episode they speak about their own unit - 111th S.O.G. - but they also invite different milsim units to drop by. Other topics include an evaluation of Eden Editor and the many different playstyles available in Arma 3. So, find their show on iTunes or Podbean, and let's give them the motivation to keep it going!
We're proud to have finally staged the Visual Upgrade package onto Dev-Branch last Friday. The effort was led by Senior Artist Pavel Guglava and expertly supported by Senior Programmer Lukáš Bábíček. Read all about this in our latest OPREP. We should make it clear that this work is not going into update 1.58, but rather 1.60. There is plenty of tweaking ahead of us, so please try to collect your feedback in this forums thread. Going off your enthusiasticsharing of media on many channels, we think this is going in the right direction and the end result should be awesome.
Now for some 'real talk', on the topic of performance. This naturally comes up whenever graphical fidelity is discussed, so we'll explain again how we feel this upgrade can affect overall performance. The lighting changes themselves should not have an impact. Then there are a few changed technologies that are not optional and in our tests can have a small effect, namely the new shore shader, multi-component fog and previously released parallax map improvements. Finally, the Screen Space Reflections used on water are actually expensive, but they are optional. It's also important to remember that Dev-Branch is not the best performance indicator. This build contains more diagnostics and may be spamming more RPT log errors for example. The 2GB update also may have caused fragmentation on non-SSD drives, so consider running a defrag.
We will continue to look for optimization opportunities across the board, but it would not be realistic to expect a 'magic bullet' leap forward in Arma 3's lifetime. That also goes for a potential DirectX 12 implementation. After a lengthy initial investigation, we've concluded that this is far more complex than it may seem. It has been decided that our company will first tackle this in the new Enfusion engine, as its rendering pipeline is more compatible. Afterwards we'll still evaluate porting it back (or using the knowledge we'll have gained) for Arma 3. This does mean quite definitely that no DX12 implementation will be part of the platform update that is to accompany the Apex release.
Another improvement slated for update 1.60 is an overhauled Respawn Screen. Sandbox Designers Petra Ivašková and Bořivoj Hlava, with great support from other designers, have coordinated a new User Interface and plenty of tweaks of the scripted system behind it. A prime goal has been to make the interface much more intuitive to use, but also to optimize the underlying technology - all while maintaining backwards-compatibility. Visit our forums for a detailed overview accompanied by useful configuration samples (additional documentation) - and to leave your feedback of course.
Yes, another SECREP was published recently to bolster security against hacking and cheating in multiplayer.
Senior Programmer >Jan Mareček has had some time to work on Terrain Builder. That has resulted in a new version being pushed to the Arma 3 ToolsDev-Branch. This update should resolve a few pesky layer issues and allow environment artists to better find duplicated objects.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Weapon Switching On-The-Move, Suppressive Fire, Mappable Camera Controls, Update 1.58 Status PRECEDENCE:
And just like that, we're publishing our 150thSITuation REPort on Arma 3's development. That makes it over 150 weeks since we began the public Alpha. It continues to be our pleasure to collect relevant information, share news, highlight cool community productions, and be as open as we can about the state of the game. There's no end in sight either. We're working towards the Apex expansion, and very likely we will not stop there. Back in the now, we have indeed decided to delay update 1.58 a little bit. The feature we are keen to include was meanwhile staged on Dev-Branch: weapon switching on-the-move (more on that later in this report). The extra time has also allowed our developers to resolve some of the issues in the highlighted changes. We're now looking at a release window that will open next week.
Did you catch our April Fools' Day gag this year? We launched a fake product on our Store: "Arma" - Eau De Combat, complete with announcement trailer and promo pics! Kudos to the various team members for chipping in to make this happen. Our very special thanks go out to Game Capture Artist Arthur Walter's French mother for the fantastic outro narration that made us all wish this was a real fragrance. Unlike Karts DLC however, we do not have plans to make this an actual product this time around. Unfortunately it was and always will be "sold out", with no actual pre-odors having happened.
For the past few weeks we've hinted at a big feature that we're excited about. It's one of those top tier requested things, both in our team and by players. We're talking about the ability to switch weapons on-the-move of course! The reason we were reluctant to mention it previously is that we wanted to be confident about delivering it for Arma 3. This feature is really pushing the limits of the Real Virtuality engine, and it probably pushes beyond them in some respects. Even though mods have previously accomplished this functionality to some degree, we wanted to only add it as a native solution that works under all conditions. It's possible there will be some unsolvable visual glitches, but we feel the enhanced control over your avatar is worth it. We're proud of the devs involved in making this happen for everyone who's been waiting for it for a long time. Now that the first version has hit Dev-Branch, give it a go and share your feedback on the forums. We'll meanwhile still be iterating on the animations and solving known issues. If things go well, we hope to still include this into 1.58.
