FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Unusual Process Exit, Remote Script Execution, Leaderboards PRECEDENCE: Flash
The forthcoming 1.48 update will bring further stability improvements and some community-requested script commands to the game. Besides that, we're also wanting to roll out the first proper version of the improved remote script execution tech. Especially scenario designers and server administrators may want to keep reading this report to learn more and to determine whether their concerns have been addressed. We've also included information for those who are experiencing start-up issues with the game. While some of these are caused by the game itself, there are also many investigated cases where the problems lie with the hardware, Operating System, drivers or malware to name a few factors. We have provided various possible detection methods and solutions for those cases. Getting them solved will make it easier for us to identify and fix issues with the game itself, and of course make sure everyone can enjoy Arma 3! Our plan is to prepare the test data for 1.48 at the end of this week, and then enter the usual Release Candidate testing process.
Since you may have encountered the dreaded "Unusual process exit" error, also known as "Arma 3 has quit in an unusual manner". Because this error is often shown on top of the Launcher, many thought it indicated an issue with the Launcher itself. However, the Launcher is merely the messenger in this case. Don't shoot it. It detects the game has been closed incorrectly, such as when the Operating System (OS) is unable to start the game properly, or the game crashes. The exit code is provided by the OS and is not always clear, nor can we be sure what the cause is. We can however provide as much as information as possible, and list a number of potential solutions. Launcher Programmer Jiří Polášek has done a great job of collecting the information we have so far on this page. We'll be updating it when we learn more. It's also planned for the Launcher to incorporate more information and automated corruption detection directly. Meanwhile, you may benefit from tools like the Windows System File Checker to ensure your OS is in good condition.
We should clarify the ownership situation of the future expansion that will contain Tanoa. The only edition or bundle of the game which currently includes the expansion is the Supporter Edition. This was a special version during our public Alpha and Beta, and it's no longer available for purchase. It contained the game, all DLC and all not stand-alone expansions, as well as a mention in the in-game credits. The DLC Bundle does not contain the expansion, neither does the Digital Deluxe Edition. We'll announce the exact distribution options and pricing closer to release.
Arma 3 is a game for creators. The editor is their home. As Arma veterans know, this is where the sandbox nature of the game excels. By combining the gameplay mechanics and simulation of many aspects of the game, you can quickly make something fun. Pick a cool location, insert a few AI squads and give them simple movement waypoints. Then just make yourself the player in control of any of the units and experience the battle. When you are looking to design a more elaborate mission, multiplayer mode, narrative cutscene or mechanic, a powerful high-level scripting language is available. A huge reference guide of commands is being maintained on our Community Wiki by developers and community members, such as Killzone Kid, who also hosts an excellent blog on the topic of advanced scripting. We also recommend this series of video tutorials created by Jester814!
Achievement"Relentless Creator" (1.1%) requires you spend over 100 hours in the game's scenario editor (EDITOR > select a terrain > start creating). It does not matter whether this is time in the actual 2D User Interface, or time previewing a scenario from the editor. If you're used to the editor layout of older Arma games, you can switch between the Streamlined and Traditional interfaces via the menu accessible by Ctrl + L. Clicking the underscore _ in the top-right menu bar hides most of the UI. Several advanced tools can also come in handy. Ctrl + D opens the Debug Console, which you can use to execute script code or to watch the value of variables. The Functions Viewer opens by Ctrl + F and provides in-game documentation of all scripted functions (covering mathematical and other common operations). Finally, Ctrl + G launches the Config Viewer, where you can explore the run-time configuration of almost every aspect of the game. And, any skills you pick up now will quite comfortably carry over to the new 3D scenario editor that is under development!
The engine-supported remote script execution technology has now reached a feature complete state on Dev-Branch. ProgrammerRichard Biely is squashing a few more bugs, but we'd like to roll this out in 1.48. BIS_fnc_MP would not yet use it by default, but the underlying tech could be tested on a large scale. We believe the concerns regarding control and limitation of the feature have been addressed. Please take a good look at the remoteExec, remoteExecCall and CfgRemoteExec documentation. Let us know on the forums whether you believe we've missed potential security holes or there are other problems you have with the implementation.
Another technology that has seen its debut on Dev-Branch recently is support for Steam Leaderboards. The game has been integrated with the Steamworks API for a long time, and that made exposing this feature a reasonably straight-forward proposition for Senior Programmer Lukáš Gregor. To begin with, we've used the technology to add simple leaderboards for official Time Trials. A next logical step will be to port this implementation to Firing Drills. You can actually view the global rankings of every trial here, or filter for your Steam friends instead. Our design philosophy is to focus on comparing your results with your friends first, after that look at results around you, and only then look at the entire world. The open nature of the game makes it very hard to guard fully against exploits, so it may be that the worldwide top results become less-than-believable over time. We should also tell you that it's possible we'll need to reset the boards during the testing phase. We're also considering whether there is a way we can roll out access to custom leaderboards for unofficial mod(e)s. The script commands cannot now be used without hard-coded permissions (similar to Achievements).
Scenario designers beware! Tools Commissar Julien Vida asked us to inform you about 1.48's changes to the randomization of (FIA) headgear and facewear, as well as the method of disabling of Vehicle Customization (VhC). Please check your scenarios for compatibility. Julien will also be writing an OPREP on the topic of VhC in the near future.
A small group of players have reported their game suffers from mini-freezes when clicking or moving. BattlEye has investigated many of these reports, and in all cases so far, the cause has been malware, adware or other Potentially Unwanted Programs. These programs cause certain DLLs to be infinitely reloaded and choke the anti-cheat service. Please use trusted anti-malware software to scan your computer for threats and to repair them.
