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  About ArmA II, Saigon's & Binariz3 blog  
Here is a translation of Saigon's & Binariz3 blog by Deadfast

This year's Invex has moved game developers from pavilion "D" to smaller "X". Well, today you just have to make a room for Counter-Strike... Fortunately in 10 a.m. there were no crows and our community tour (Saigos, Binariz3, Sarge) could easily sit down at first line of improvised hall in entrance room of pavilion "X". Before Mr. Hovora started to look for extension cable, we spoke to him for a while. Fortunately the waiting for the "piece of cable" wasn't that look and presentation started almost on schedule. The hall was getting full and we were looking forward for next few minutes.

Graphical evolution
First turn was presentation of important graphical changes from former ArmA, that includes full support of DirectX 10 and optimalisation for multi-core CPU's. To run the game, you'll also need a video card supporting Pixel Shader Model 3.0, because of increased requirements for number of graphical instructions. Thanks to Pixel Shader 3.0 there will be implemented new graphical effects, such as Parallax bump-mapping, that creates plastic-like textures. You could expecialy notice this feature, while presentation on island of Porto from datadisc for original game. Whole surface looked pretty stony. You could almost imagine yourself lying in real desert with stones under your knee protectors. Another innovation is usage of Soft Particles, that you can notice especially on smoke and fog effects, that looks now really realistic and doesn't go through terrain and object. Presentation of this effect was in autumn forest and the overall effect looked almost photo-realistic, just as when see water vaporizing from forests and you imagine mushrooms growing up. Scenery just as it should be. Another addition will be something they call in BI "Metal Supershader". This effects takes care of realistic light reflection on metal and glass surfaces. You could see the effect easily on Mi-24 Hind, that was standing on hayfield, with increased time speed. Yet another difference is changed light behavior. Now the light reflects from materials and gives object in vicinity colored touch. Because the demonstration of this effect was on projector it wasn't noticeable that much, but on a monitor of kiosk you could see that objects get somewhat of a "touch of shade", just as colored light from top is somehow diffused by atmosphere. Hopefully this isn't the end of graphic improvements, but it's not too less after all.

Concept revolution
Another changes are more in the concept of the game itself and it may,of course, change during the game development.
It's hard to say, how the final status of the game will look like after the completion, but on the presentation there were confirmed 4 campaigns. One linear, one free (not plot, but the way you choose to complete it), another one should be completely free (most likely something like "pick a side and go") and another planed "campaign mode" should be played cooperatively with up to 3 friends. It's hard to say, how it'll turn out in the end, original ArmA also was supposed to have dynamic campaign. Anyway, ArmA 2 promises strong story and a bit of return to the roots of Flashpoint. Plot and it's script may be already in very advanced stage. Jan Hovora revealed us, that it should be possible to play for 4 characters and 10 additional in case one of the main got killed. If I remember correctly he said something about 30 characters, that are already designated, but because of information quantity, please think about this "info" as a pure speculation. It's for sure, that the whole game will be based on RPG elemnts, as you might have already guessed by the term "dynamic campaign". Even now you could already see notebook, where you could insert note, you could skim through history of conversation or radio communication, but you could also talk to any character in game, however, everything your character has said was a word "Czech". On another tab of your notebook you could see a skill tab, essential part of every RPG. You will be able to improve yourself in aprox. 10 skill areas, like accuracy or recoil elimination. Collecting different items should be taken as a matter of fact, just as shooting from vehicles. There still disscusions about reloading while moving, though. The fact is, that it already works. Well, I think it'll be hard to select a path between the four factions.

After all of this, there is still a thing to say. There's plan for "importing" the 3D editor from VBS (do not confuse with real-time editor). Probably the most essential change is planed building destruction, that basically already works on one house. So far it's without additional graphical effects, but it works almost perfectly - in houses with modeled interior you'll create a new passageway and on the ones without you'll create something like a room, that you can use for cover. However this is not dynamical destruction, that one would be too HW demanding and unreliable to the overall effect. The used demolition is more like an animation that is triggered after object's hitpoint damage. This system was so far used only on human models and vehicles...
The special addition should be the planed glass destruction, that'll most likely based on the hitpoint system. At the moment, it doesn't work yet.

"Mythical" Chernarus...

As most of you already knows, Chernarus is a fictiona country somewhere in Russia. So far it's filled with mostly known models, but that should change. Almost all of the original models should be replaced by new ones. With high view distance settings you have all those beautiful views to autumn scenery and especially its forests. It's definitely not such a glue-it-together as Sahrani. Also it should be more known to Czechs, even with the writings in Cyrillic is terrain close copy of northern Bohemia around Labe river. Vegetation is on better leven than before, you can see falling leafs in forest. The overall atmosphere is being improved by realistically looking factory complexes. We've actually guessed correctly the "purpose" of complex we've seen at the kiosk... It was a cement mil... Yet another addition to the terrain is railroad, that, however, will not be functional, but lonely deserted wagons will give it the right war feeling.

...and what will fight there
When I take a look on the artificial intelligence, then I have to say, that the author have really done a lot of work there. AI now uses terrain as cover, communicates with each other using hand signals, uses suppressing fire, and most of the time isn't moving without covering each other. So far there is no adequate solution for danger from house. In comparison to ArmA, AI road driving behavior should be improved ant the AI should use the right side of the road (unlike in OFP and ArmA, where they used the middle).

In the end I'll shortly mention animals, in current version you could see everything from ArmA plus rabbits. There should be also sheep or goats planed. Animals should also have advanced behavior system, they should eat, sleep,... So fat you could only see how successfully they can avoid bullets.

In the end
What to say in the end ? Maybe that community modders shouldn't be afraid to keep on creating for ArmA, because addons from ArmA should be fully portable over to ArmA 2, and most likely it's true, because we were allowed to play mission "sweep" from ArmA in the current of ArmA 2. It's really a difference with the new AI. At the moment the filesize of ArmA 2 is aprox. 10 GB and right now there are some speculations about usage of dual-layer or multiple discs. Usage of unified copy protection for all language mutations of game is also planed. There are even some thoughts about Xbox conversion, some things such as enable auto-aim in settings confirms that. We'll see if the authors will manage to complete the game till Christmas of 2008. And esspecially with what quality...
  October 27th, 2007 - 01:08   Comment (0)  

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