But that is not the entire package for switching weapons. As part of a larger push to improve the user experience of Arma 3, Senior Designer Shobhan Roy (R&D) and Programmer Marcel Marciš have focused on bringing more control to players. Quick weapon switching technology has previously added new infantry and vehicle actions, allowing players to bind their weapons to any key they desire.
One thing we wanted to do was put weapon switching on industry standard number keys, where they are easily reachable and recognizable. However, this conflicted with our originally hard-coded Command Menu interaction; so in order to resolve this, we extended our Command Menu functionality to let players choose when the menu opens and what keys activate it. The result? It is now possible to use weapon switching and the Command Menu on the number keys simultaneously, based on whether the menu is activated. This improved behavior can be experienced with our new Arma 3 Apex controls preset. This new preset is slated to eventually become our default control scheme for the upcoming Apex expansion, and will take advantage of the various usability improvements. Existing presets will also stay available, probably under a Arma 3 Legacy title. Expect more additions as we progress on the #RoadToApex, and we look forward to your feedback!
Another useful improvement is live on Dev-Branch as well: an overhauled suppression command via Lead Programmer Vojtěch Hladík. You can now actually order subordinates to lay down fire on a specific target or position (3 > 9 by default). And since version 1.42, suppression has a real effect on AI, so it can be employed as a viable tactic (see this report). Simply put, they will try to engage for about 15 seconds, ammunition allowing. Other commands, such as regrouping, will make them stop. This is supported by two script commands: commandSuppressiveFire and doSuppressiveFire. Since we do still need a little more time to flesh out some of the details, this work is not going to be included in 1.58 yet. Let us know your thoughts in the relevant forums thread.
For the record: another tiny anti-cheat security update was released on main branch late last week.
Eden Editor has also seen some nice improvements on Dev-Branch (post-1.58). During its Beta, there were requests to be able to change the control bindings for the camera. We agreed that we'd make this happen, but we wanted to tackle it properly also for other cameras in the game. So, now you can set up the camera controls as you wish, for Eden Editor, Zeus, Spectator Mode and Splendid Camera. Please note that H is no longer the key for hiding the interface in Splendid Camera; it's Backspace now.
Then there's the new ability to define a limited ceiling for triggers, via Eden Editor's Scaling Widget or various updated script commands in the sandbox generally. Finally, our programmers have done work on scripted Event Handlers. Some of the important but outdated handlers allowed the creation of a single instance only. This was causing significant inconveniences for mod and scenario authors. We've now added twelve alternative and 'stackable' mission event handlers to remove the single instance limitation.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: RC 1.58 Intel, Feedback Tracker Status, Debug Console Improvements PRECEDENCE: Flash
So far it has been our intention to release update 1.58 (currently undergoing Release Candidate testing) this week. We are now re-evaluating that plan however. There are a few fresh issues that we need to search and destroy. And there is a cool new feature which we'd love to get in this update, but which is not entirely finished yet. The options are being discussed with our team as we speak. Whether we release 1.58 this week or later, we'll keep you in the loop via our usual development channels.
Let's be honest: is there anyone who doesn't enjoy popping bubble wrap? So too does our Audio Designer Grigorij Tolkačev, as seen on this week's dev photo. We're not quite sure whether he was recording Foley for supersonic cracks, or just pondering the cool future audio improvements coming on the #RoadToApex.
We have two different community 'time-lapse' videos for you this week. TheyCallMeConor went for a massive virtual hike by trekking all the way from the North-Eastern tip of Altis to the South-Western peninsula, on foot. Once you've rested from that journey, you can enjoy the calming landscape scenes in EPICH's "time lapse" video.
As collateral bonus of his work on optimizing the scripted functions library, R&D Designer Killzone Kid shares with us some interesting improvements he's made to a future version of the debug console: "The code performance button is now using a dedicated command for testing code performance, providing more precise execution times. Watch field execution has now been optimized and slow code detection was added. Moderately slow code gets an orange warning, while very slow or blocker code gets a red warning and is terminated. Additionally, the watch fields are always saved into the user profile. General code execution stability should also see some improvement."