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Tanoa Reveal, First Expansion Details, Naked Eye FoV PRECEDENCE: Flash
Welcome to Tanoa! It was a great joy for us all to finally introduce our next Arma 3 terrain to you. The South Pacific archipelago will be the main component of the game's expansion that is to be released during the first half of 2016. How we intend to release the expansion will be outlined more specifically in a new road map blog over the next few weeks. We can confirm that this expansion is premium, and will follow our DLC strategy (the terrain being a new aspect as you will need to own the expansion for access). Any vehicles, weapons and other content is treated similarly to the try-before-you-buy approach in Helicopters / Marksmen DLC. Features developed alongside are to be free for everyone who owns the game. And, those people who contributed from the beginning by purchasing the Supporter Edition, do indeed already own this expansion (it's not stand-alone). Thank you again for the support during the early Alpha days!
While we were packing our bags to head to Los Angeles and E3, a little leak sprung in our web pipes. This was not deliberate nor a hack of any kind. It was caused by a glitch in account management on the company website, which gave access to our pre-published blog with screenshots. Fortunately for us, the trailer was safe. At the PC Gaming Show we dropped the first moving pictures of Tanoa, which should give you a good impression of the atmosphere, while keeping lots of key areas for you to explore yourselves.
Let's go over some of the things you might have noticed in the trailer and screenshots !
We consider the terrain to be geotypical Fiji, but it's not an exact recreation of that real-world location (it's a mix of various satellite heightmaps, so not geospecific). We'll be further discussing our motivations for this (awesome) setting later.
A new fixed-wing aircraft and a waterscooter will be part of the expansion. But fear not; the focus remains military. We're just not ready to reveal those vehicles, weapons and characters yet.
You can see work-in-progress water reflections, improved shoreline effects and enhanced overall lighting configuration. These technologies and features will arrive to everyone, and to the existing Arma 3 terrains. These are also not all features coming alongside the expansion! We'll discuss more and more as the year goes on.
Most of the audio is not yet from in-game recordings, but it gives an impression of how we want to push the soundscape further, especially in terms of ambient audio. The goal is to deeply immerse you in our "green hell"!
As the opening disclaimer points out: the terrain is still in the middle of production. Many of the objects you see in the distance are early placeholders. We're very happy that it already looks and feels this good now!
The PC Gaming Show itself was a lot of fun to attend. We had originally wanted to reveal Tanoa a little later in the year, but when this opportunity came around, we jumped on it. The team scrambled to work on specific parts of the terrain to show off, and they did a great job under some significant time pressure. As a sponsor, Bohemia Interactive was given two 5 minute slots for our games, so we got one segment for Arma 3 and one for DayZ/Take On Mars. It was high time for a PC-focused event at E3! We're very glad PC Gamer took on the challenge of organizing one. Big thanks to Sean "Day9" Plott as well for doing a great job of hosting the entire 2.5 hour show!
We hope you are as excited as we are to start running operations on Tanoa. Prepare for the war on the horizon!
Dev Branch has received a few useful script commands. In the case of param and params, the idea was to replicate previously scripted behavior and make it faster and more reliable. Senior Designer Karel Mořický elaborates: "This is a command for reading function parameters and making sure they are in the correct format. If it's not the case, the user is warned and a safe default value is used instead. This functionality was until now provided by scripted function BIS_fnc_param, but a dedicated engine command makes it significantly faster."
In his free time, Senior Designer Josef Zemánek has been working on an unofficial multiplayer game mode: Warlords. He describes the mode as a Sector Control / Capture The Island hybrid that supports Team-versus-Team, Player-versus-Player and Cooperative play. Subscribe to the mode directly on Steam Workshop and give it a go. Josef is keen to read about your experiences, so leave him some feedback for future iterations. We would like to reiterate that this work is entirely unofficial, and we do not provide (technical) support for it via official channels.
Our very own Encoding Lead Petr Kolář has made tweaks to the Field of View of the naked eye perspectives: "Users of Dev-Branch may have noticed our effort to make Field of View consistent for all weapons and vehicle positions without optics. This should not only provide players with a consistent experience of default zoom and focused view, but it should also address issues regarding the inconsistent display of optics magnification descriptions. We hope that the changes are going to provide smoother gameplay while changing various weapons and vehicle seats. Feel free to provide feedback in case we have missed something."
Even though it's been almost two weeks, we'd like to provide a few more details about the 1.46 hotfix (see the SPOTREP). Update 1.46 was not a good one initially, and we apologize again for the issues it caused.
The DXGI_ERROR_DEVICE_REMOVED crash should have been fixed in the majority of cases. If it does still happen, you may also want to check your display drivers, GPU temperatures and power supply. Our special thanks go out to community member Mickeymen, who provided us with the only reliable repro scenario that allowed our programmers to connect a debugger to affected PCs and trace where the drivers crashed.
A crash observed mostly in Epoch mod was not yet fully fixed, though Dev-Branch should now contain a full fix for that as well.
As discussed previously, we have indeed decided to take the slow route with BattlEye 's white-listing. It does not block extensions for now and only gathers information for a future iteration. The goal here still is a more secure multiplayer environment for everyone.
If you still encounter start-up issues, please first of all try to disable any custom shader mods or registry / memory tweaks. It is also possible your user settings got corrupted and will prevent the game from starting via Steam. As an interim hotfix, you can run a tool via the Arma 3 Tools Dev-Branch or this mirror by Launcher programmer Jiří Polášek.
Linux server administrators may be helped by this comprehensive guide on setting up such server (including DLC and mods). Thanks Eric Grubaugh for updating and sharing it!
From PC Gaming Show, new Arma3 Terrain Exclusive World Premiere video, as a part of the upcoming Expansion coming in 2016.
Take a first look at your next destination in Arma 3: Tanoa – a South Pacific archipelago with a land mass of over 100 km˛, and home to lush tropical vegetation, unique landmarks, a rich history, and imposing man-made feats of modern engineering. www.arma3.com/tanoa
Tanoa will be available as part of an upcoming expansion for Arma 3. The expansion is scheduled to be released in the first half of 2016, and will be distributed as DLC for the base Arma 3 game.