Modders of the Eden Editor can soon tag their Workshop items as "Editor Extension".This tag is meant for items that directly expand or change the editor's behavior, and it should make them stand out from other game modifications. The Publisher tool will be updated to include this tag soon.
Our web and support teams have been working hard on restoring the Feedback Tracker platform for Arma 3 and our other games. We're now getting closer to launching an improved version. After evaluating various options, we've selected a replacement framework that we can more reliably secure and administrate. Our aim is to import all the existing tickets into the new system, but we do still need to actually attempt this. Of course we do have access to the full database internally, so your hard testing and reporting work has not been in vain! We'll let you know the moment the new FT goes live. Until that time, please report issues to our forums after a quick search for similar topics.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Release Candidate 1.58, Difficulty Overhaul Phase 2, Eden Editor Improvements PRECEDENCE: Flash
Release Candidate testing for update 1.58 has now indeed begun. The access code for the Steam beta branch is Arma3Update158RC. Beware that this branch will require over a gigabyte of downloaded data, and may still be updated several times during the testing period. A few official servers are running the RC build, and more will likely follow suit. You'll find an indication of the highlighted changes on our forums, which is also where we'd like to ask you to share your feedback. Another good channel to discuss the RC is the Arma subreddit. In order to more effectively track your feedback on the #RoadToApex, a re-launch of the Feedback Tracker is still being worked on diligently by our web team.
The latest weekly dev photo is colored suspiciously orange! The awesome Team Mike, with reinforcements from Team Bravo, had organised a splendid surprise party for their departing Dutch brethren, who will soon be opening the new Bohemia Interactive branch in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Our own Project Lead Petr Kolář will be giving a presentation at the Game Access 2016 summit in Brno, Czech Republic. His talk will be about community management based on his Arma 3 experiences. He won't be the only Bohemian ambassador; Arma 3's Creative Director Jay Crowe will share his accumulated knowledge too. Then we have Design Lead Lukáš Haládik, who will give a lecture on game design. Senior Programmer Jan Zelený is preparing a session about development of our new in-house engine Enfusion. If you're interested and can make it to Central Europe, check out the available passes.
The community continues to crank out great new places to explore as they release full terrains. One example is the 1.0 release of Isla Abramia by IceBreakr. You can download this mod via Workshop, but be aware that you need the CUP Terrains as well.
Tilos is another custom terrain in development by Sébastien Descy. It's looking very promising and we look forward to visiting it soon.
Senior Designer Vladimír Hynek reports on the second phase of a Difficulty Overhaul arriving to Dev-Branch. This phase focuses on dividing the options over groups and renaming some for better comprehensibility. There are also more specific and subtle changes, so we'd like to invite you to our Community Wiki for a detailed overview. Scripters should especially check the information about command difficultyEnabled and its replacement.
Eden Editor's developers continue to improve the scenario design tool with nice usability tweaks. Last week we already discussed that the first version of custom compositions were coming to Dev-Branch, which they now have.
It's now also possible to insert entities in 2D or 3D via a left mouse button double-click. The primary workflow to do this is now via the right-hand side Asset Browser, but there was a special request to restore the original method as an alternative.
We can also share with modders that the ability to add custom in-editor tutorials has been documented by Senior Designer Karel Mořický. Finally and more generally, there now is an ability for certain User Interface controls to support multi-line text. This may make entering larger snippets of script more convenient. Further Eden Editor improvements are on the horizon, so keep checking Dev-Branch.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Upcoming Update, Eden Editor Compositions, Ports Updated PRECEDENCE: Flash
Preparations for the 1.58 main branch update are beginning to kick off this week on the #RoadToApex. That means we'll be creating a snapshot of the data and code, and we'll start organizing an intensive testing period. Besides regular maintenance of the platform and game, the update is to include the Tasks Overhaul. Several additional improvements are being mobilized for Dev-Branch deployment this week. We're quite excited about those, but their inclusion into this particular update is still unsure. Keep your sights trained on our channels for more information as well as details about Release Candidate tests starting.
The mod team behind FFAA has published another development update in a SITREP of their own. Read all about their progress on the forums, but especially take a look at the accompanying video. The Spanish Navy B.A.M. offshore patrol ship, with functional components and weapon systems, looks especially impressive.
Community author RedKeyMon has published a lovely screenshot of a pilot and his wingman flying jets above Altis. But that's certainly not the only cool shot posted to the Steam Community Hub. Another great source for visual stimulation is the Arma subreddit, which this gallery and this one clearly show. Check those channels out for yourself every now and then; we find the activity both inspiring and motivating!
If there's one feature we're eager to add to Eden Editor, it's the ability to create and share custom compositions. We're happy to let you know that a first version should be arriving to Dev-Branch very soon. Select a mix of entities of any type, and save the composition under its own name, with an associated author and category. These compositions will be saved as new kind of file (SQE), separate from scenarios, so you can manage and share them manually if you wish. Of course we'll want these to be shareable on Steam Workshop as well, but that may take a little longer.
Meanwhile, we've added an option to disable the random starting position for the editor. The randomization is intended to expose interesting locations to users, but we can imagine it being less useful in the workflow of some advanced designers. Go to "Settings" and then "Preferences..." (or Ctrl + K) to find the toggle.
As was announced last week, the Linux and Mac ports have been updated to 1.54 (Nexus Update). Given longer testing in-the-wild, and based on your feedback, we've adjusted the minimum and recommended system requirements for these ports specifically (they differ from the Windows version). Further information, such as known issues, is being collected on our Community Wiki. We'd also like to remind users that the Steam beta branches should not be used for the port platforms. There is no way for us to hide them just for Linux and Mac. Selecting them should not download any data, but if it does, that data would be incompatible. Stay on main branch for the ports please. And be sure to let us and Virtual Programming know about your experiences with this version on our forums!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Ports Update, Tasks Overhaul, Scripting Additions PRECEDENCE: Flash
It has been a while since we had concrete information to share about the experimental client ports to Linux and Mac OS. We've finally received the green light to release the 1.54 version (so that is not yet Eden Update). The plan is to publish these updates tomorrow for people who've installed Arma 3 on those platforms (this does not affect Windows players in any way). Our tech partners at Virtual Programming will then proceed to work on the next update, but we cannot yet say when it will be ready. As we communicated when we first opened the public beta for these ports, the timing of port updates cannot be guaranteed. In this case for example, our QA teams needed to prioritize 1.56 testing of the primary Windows version, causing extra delays for the ports. We do however see good support on the port platforms, so we've decided to continue updating them this year. We can also say that BattlEye anti-cheat support should finally arrive to a future update of the ports.
For the most part we expect Eden Editor to intuitively expose its functionality to scenario designers while they use it. You may however wish to broaden your knowledge of its features and workflows via the in-editor tutorials. There is a collection of topics, such as entity editing, scenario attributes, and an introduction to veteran users of the legacy 2D Editor. Relevant information is accompanied by interface highlights to show you where to go. You can access the tutorials via the "Help" menu bar option, and then selecting "Tutorials...". Or press the special tutorials button in the top-right corner of the interface (under the eXit-button, marked by ! if new lessons are available). Going over all topics will unlock the new "Model Student" Steam Achievement, only received by 0.1% of the global community during its brief existence so far.
Especially cool for modders is the ability to add new tutorials, used to explain custom attributes for example. We'll have documentation on that shortly via Community Wiki. Another testimony to the openness of the tool is an editor mod by R3vo. This adds new scripted functionality to the editor, without creating dependencies on mods in the resulting scenario (i.e. players will not need this mod). On the topic of extending the editor's functionality, do take a look at this splendid guide by Foxhound International. It explains how to execute ad hoc scripting code within the editor to manipulate entities. One useful sample is applying random rotation to a large collection of props.
Are you ready to watch another one of those special pieces of Arma cinematography? Our comrades in the ARMA Finland community shared a very pretty montage with us. Check it out!
Slated for release in 1.58, the first version of an engine-based Tasks Overhaul has been staged on Dev-Branch. The objective of this cooperative effort by Designer / Programmer duo Jiří Wainar and Marcel Marciš is to make the framework more robust and user-friendly. It makes it possible to visualize multiple tasks and to interact with tasks in a nicer way overall. Designers can also extend tasks with custom data, such as required equipment or the number of people assigned. Documentation on this work will grow on our Community Wiki (you can also see documentation on the former scripted approach, that will be considered legacy from 1.58 onward). Your feedback can still help to shape this feature going forward!