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users UNIT: Main Branch ACTIVITY: Hotfix: 1.46 (Display Driver Crashes, Server Crashes, BattlEye White-Listing) SIZE: ~17 MB / ~6 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 (1.44). It can be used to compare specific changes between major releases. The access code for this branch is: Arma3Legacy144
You can find the servers in the Steam library (switch the filter to "Tools") - "Arma 3 Server" (based on your OS, it will download the Windows or Linux version).
Administrators can also use the command-line SteamCMD utility. The app ID is to be 233780.
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: E3 PC Gaming Show, Terrain World Premiere, Update 1.46 Released, AI Ammo Usage PRECEDENCE: Flash
Next Tuesday is going to be a long night for members of our team and parts of the community! We've announced our participation in the PC Gaming Show organized by PC Gamer around E3 2015. The event will be held at 18:00 PDT, which puts it in the middle of the night here in Europe. Whether you watch the livestream or a recording the next day, we think you'll be as excited as we are!
Creative Director Jay Crowe and yours truly will be on stage in Los Angeles to bring you the worldwide reveal of our next big terrain! The team has been working on this key component of the Expansion for months. It's great to be able to finally share the setting and first glimpses of key locations. Kudos to our E3 Task Force, headed by Environment Lead Martin Pezlar, whose members have worked extra hard to have something cool to show for you. Join the Facebook event, keep an eye on the countdown (we're loving your theories and speculation based on the clues provided), and monitor our channels for all the specifics.
We are seeking a User eXperience designer for our Arma 3 team in Brno. What does that entail? "As a UX Designer, you will become a part of a dedicated team responsible for both in-game systems and stand-alone applications. Your role in the team will focus on the direction of the development including taking care of the product backlog and feature priorities. Your deliverables will take a form of design analyses and UI mockups. Moreover, you will be a go-to person for stakeholders and players alike, having to process and turn their feedback into a better product." Visit the careers page to apply!
Besides the playable content we deliver with the vanilla game, there is a huge library of user-generated scenarios for you to play. Steam Workshop hosts close to 14000! Sure, not all of them are as awesome, but there are true gems to be found. As a complement to "Contributor", there is the "Subscriber" achievement. It's one of the simplest ones out there, which is why it has reached 17.7% global unlocks so far. All you need to do is subscribe to a Workshop scenario.
The 101 guide will explain how to subscribe if it isn't clear already. You can also do so entirely from within the game. Go to PLAY > SCENARIOS and press the WORKSHOP button. This will open the Steam overlay, where you can press the green + button to subscribe to an item. Steam client will download the scenario in the background. It should appear in the list quickly (you can sort by name, time added and rating). And then you're ready to play. Liked the scenario? Favorite it, leave the author some feedback (be kind to other players and use spoiler tags where appropriate) and submit a rating!
As for the Workshop pages themselves: you can sort by popularity over time, rating, time added and the amount of subscriptions. It's also possible to follow the authors you like, or to view your friends' favorites and published items. The tags for scenarios currently include those for gameplay, type, map (terrain) and DLC. We are however working on revising this to make the Workshop better to navigate and to discover content in. There are also collections of scenarios, such as those for Make Arma Not War. Finally, custom scenarios can be a great way of exploring both official and unofficial (OtherMap tag) terrains. You'll often visit places you haven't seen before. We're already looking forward to your creations on the upcoming Expansion terrain.
Before we present our 2015 / 2016 roadmap for the entire game, Audio Lead Jan Dušek brings you an in-depth look at our future plans for audio. In his OPREP "Audio Roadmap Update", he begins by evaluating the work done for Marksmen DLC. What follows is a detailed list of features and technologies that we are planning to work on for the Expansion. We should state clearly that we cannot promise all of this will happen, but we felt we could at least lay out our vision for audio in Arma 3. If even a fraction of this is accomplished, the game's soundscape should be that much richer and more immersive. Thanks to the community for submitting your questions via Megagoth; they helped to structure both this report and development plans generally
Senior Programmer Krzysztof Bielawski has assumed the role of Drill Sergeant for our Artificial Intelligence soldiers. He's added a new parameter for ammo configuration: AIAmmoUsageFlags. This flag does not force AI behavior, but it let's it know how the ammunition can be used. Our initial motivation for this was to train the AI to throw smoke grenades appropriately to mask their movements while suppressed. This has since led to a broader re-factoring with the help of other developers.
The Encoding department has already set the parameter for most vanilla ammunition types. Modders can start doing so as well. A little more information and values were shared on the forums by Designer Ondřej Kužel. Not all usage flags are currently checked in the engine (only Concealment, Countermeasures and the various Offensive flags are). This is still a work-in-progress. And there's more, as Krzysztof reports: "Along with adding a new parameter, we took the opportunity to clean up some older ones. allowAgainstInfantry will still be read, but internally the engine converts it to the corresponding new flag. The airLock param will not be used for AI decisions anymore, but it still is used to define whether the player has the ability to lock the ammo onto a given type of target (ground or air)."
Update 1.46's release was a difficult one. It should be obvious, but of course we only want to make the game better, smoother and more secure. While the update delivered modest steps forward in those areas for many, there is also a large group of players who are experiencing critical issues. We can try to explain why it's so extremely difficult to update a live moddable game on the open PC platform, but in the end you should not have to worry about it. The game should just work. We're doing everything we can to get to that state quickly. You could consider switching back to Legacy Build 1.44 (access code Arma3Legacy144) meanwhile, but that's not without its limitations. What are the main areas of concern?
We explained the BattlEye (BE) white-listing process last week. It was expected that initially there would be legitimate applications and processes that needed to be approved. BE's team has done that, and some popular applications should already work now. Others actually offer built-in compatibility such as Open Broadcaster Software. Various issues can also be solved by reading through the BE F.A.Q. or contacting their support team if that fails. Having said that, we are considering lowering the level of protection (and strictness of blocking) temporarily to gather more information. This will slow progress towards a more secure public game, but should reduce the amount of issues people are having.
There exists a bad crash of various display drivers. It produces very little information besides a DXGI_ERROR_DEVICE_REMOVED message. We also know it happens in some other games, but don't deny that this update has potentially increased the frequency for Arma 3. While we work on a fix, we have spotted some users who claim success by downgrading their drivers.
Another crash is currently quite common in the Epoch mod, but not necessarily limited to it. Again, we're collecting information and with the mod team's cooperation, are trying to isolate the cause.
Thank you for your patience and all the valuable information you've shared to isolate the major issues. To end this report on a positive note, modders should check out the latest TECHREP for Arma 3 Tools 0.90 information, including some cool usability improvements for FSM Editor for example.
It's almost time for one of the most exciting gaming events of the year: E3 - and this year promises to be extra special, with the first ever event dedicated to PC gaming in the history of E3!
Hosted by Sean 'Day' Plott, the PC Gaming Show will take place on Tuesday, June 16, from 18:00 to 20:00 PDT (Wednesday, June 17, 01:00 - 03:00 UTC). In partnership with Twitch, the PC Gaming Show will be streamed live on http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer/, and feature new game reveals, updates on beloved series, and perspectives from key PC developers.
Starting the countdown today, one of the things you can look forward to will be the much-anticipated exclusive world premiere of Arma 3's new terrain, which will debut as part of a major expansion coming in 2016. In addition, Bohemia Interactive's Early Access titles, DayZ and Take On Mars are also scheduled to appear on the show.
Remember to mark it down in your calendar, and join us for the countdown at www.arma3.com/countdown. See you there!
Korneel van 't Land has informed us about PC Gaming Show featuring new Arma3 Terrain Exclusive World Premiere, as a part of the upcoming Expansion coming in 2016.
Bohemia Interactive is excited to announce its participation as official sponsor in the PC Gaming Show (Powered by PC Gamer), the first event dedicated to the PC platform in the history of E3. In celebration of the golden age of PC gaming, the show will include exclusive reveals, as well as fresh industry perspectives from key PC developers.
Starting the countdown today, one of the things people can look forward to is the much-anticipated exclusive world premiere of Arma 3’s new terrain, which will debut as part of a major expansion coming in 2016. With this expansion, the Arma 3 development team aims to deliver a completely fresh experience, featuring a new large-scale terrain, military vehicles, weapons, gear, characters, scenarios, and more. In addition, Bohemia Interactive’s Early Access titles, DayZ - the open-world survival horror hybrid-MMO game created by Dean Hall - and the studio's space exploration game, Take On Mars, are also scheduled to appear on the show.
"Following in the footsteps of Chernarus and Altis, the new Arma 3 terrain is already shaping up to become one of the most compelling destinations in the series, and we can't wait to show it for the very first time at E3", said Bohemia Interactive's CEO Marek Spanel. "Meanwhile, we also have exciting news to share about DayZ and Take On Mars, which - with the great support and patience from our players - are both working towards their next milestone in Early Access development."
The PC Gaming Show will take place on June 16, from 6PM – 8PM PDT (Wednesday, June 17, 01:00 – 03:00 UTC), at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, and will be livestreamed on Twitch. Find out more at www.pcgamingshow.com.
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Meet The MANW Winners, Remote Script Execution, Extension White-Listing PRECEDENCE: Flash
As of last Friday, the Steam branch for the 1.46 Release Candidate is available for testing. If you'd like to join the test, or just pre-load the update, open Arma 3's properties in the Steam Client. Then select the BETAS tab and enter access code Arma3Update146RC. The RC branch will now be available in the drop-down above. Please be aware that you cannot connect to 1.44 main branch servers, and the RC branch may still be updated daily until release. Please submit any issues to the Feedback Tracker with clear indication of the version you're running. Early next week is when we're planning to publish this update to everyone, so there still is a solid week of testing ahead of us. Thank you all for your effort and time!
Get to know the Make Arma Not War winners! We've published a very interesting series of interviews with the winners in all categories (both individuals and team representatives). You'll get overviews straight from the creators, read about the inspiration behind their entries, and catch glimpses of their future plans. Digging deeper, there are some nice behind-the-scenes concepts, fun trivia and insight into the varied development processes. Coming from a broad range of backgrounds, it can be very inspiring to read these stories. If you are an aspiring modder yourself, be sure to check them out!
Alongside Helicopters DLC, in the free 1.34 platform update, we added 4 new Virtual Reality Training courses focusing on ... you guessed it: helicopters. You can get educated about the gameplay mechanics involved with rotary-wing flight by selecting LEARN and VR TRAINING from the main menu. This will boot up the simulation-within-simulation training hub. Select the desired topic by either shooting the 3D marker or walking to it. An unlock scheme guides your progression through the courses, starting with the "Basics". This is what each course will attempt to teach you:
Helicopter - Basics (flight basics, flight, takeoff and landing)
Helicopter - Weapon Systems (guided missiles, door gunner, unguided missiles, auto-cannon, aerial combat)
1.0% of worldwide rotor-heads have actually achieved "Virtual Pilot" thus far, meaning they have completed all 4 courses. Senior Designer Josef Zemánek suggests that sometimes it's better to just restart if you move too far away and lose control of the aircraft. It's possible to return to the hub at any time by pressing 'Esc' and selecting BACK TO HUB. We'd add that it's important to find fixed points of reference, especially in the VR world, where the unclear horizon can make it hard to orient yourself. Still wanting more detailed guides? Go through Andrew "Dslyecxi" Gluck 's Art of Flight video series!
Summer is coming! Team Bravo in the Brno office organised a well-deserved after-work BBQ. The weekly photo shows them toasting with very special beer kindly provided by fellow Czech game developer Warhorse Studios. Cheers folks!
Discussion of remote script execution last week, caused a bit of a security concern. Let's address the major points that were raised:
These commands will not yet appear in 1.46 main branch. We'll be finishing them on Dev-Branch first.
Unlike some seem to believe, remote script execution is already possible now, via scripted methods. This is now a new concept, and quite many mod(e)s leverage the capability. And yes, so too can those with ill intent.