While big changes often get the spotlight, the scripting possibilities in Arma 3 have continued to be expanded via requests from our own designers and community scripters alike. R&D Designer Killzone Kid is one of the people coordinating these changes, with great support from our engineers, such as Senior Programmers Jan Mareček and BXBX. Recent examples were the additions of useful Event Handlers: GetInMan, GetOutMan, SeatSwitchedMan and of course Reloaded. As for script commands, you might like animateSource and animationSourcePhase. These are counterparts to the existing animate and animationPhase, but they will let model config animators control animations in one consistent way (it's not recommended to mix these command sets). Let's imagine we have several animations that make up the mechanical movements of a weapon firing. Before you might have had to trigger these, step-by-step, via script. The new commands could be used to trigger all of them with a single command call, reducing the multiplayer traffic footprint. Follow the Dev-Branch change log to review what other goodies arrive to scripters on a daily basis.
There was a small hotfix release for 1.56 and the Tools last week. It mainly addressed issues in complex Eden Editor use cases and several multiplayer problems. We have more fixes in the works, but felt it was good to bring those we had confirmed to main branch sooner. Explore the SPOTREP and TECHREP for the details.
We'll leave you with a glimpse of what's on the horizon ...
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Apex Pre-Order, Difficulty Overhaul, Dynamic Character Specialties, Legacy 2D Editor PRECEDENCE: Flash
A lot of you played Arma 3 over the past weekend! The concurrent player peak was the highest we've ever recorded, almost 50,000 people at the same time. There were close to 200,000 unique players on Sunday alone. Of course this was in part because of an Arma Franchise Weekend sale we ran on Steam, and people digging into the sandbox via Eden Editor. That sandbox keeps expanding as well; there are now over 1000 mods on Workshop. We've been addressing more of the issues mentioned last week, and are preparing a small hotfix to 1.56 for this week. Other parts of the team steadily continue their work on Apex, with more and more assets coming online for Tanoa. The platform improvements are being evaluated and mapped to the various main branch updates that are planned for the #RoadToApex.
The Apex expansion was already available to pre-order on the Bohemia Interactive Store, but can now also be pre-purchased via Steam. It's currently still 20% discounted in both stores compared to the eventual launch price. To remind everyone: this expansion will require the Arma 3 base game. We've now also fully retired the Extended Edition and replaced it with an even better deal for new recruits: Apex Edition. It includes the game, digital extras, Karts / Helicopters / Marksmen DLC and of course Apex. For an up-to-date overview of all actual editions and their contents, please visit this page.
Copilots don't get the credit they deserve. Andrew "Dslyecxi" Gluck posted the latest episode in his Art of Flight video series a while ago to address that injustice. Using awesome Arma 3 footage, he explains what responsibilities copilots have in non-gunship helicopters. He covers in-vehicle comms, sensor pods, orientation and common procedures. The video shows you how effective a well-trained helicopter crew can be above the battlefield!
Senior Designer Vladimír Hynek has some notes to share about the way the difficulty settings are going to be handled in Apex (and even before that as we plan to apply these changes in the next main branch update: 1.58). He has described the first phase of this difficulty overhaul on the Community Wiki. The ultimate goal is to make it easier for players to join servers according to their tastes. The changes should lead to enhanced filtering capabilities in the server browser.
The programmers have recently added 2 script commands that may offer interesting possibilities especially to scripters and modders: setSpeciality / getSpeciality. These allow for the possibility to dynamically override certain character attributes that are normally only defined in addon configuration files. There are two groups of attributes, namely specialty toggles and coefficients. The former are: medic, engineer, pyrotechnic and uavhacker, which are true or false. The latter are: camouflageCoef, audibleCoef, fatigueCoef, which are multiplied by the value provided. It's also possible to define custom toggles by using your own string. This might be used to track an entirely new attribute for a mod, like a hypothetical "bananaFarmer". It's important to realize that these values are for the currently running scenario only. They are saved in the character brains, so they should be respawn-compatible.
Now that Eden Editor is available to everyone, we'd like to clarify our plans for the old 2D Editor. You will have seen that editor is currently still available as non-default. Our plan is to deprecate that editor by the time we release Apex (and its corresponding platform update). In all likelihood that means it would be removed from the game, because we'd want to focus on one tool and not support two full code-bases. We feel that Eden can do everything the old editor could and much more. In case you didn't realize, there is a 2D map mode in the Eden 3D Editor as well! If you feel something is missing or not working how you'd like, please don't hesitate to let us know via the forums.