There are BattlEye hooks that server admins can use to control these commands.
There will be further methods to control, limit and possibly diagnose the use of these commands. We believe this will lead to a more secure environment without restricting the appropriate use of this technology. We'll share our plans soon, so you can evaluate whether they covers all use cases.
Now for some sterner words: while we all benefit greatly from the open development approach, we do believe this only works when there is mutual respect. Alerting us to potential issues, such as the one above, is very much welcomed on our official channels (Feedback Tracker, forums, @Arma3Official, and various others). However, certain community creators organizing aggressive spam campaigns against the personal accounts of our developers, is not helping anyone. It should not be your first method of reaching us when there is ample time to process your feedback in a normal manner. We thank you for understanding.
Since Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead it is possible to expand the game's functionality via custom DLL extensions. These offer powerful features to the creative mod(e) out there, but can also open the game to attack. The enhanced BattlEye protection in 1.46 will require extensions to be white-listed, or their access to the game's processes will be blocked. In order to get your extension white-listed, please contact BattlEye support via its web form or support[at]battleye.com. Be sure to include the file name, a description and possibly a download link. You may also contact Online Services Consultant David Foltýn via his Twitter or the forums to speed things along. We are discussing ways of dealing with fast-moving extension development within communities, as well as a more robust extension framework generally.
On the documentation front, Designer Radko Voda has provided an essay on recoil configuration as implemented in platform update 1.42. Find not only a description of CfgRecoils, but even some tips and tricks on how to set up recoil according to your needs. The samples of weapons in Arma 3 Tools were updated to this new level of technology a while ago already.
Senior Encoder Martin Gregor brings us an explanation of a subtle change that was made a short while ago. On the topic of In-Game User Interface, he says: "Names used to show up near cross-hairs when pointing at objects in the world. In order to limit unimportant information, this is no longer the case for decorative or environmental objects. The Editor and Zeus interfaces still show the display names of the objects to creators."
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users< INFO: Update 1.46 Prep, Remote Script Execution, External 3D Artists PRECEDENCE: Flash
Now that the new BattlEye anti-cheat service has had its infrastructure tested successfully in version 1.44, we're ready for the next stage. On Dev-Branch you can try the game with full protection enabled, meaning the game has its shield up the entire time from launch to exit. You'll find a new page in the Launcher, where you can toggle the service on or off and see status messages. These changes and various multiplayer stability fixes are slated for update 1.46. We'll be taking a build snapshot this week, and aim to open a public Release Candidate branch on Friday or early next week. Stay tuned to our usual channels for details!
Publishing a scenario is easy. Publishing a fun, challenging and engaging scenario is another matter entirely. In addition to the design itself, here are a few tips to present your creation in a good way:
Go over the Mission Presentation documentation. Obviously you are free to use your own style, but there are several useful systems that can elevate your work with little effort. Configure the overview image and text, loading screen, standard cutscenes, in-game notifications and debriefing as you wish.
Avoid tag spam! The editor lets you specify tags that should make it easier for players to discover your work. Don't overdo it by selecting any tag that remotely fits the scenario. All this will do, is make the Workshop harder to search. In fact, we're considering restricting tags in some way in the near future. Pick the key aspects that fit your creation to prevent subscriber confusion. Learn more here.
Define dependencies. You can notify users of Required DLC and / or other Required (Workshop) Items. At the moment these are soft dependencies that are not handled by the game automatically, but this is an area our Launcher team is focusing on now. There is also an issue with not listing all DLC at the moment. It has been reported to Steam.
Occasionally the team has to suffer some patriotic tendencies from its Dutch duo. The weekly photo shows Encoding Lead Petr Kolář having been placed under the spell of some of the finest comfort food from the Netherlands. Our weapons of choice: pindakaas (peanut butter), stroopwafel (caramel syrup waffle) and pepermunt (peppermint). We can confirm they have made several great things happen for Arma 3 thus far!
We're in full production for the new Expansion terrain, and there is an opportunity for some of you to contribute. We want to make this terrain truly special, with lots of great places to explore. Achieving this requires a lot of art assets to be produced. We've decided to ask a few Arma modders for assistance via paid external contract work. More art capacity means more unique locations can be created. Your focus would be on creating buildings and other structures as Producer Lukáš Veselý describes on the forums. Visit the careers page for further information. We look forward to working with you to make this next huge canvas for Arma 3 awesomely detailed.
Sometimes we have opportunities to go on field trips for our games. Last week, a small delegation attended the IDET fair in Brno, Senior Designer Vladimír Hynek among them. In this case we were not researching specific technologies, but rather letting ourselves get inspired for future work on assets, features and games. It helps our designers to spend some time in fully-featured training simulators, to hold weapon systems, to see procedures in action and to speak with the people using defense and security tech in the field.
In the pursuit of optimization, Programmer Richard Biely and Designer Jiří Wainar have been working on engine-supported remote execution of script code. This was already possible via a scripted framework powered by function BIS_fnc_MP. However, using this framework results in a lot of overhead and data transfer. There now exist two new script commands on Dev-Branch : remoteExec and remoteExecCall. These will make it possible to achieve the same functionality via engine code, making it faster, using less traffic, handling Join-In-Progress better, and allowing us to increase security in the future. You can either use these commands on your own, or keep using BIS_fnc_MP. Its parameters and usage will remain the same, but it will use these new commands to do its heavy-lifting.
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Mod Appreciation Week, Web Developer Spotlight, Asset Samples PRECEDENCE: Flash
It is actually kind of tricky to give you a useful overview of our current situation. As we reported over the last couple of weeks, we find ourselves in the period between a major release (Marksmen DLC) and the start of full team production on the next big thing (Expansion). That does not mean the team is relaxing. More network messaging optimizations have found their way to Dev-Branch. We're also testing a potential fix for the server instabilities on the profiling branch. And a test plan for fully switching on the enhanced BattlEye protection is being drawn up. Until we can share with you our future plans, enjoy the game, and do please give some love to your favorite modders! #modlove2015
Join us and ModDB in celebrating Mod Appreciation Week! Ever since the early days of Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, whose demo scenario was HEX-edited into entirely new missions, our games have had a great mod community. From small creative experiments to massively successful total conversions, there has always existed a symbiotic relationship between the vanilla platform and the mods based on it. This has benefited us by expanding the reach of our games, it has helped modders to be creators and start development careers, and of course, it has provided fun for millions of players. We'll be honest; there are darker sides to modding as well, but these dwindle in comparison to the benefits. We hope to be able to better support modders in the coming years, with enriched documentation, better tools, more samples, and other endeavors that improve discoverability and fair compensation.
So, what can you do to help modders this week? Just share your appreciation! Find links to your favorite mods and tell them why they rock using #modlove2015 on social media channels.
The recent Steam Free Weekend brought in a good batch of new recruits. We recommend you give the Bootcamp mini campaign episode a chance. You can quite comfortably finish it in one play session lasting around 1-1.5 hours. For beginners, the episode is a fun starting point, which familiarizes you with the basics of movement, (map) navigation, tasks and combat. Tip: stick with your leader! But there are reasons for veterans to play the episode as well; it is a prelude to the events in the main campaign. Experience how the relationships between NATO forces, 'Greenbacks' and CSAT develop, and see a few known faces such as Colonel Andrew MacKinnon's.
The "First Deployment" achievement is awarded after simply finishing the episode. You can access it via: PLAY > CAMPAIGNS > "Prologue" or LEARN > BOOTCAMP > "Prologue". 7.6% of worldwide recruits have graduated from Bootcamp so far.
Let's hear it for another hidden hero in Arma 3's support network: Jervant Malakjan! Being a Web Developer in the Publishing division, he helps us with anything web-oriented. He is the reason we can share these SPAMREPs every week, he feeds the game's Launcher with its news, he maintains arma3.com, bistudio.com and more of our domains, and he supports all of our releases with special pages. Thanks for always accommodating our needs so quickly and expertly, Jervant!
Learning by example is still one of the more effective methods for modders. We'll keep trying to expand our range of samples in the Arma 3 Tools suite to facilitate that. You can find them in the Samples_F sub-folder. Recent additions to its Dev-Branch have been:
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Report In Interview, End Game Documentation, Livestream Recording PRECEDENCE: Flash
The third Steam Free Weekend for Arma 3 was another big success. We are both humbled and proud. You help us keep the game relevant as we're well into the second year of post-release support. Our gratitude to the community's server administrators, for whom the Free Weekends are especially stressful. We're sure all players appreciate your hard work to provide a place to play. To all players who've decided to stay with us after the trial ended, we bid you welcome to the Armaverse. The development team remains committed to making the game better for you. Besides continued work on stability and performance, we have big things in the works, such as the Expansion terrain and the 3D scenario editor.
Reporting in for an interview this time is Designer Nelson Duarte. The Q&A goes over the life of a playable content designer at Bohemia Interactive, before diving into End Game, on which Nelson is one of the primary developers. Read more about how the concept came to be, and what kind of gameplay it provides. The interview wraps up with insight into the (open) development of the mode, future plans, and a bit of casual trolling of Nelson's roots.
While you are playing "Hacker" achievement. Only added to the game in update 1.42, it has been unlocked by 0.2% of the global player-base at time of writing.
Teamwork is very important in this multiplayer mode. Both during the PvE and PvP stages, you can gain a tactical benefit by forming dynamic groups. Press 'U' to open the interface to find a group to join. Or create your own group, give it a name, invite others and promote a leader. We've provided a small range of official servers to play End Game on. You can also use an in-game server browser filter to locate sessions. Go to PLAY > MULTIPLAYER > FILTER, and then fill in "End Game" in the Mission field. Since we are still improving the mode, your feedback is welcome on our forums.
There has been a lot of interest in creating custom instances of End Game multiplayer. We've added a setup guide to the Community Wiki to explain the basics and offer some specific tips. In case you're looking to only add Revive to your scenario, take a look at how respawn templates are configured. With both pieces of documentation, do realize that we'll be continuing development and the implementation may change along the way. This applies especially to systems like Revive, which we consider scripted experimental versions of eventual tech.
Our very own CEO Marek Španěl informed the world about the availability of paper maps for Altis and Stratis (free worldwide shipping). If you own the Digital Deluxe Edition, you can find digital PDFs of these maps in your installation's Bonus folder. The printed versions look just like any real tourist destination's folded map - a great gift for any fan of Arma 3!
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Update 1.44 Released, End Game Livestream, Texture Templates PRECEDENCE: Flash
Update 1.44 has rolled off the presses and onto main branch. We thank you for your help with Release Candidate testing. Please allow a little time for all your favorite servers to update. It can take some time for the data to propagate through the entire Steam ecosystem world-wide. Until then, you may not be able to connect to all servers. If you are not seeing the game update itself, try restarting the Steam Client.
There isn't a lot to report on otherwise. We are still specifying our development road map for the rest of the year, and beyond. The various departments are planning their major tasks and assigning priorities. They are performing feasibility studies, doing analyses and building prototypes for the Expansion. It will be a while before we can share the results with you. When we do, we'll be more confident we can actually deliver what we have planned.
It's high time for another developer livestream ! Designer Nelson Duarte and Creative Director Jay Crowe are to be some of the special guests appearing to discuss End Game multiplayer. A prearranged roster of developers and community members will duke it out in a 'best of 3' battle. Join us on our official Twitch channel on Thursday May 7 at 18:30 UTC (20:30 Prague time). We'll try to also motivate a few team members to take your questions in the live chat. Please be nice to them! In all likelihood, a YouTube recording of the stream will be shared afterwards for those who cannot attend.
In a documentation on presenting your mod well in-game. Tools Commissar Julien Vida has followed up with a sample mod on Steam Workshop. After subscribing and downloading the mod, you can visit the mod's local folder for references and to be inspired for your own creations.