Did you participate in the most meta Eden Editor trend of building your own PC gaming set up yet? There are bonus kudos for modding in custom models of your rig, while using multiple Render Targets and Arma 3-in-Arma 3 technology!
As we cautioned before the update, this was a particularly complex one, containing many low-level improvements. Those always carry the risk of issues in the broader player-base, even after several weeks of Release Candidate testing, in-house and in the wild. Some of them were nicely caught ahead of release, as evidenced by the RC update log. Good job everyone! We're monitoring many channels to find out about the most pressing issues, and will address them as quickly as possible. There may also be a hotfix release in the near future. Some of the things that are bleeping most prominently on our radars: no sounds at all ( known issue caused by a -cpuCount=1 start-up parameter, so please remove or change it for now), Terrain Builder not working with the new P3D version (fixed on its Dev-Branch), several Eden Editor issues in more complex scenarios (some fixed on Dev-Branch), and several others. Thank you for your understanding and help to get things under control together.
We think the audio upgrade released in Eden Update is a massive leap forward for immersion. Our audio team, lead by Jan Dušek, has put together a third top 10 blog about the most interesting improvements. Now that our vanilla combat SFX have been given a lot of love, we're working on extending the new technology to several other categories of sounds. It's also going to be interesting to hear what the various mods will do with this new-found power and flexibility. Documentation is growing on the Community Wiki, however it's not quite completed just yet.
Our tech partners at NVIDIA have published an interview with Project Lead Petr Kolář about HBAO+ being added in Eden Update 1.56. If you're not sure what this feature does, we defer to their description: "If you're unfamiliar with Ambient Occlusion (AO), it adds contact shadows where two surfaces or objects meet, and where an object blocks light from reaching another nearby game element. The AO technique used and the quality of the implementation affects the shadowing's accuracy, and whether new shadows are formed when the level of occlusion is low. With HBAO+, the quality of Arma 3's AO is improved, bolstering overall fidelity, which further increases graphical fidelity.". The article also contains several interactive comparison images to get a better idea of the difference with prior AO techniques. Try this in the game yourself by going to CONFIGURE > VIDEO > AA & PP and selecting a level of HBAO+ in the AO drop-down.
Welcome to the new era of scenario editing in Eden Editor. Principle developers Karel Mořický and Filip Sádovský already celebrated the occasion as seen on the latest weekly dev photo. We'd like to also thank QA Specialist Vojtěch Kovařič for his battle to test the complicated editor with full back-compat throughout its development, as well as anyone else involved. Did you know that the editor alone consists of over 40000 lines of code? We can also report that the first iteration of documentation is finished, covering basic functionality and modding the editor, complete with pretty GIFs.
This is by no means the end state of Eden Editor. We're already going over our own wishlist and the most frequently requested community features in order to draw up a post-release plan. There are a few things that are pretty clear we'll work on first, besides fixing issues:
A big one is the saving and sharing of compositions. That means you would be able to build a cool military outpost, save it, publish it to Workshop most probably, and then anybody could use it in their scenarios. But compositions are not just limited to props; you could include pre-set infantry patrols as well for example.
We're also aware that some of you would like to re-map certain controls, so that's on the list. We'd like to tackle this for other areas of the game as well, such as the Spectator mode.
What about Zeus? Some of the relevant Eden Editor improvements can hopefully be brought back to that mode, such as search.
There's more, but we'll save that for a later time. Keep letting us know about your thoughts on the forums.
Besides listing required mods and providing shortcuts for activating them, the newLauncher Server Browser can also resolve dependencies automatically in some cases. This requires server administrators to pair the mods with Steam Workshop items via a definition file. Visit the Community Wiki for documentation on this fairly simple process.
You may have already noticed that we've taken the Feedback Tracker(s) offline to deal with a potential security incident. Apparently there are those people who prefer us not to improve the game! The tracker ran on a separate third-party system, so other systems were not affected by this. If you used the same credentials for FT and other systems, please update them as a precaution (more information). While the FT is offline, we'd like to ask you to post issues on our forums, specifically the troubleshooting category, unless a more suitable category or thread exists (kindly try searching first). Our web team is working on restoring FT as quickly as possible, so we can all collaborate on making our games better in a transparent way.
We have discovered a potential security breach of the Mantis Feedback Tracker systems, which we use to collect feedback and bug reports for our games Arma 3 (feedback.arma3.com) and DayZ (feedback.dayz.com).