"Godly Creations" is the third achievement we're placing in the spotlights. It requires you to assume the role of Zeus and place a total of 200 objects. Zeus is free DLC that we introduced with update 1.16 back on April 10 2014. Its multiplayer framework lets one or more game masters curate the online experience for other players. Scenarios can be created from scratch and modified on-the-fly. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, but with great power comes great responsibility. Being a good Zeus is not easy. It can, however, provide some of the most rewarding multiplayer experiences out there. You can get a first impression of Zeus via its introduction in PLAY > SHOWCASES.
You have since elevated the global unlock percentage to 3.0%. Remember that you don't need to place all objects in a single session; the counter is stored on Steam's persistent servers. You are also not limited to official scenarios, so you can use any custom Zeus-enabled scenario as well. The real challenge of course, is not just to spam simple objects, but to build meaningful compositions for your stories. A bit of a shortcut is to place preset compositions via the CREATE tree on the right (Groups > Empty).
We've decided to do a multi-phased roll-out for the improved BattlEye anti-cheat software. What does that mean? Update 1.44 has prepared the infrastructure. The Launcher has been trained to provide the easiest interface to enable, disable, update and start the BE Service (but it remains possible to use separately for advanced use cases). We'll not immediately enable the more effective protection. In order not to upset the live game too much, we'll do that a little later, after the infrastructure has been proven to be reliable. Please use this forums thread to post related feedback.
Beneath the watchful eyes of Art Lead David Zapletal, our artists have created a set of very useful PSD texture templates for the Marksmen DLC assets (weapons for now, vests soon). Find them in the Samples_F\MarksmenDLC_Textures folder of Arma 3 Tools. Become familiar with the rest of the tools changes in the latest TECHREP . Have fun creating re-skins for your mods!
One type of Dedicated Server crash is somehow able to evade capture by our programmers. The trouble is that it does not produce usable crash reports (they are empty or otherwise corrupted). We have been unable to reproduce the crash, and have not discovered a reproduction method or common factor between those servers affected. We feel it was probably introduced in update 1.42, and it may only occur for large player counts and after long server up-time. Special tests are being organized by Online Services Consultant David Foltýn. If you have any useful information, please share the specifics in this Feedback Tracker ticket.
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Licensed TKOH Data, Porting Experiments, Character & Gear Encoding, Netcode Optimizations PRECEDENCE: Flash
The Release Candidate branch for update 1.44 will be opened very soon; keep an eye on our Twitter channel for the details. Besides the improved BattlEye anti-cheat software, there are a few more highlights. We've made several netcode optimizations that can help heavily scripted multiplayer scenarios, and we're switching to the open-source version of PhysX. The latter should let us discover the source of potential instabilities quicker in the future. Your assistance with testing the 1.44 RC is very useful to us. Please inform us about any new issues on the Feedback Tracker. And keep reading this report for some pretty significant Intel!
Our company, Bohemia Interactive, has generously released a huge licensed data pack for modders. The 15GB collection of archives contains the vast majority of binarized Take On Helicopters data under 2 licenses (including the Hinds DLC). There is a newly introduced Take On Public License Share Alike (TOPL-SA), which covers the creation of derivatives for Take On. But we've also released the package under APL-SA, meaning Arma modders can benefit as well!
You can download the goods via direct FTP links, but we recommend using our official Torrents. Another option is to subscribe to the (massive) "licensed_data_packages" branch of Arma 3 Tools. Various modders have asked us whether they can de-binarize the data within these licensed PBOs. Our goal is to stimulate the enrichment of the Armaverse with these releases. Therefore, we are OK with such use of the data, as long as the license is observed (Attribution, Noncommercial, Arma only, Share Alike for APL-SA). You can also go over the F.A.Q. for more information.
Encoder David Sláma has published a fantastic and comprehensive guide on the encoding / configuration of characters and gear in Arma 3. It covers some of the config basics as applied to characters, before digging into the nitty-gritty of characters, uniforms, vests, headgear, face wear, backpacks and ground holders. There are plenty of config samples and the guide may inform you about some hidden features for your own mods. Thanks David!
The second achievement we'll be looking at is "Meet and Greet". Sitting lonely at a global unlock percentage of 0.4%, this one could use some of your love. The vanilla game features 3 Faction Showcases (PLAY > SHOWCASES). Here, you can check out weapons (personal and static) and vehicles (ground, air, autonomous and water) at your leisure. A local announcer at each of these military expos will tell you more about the various assets. Whiteboards at each area can be accessed to open a map that lets you fast-travel between areas. In order to 'properly' finish these showcases, go to the Exit area and let the showcase end.
Each expo also features a little live event:
NATO: armored vehicle live fire exercise
CSAT: long-distance shooting range
AAF: fixed-wing touch-and-go demonstration at night
Encoding Lead Petr Kolář went fishing for trivia on the new Remote Designators. Here are the results: "The Marksmen DLC was not just about adding new weapons; several more assets were added with it - for example the Remote Designators. Those cute beasts deserve some love and that's why I bounced in with a question to the community about the differences between the sides. Different shapes and camo patterns are just the first step; NATO has better magnification options, while CSAT has faster servos and can withstand some more punishment. And did you even know that both versions have an initialization sequence when assembled (best to be seen in Arsenal) and both are different? The same goes for the movement of the pistons - one version uses all parts at once while the other moves one after another - it's just up to you to find out which side uses which ;)"
Insights into our Steam configuration have fueled some speculation that we'd like to clarify here and now. We are indeed experimenting with 2 ports of Arma 3. An external team has been investigating whether it would be possible to create (non-native) client ports to Linux and MacOS. Being external, this does not affect the core development team while it focuses on the Expansion. We should make it really clear that at this stage there are still very many uncertainties. We do not yet know when we'd release these, what their update cycle would be like, or any other specifics. In fact, it's still possible these ports will never see the light of day. There are several technical and licensing challenges to overcome. But, the chances of such ports have gone up from 0% for Arma 3. We'll be sharing more when we can!