While there is currently no evidence which indicates that the hackers were successful in their attempt to collect user data, we have decided to take all Feedback Tracker systems offline, so we can investigate the issue further.
As a safety precaution, even though we do not believe user data was accessed, we strongly recommend all users of feedback.arma3.com and feedback.dayz.com who have used the same password elsewhere to change it immediately on all applicable websites and services. Since the Feedback Tracker systems use their own account systems, we can confirm that other Bohemia systems, such as Bohemia Accounts, were not compromised.
We would like to apologize for the inconvenience. We hope to restore the Feedback Tracker systems, or implement suitable replacements, as soon as possible. In the meantime, we recommend users to post their feedback and bug reports to the appropriate threads on the Bohemia Interactive Forums (forums.bistudio.com) or DayZ Forums (forums.dayz.com).
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users UNIT: Main Branch (Windows) ACTIVITY: Game Update: 1.56 (Eden Update, Eden Editor, Combat Audio, Launcher-Based Server Browser, Fonts) SIZE: ~1.8 GB / ~694 MB
Consider using the Steam client option to verify the integrity of the local game cache to avoid corrupted data after downloading this update.
Consider defragmenting your HDD after downloading large updates.
A Legacy Build Steam branch is available for advanced users. It contains the previous significant main branch version (1.54). It can be used to compare specific changes between major releases. The access code for this branch is: Arma3Legacy154
On February 16, 2016, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00143
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Eden Editor Dev Diary, Top 10 Server Browser, Font Metrics PRECEDENCE: Flash
We're getting closer and closer to Eden Update's release. There are a few fixes we'd like to confirm via in-house multiplayer tests. Play-testing the publicly available Release Candidate for 1.56 is still very relevant as well. If you do spot new issues, let us know on Feedback Tracker and share the link on the forums to make sure we catch it. We'd like to release the update this week if we can, so stay connected to our usual channels.
We're also interested in your thoughts on the translation of Eden Editor's texts. Localization coordinator Vojtěch Schubert welcomes your feedback in this forums thread. It's unlikely there will be many more tweaks before the upcoming update, but there is an opportunity to improve wording, phrasing and other linguistic aspects later.
We introduced our new Playable Content Designer Jan Čepera in last week's report. Inspired by this first sighting, our embedded reporters captured a glimpse of the illusive prey in his natural habit on last week's dev photo. Are you interested in a job with Bohemia Interactive yourself? Check whether our careers page has any relevant openings for you!
Congratulations to the ALiVE mod team on their 1.0 release! Having been developed for over 3 years, this advanced modular framework lets users set up large-scale military operations to provide hours upon hours of dynamic gameplay. A lot of multiplayer units and communities have been using versions of this mod in their sessions with great results. They have also hinted at a strategic change of direction, which will see them moving to an open development method in cooperation with the community. You'll find all the details, credits, download links and documentation in their forums announcement post.
The new fonts in Eden Update already enhanced legibility to a large degree, but there was something still not quite right. Senior Programmer Lukáš Bábíček took it upon himself to introduce font metrics which allow for improved kerning. The end result may be hard to notice without direct comparison, but it should make texts even more comfortable to read. And on that note, if you're reading this report on our website, you'll notice we've switched to the new fonts there as well now, tying together the game, Launcher and web.
One change in 1.56 is to disable stencil shadows in the Video Options, and to replace the lowest quality setting with lower quality shadow buffer shadows. Programming Lead Ondřej Martinák shines a light on this tweak: "Stencil shadows are still present in the game for certain objects (characters and vehicles). The reason is that they look better in some circumstances such as first-person view. We have removed the option to force stencil shadows for all objects as it didn't help performance nor quality (which it did in the past). This removal also allows us to automatically generate shadow LODs (using shadow maps) for objects. This lets us speed up building art production, and might help community terrain creators in a similar way."
Another huge addition in Eden Update is the Launcher-based Server Browser. We've published the second in our series of top 10 blogs about that useful new way of getting to a good multiplayer session. Use more powerful filters, skip the main menu, resolve Workshop mod requirements, and generally have a better experience when looking for online fun.
We don't really have a comprehensive status update about our experimental ports to Linux and Mac OS. The 1.54 update for these platforms is still being tested and platform-specific issues are being dealt with. Some of the recent testing was affected by needing QA for the primary Windows 1.56 build. So the port update is still in progress, and we'll try to get it live as soon as we can.