Loving his time in the REPlight, Senior Designer Jiří Zlatohlávek is back with a bit of public brainstorming. The Laucher will be able to inform you that mods contain valid addon signatures. Such signatures are a way for server administrators to detect the use of modified addons (including those in user mods), and prevent cheating. The system is based on a private / public key pair. The Launcher team would like your ideas for a better icon or symbol, because the one currently used may not be clear or specific enough.
A small tag team consisting of Senior Designer Jiří Wainar and Senior Programmer Lukáš Gregor has recently investigated and optimized a specific area of the game's netcode. They focused on data transferred as variables via scripting, such as arrays, groups and nils. Jiří explains: "During the development of MP features introduced with Marksmen DLC - Dynamic Groups, Revive and Shared Objectives - we took a closer look at some parts of our MP code. We were concerned about the size of the data that are being transferred. We wondered if we could actually reduce the size of some of the data types that we felt were simply too large. As a result, with the new optimizations in place, we managed to reduce the size of data being transferred to on average ~35% of the original size (depending on the data type and situation)."
In parallel, we also started a series of long-term tasks focused on further network optimizations, both in engine and in scripts. So, if you are interested, stay tuned for more detailed info in future OPREPs
We've also added a set of script commands that will make it easier for scripters to debug their code and diagnose potential performance issues. diag_activeSQFScripts, diag_activeSQSScripts and diag_activeMissionFSMs return the active instances of those types of scripts, along with some details on their states. They were already used by some community creators to improve their systems.
The Steam Workshop now supports soft dependencies between items. You can specify whether your item requires game DLC or another Workshop item. Currently this will only work when subscribing via web or the Steam Client, but we're working on support in our Launcher.
Julien Vida, our Tools Commissar, has implemented a fix for potential profile data spam into the game. Prolonged use of several scripted AAR functions would store huge amounts of data to your profile, which would eventually cause slow-downs in the game. The game will now detect this situation, and offer to solve it. This solution is to remove the contents of the BIS_fnc_diagAAR_data variable. Since you may be using the data, we did not want to just automatically delete it.
FROM: Project Lead TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: 1.44 Plans, Content Licensing, Game Capture Artist, Array Sorting PRECEDENCE: Flash<
In the short-term we are looking towards the 1.44 update, which will focus on bringing the new BattlEye anti-cheat version to main branch. We've tried to implement it in an unobtrusive manner, as you can preview on Dev-Branch. Your help with testing it under all circumstances is going to be very useful. Specific feedback and suggestions can be shared on our forums. The rest of the update consists of miscellaneous fixes and tweaks. Meanwhile, we are solidifying our road map for the Expansion. The various departments are generating asset wishlists, analyses and concept art, beginning feature feasibility studies, creating prototypes, and of course, supporting production of the new terrain. After this planning stage has concluded, we'll be sharing what we can in a blog. Most details and specifics on the Expansion will not be discussed until the second half of the year however. We can tell you there is plenty to look forward to!
We've begun highlighting the game's Steam Achievements on a regular basis. These meta-challenges can provide a fun extra motivation to explore parts of the game you don't normally visit. Or they can make you aware of features you did not even know exist. In the end though, it's all about bragging rights!
The first achievement is also the easiest one: "This is War". You unlock this by simply starting any scenario, mission, showcase, challenge or other form of playable content in the game. We added it to get a sense of the portion of people who've bought the game, and have actually tried it. However, the numbers are a little skewed. Steam's global statistics tell us that 58.2% of all Arma 3 players have currently unlocked it. Keep in mind that this achievement was introduced with version 1.20 (Karts DLC); no Alpha, no Beta, and not even the first period after release. The percentage also includes people who have played the game during a Steam Free Weekend. So, from the percentage alone, we can mainly get a very rough approximation of unlocks and how achievements compare to each other.
Andrew "Dslyecxi" Gluck has published an informative video about Marksmen's ASP-1 Kir Special Purpose Rifle. It's certainly not a weapon designed for every situation, but it does have unique strengths. The video does a good job of visualizing these, and explaining some of the basics of supersonic and subsonic projectile properties.
The same videographer has worked with us on a series of official Community Guide videos. We feel they do a great job of introducing various aspects of the combined arms experience, and looking awesome while doing so. If you've never watched them, go through this playlist, or watch them in-game from the LEARN menu.
Having released our third DLC for Arma 3, we wanted to take another look at our DLC strategy. Senior Designer Jiří Zlatohlávek has taken the time to write the latest OPREP on "Content Licensing". That is the name we've given to the technology at the heart of the strategy. Our approach to post-release support is often discussed on various Internet channels, and we've followed the debate with great interest. Read the full report for a brief re-introduction of our goals, a motivation for the business model, and an overview of changes and improvements introduced in update 1.42.
A hotfix for 1.42 was released on the main branches last week. It fixed a few Weapon Deployment issues, a problem related to encrypted server passwords, and controller hypersensitivity. We are still looking for more useful data on a reported server crash. At the moment our programmers cannot reproduce nor isolate the problem.
Scripters will soon have access to another common operation directly in the engine. Having to previously resort to slower scripted solutions, a future update will let you sort arrays much quicker.
Launcher programmer Jiří Polášek reports on a crash that is connected to the RadeonPro graphics card utility. Avoid the crash by disabling the utility, or by adding arma3launcher.exe to the compatibility list and setting "Disable API detection".
OPREPer Jiří has also done a clean-up pass of the Steam Workshop. The "Addon" tag is deprecated now that mods are supported, so most entries have it removed. He also removed the "Mod" tag for many scenarios which should not have it. We're investigating means of keeping the Workshop clean in the future, and letting it be a place where you can comfortably discover great new content. Jiří seems to have popped up all over the place this week. Here he is giving a presentation on Advanced Game Design at the Masaryk University (Faculty of Informatics).
As announced last week, we have now disabled and removed the remaining Make Arma Not War Steam branches. If you had them selected, you'll have been switched to main branch.