FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Armachinima Voting, Jets Platform Improvements, Dev-Branch Additions PRECEDENCE: Flash
We are currently processing the feedback from the Release Candidate for the upcoming 1.68 Update (which includes the 64-bit executables). If these final tests come back positive, we intend to release the update to Main-Branch within the next few weeks. In addition, our development team is working on the various DLC listed on our 2016-17 Roadmap, which will bring new assets, playable content, and engine features and other platform improvements.
We've reached the submission deadline for the #Armachinima Awards. Now it is time for you to help us select the 10 nominees! There are more than 100 videos to watch, and everyone has 3 votes in total to distribute. So grab a drink (or two) and head over to the #Armachinima web page. You can vote, and change your vote, up until the deadline on February 27th, 09:00 CET (GMT+1). Afterwards, the Arma 3 development team will select 3 winners from the nominees. Have fun everyone!
Mudspike.com, a web portal specialized in writing articles on aviation, published an elaborate piece on drones in Arma 3. Taking a detailed look at Arma 3's UAVs, the author describes the handling, armament, and gameplay of these unmanned vehicles. It is certainly an interesting article to read if you are interested in an outsider's perspective on some of the flying mechanics.
Some of the new engine features that are being developed in anticipation of the upcoming Jets DLC are starting to surface on Dev-Branch. One of these is Dynamic Loadouts, which allows for in-game customization of a vehicle's armament, which changes the way that airplanes operate in different situations. The ability to select the loadout for each pylon was requested by our community for a long time, and we're glad to finally be able to implement this alongside Jets' new premium assets. You can find the Work-In-Progress documentation on the Community Wiki, and please let us know your feedback on the forums.
Another new platform feature coming alongside the Jets DLC is Datalink, which was also recently added to Dev-Branch. Designer Ondřej Kužel explains what it is: "Datalink is a new feature that expands the Sensor Overhaul. It allows vehicle operators to automatically transmit and/or receive information about targets to/from other vehicles of the same side." Additionally, new config parameters (receiveRemoteTargets, reportRemoteTargets, reportOwnPosition) will help community content creators to include this new feature in their assets. Head over to the forums to chat with our devs and provide your feedback. It's much appreciated!
That said, not all of the recent additions are directly associated with the Jets DLC. Our developers are working tirelessly on improving the game overall. For example, a new "hasUnderbarrel" weapon animation source has landed to Dev-Branch recently and offers more possibilities for modders. Also, the well-known Dammaged Event Handler was extended with additional arguments (documented on the Community Wiki). Aside from that, the enableEnvironment script command was optimized to work more reliably. Last but not least, Senior Programmer Jakub Horyna fixed a longstanding issue with flags, which now can be used in CTF scenarios in the same way as in the early days of Arma.
The Arma 3 Feedback Tracker now allows for logging in via existing accounts like Facebook or Google Account. We hope this will help decrease the barrier of entry for registering and submitting issues. The goal being of course to make Arma 3 even more splendid!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: ARMAnet Podcast, Ambient Occlusion Improvements, Server Monetization Extension PRECEDENCE: Flash
The development team is now preparing a Release Candidate build for public testing. If things go well, we intend to make it available to the community later this week. Internally, we're also very much in the production phase of all of this year's planned additions, which are now all starting to come together nicely.
The latest Dev Photo shows the commitment of ARMAnet Podcast hosts Reaver and Dagger to present their audience with new episodes. With Bohemia Interactive Project Leads, Petr Kolář and Joris-Jan van 't Land, finally making their appearance on the show, the four of them discuss the turbulent history of Arma 3's development, explain some decisions that shaped to become Arma 3 as we know it now, and provide a glimpse into the future of the game and platform. We can recommend subscribing to their show for interesting segments like Units discussions, mod-maker interviews, scenario design tips and all other things Arma 3. Kudos to the podcast crew, and we hope we'll talk again!
Isla Duala[/b], a terrain made by a well-known community modder IceBreakr, has recently been updated on the Steam Workshop! More than 100 square kilometers of African terrain provide more than enough opportunities to discover new kinds of warfare. This update improves the satellite textures, adds particle effects for units, and much more. Splendid work, IceBreakr!
The art of developing animations and editing characters in the Real Virtuality engine is one of the most difficult tasks, both for ourselves and our community. However, practice makes perfect, and so Mondkalb (Animation Lead at Bohemia Interactive Simulations) came up with a rather creative way of tweaking the animation sources and show off his mastery of the tech. The author describes his admirable goals for the release as: "The main reason for this release is to get the sources out for others to learn from. It's a fully independent character setup in Arma 3 using all the things there are. Animations, Ragdoll, Weapons, Clothes Swapping, Head and Face textures, lip movement and of course hats." Watching those yellow-brick toy characters come to life and rag-dolling on Arma 3's terrains is one of the most hilarious (yet educational!) things we've seen in a while!
Over the past weeks, the artists in our Team Mike studio have been working on improving the structures on all Arma 3 terrains. With careful attention to detail, our buildings now display shadows and light more realistically by tweaking their Ambient Occlusion configurations. As per usual, we're asking you, the community, to provide us with your feedback. Head over to the respective forums thread for more Intel and do not hesitate to leave a comment.
Some of our players have been reporting an issue where their game performance degrades drastically over time. We've already spent months hunting the infamous '3FPS Issue'. The process has led to various improvements and fixes, but we have not yet been able to find the full cure. Project Lead Petr Kolář asks the community for help on the forums once more: "As we are yet unable to reproduce said behavior on our internal machines, we need your help to crush this issue. There is a Feedback Tracker ticket about this issue, we would like to ask anyone experiencing said behavior to collect their dxdiag data (simply by typing "dxdiag" in their start menu and saving the profile, removing the Machine Name and Machine ID parts) and trying to get minidumps of their memory prior and after the issue using ProcDump (thanks to the guys from Microsoft for recommending this software to us)." We hope to have some results soon and will continue the pursuit for a solution. We once again apologize to anyone affected. Ensuring a more consistent game performance is and will remain our priority.
The number of entries in the #Armachinima Awards submissions is growing rapidly. Now that the deadline of February 13 is approaching, we would like to suggest everyone who is still looking to participate to submit their entries as soon as possible. We have found that it is not unusual for there to be some issues with entries, which might even require you to update the videos and re-submit. As such, sending us your video on the last day could be risky, and potentially lead to disqualification due to a lack of time for making adjustments. Specifically, we'd like to warn everyone to make sure that the music (and possible voice-overs) in your video is NOT copyrighted or that you have clear permission from the music's author (you are welcome to use the music from the official Arma soundtracks). In addition, the video must NOT be monetized on YouTube. We wish all video creators the best of luck in this final week. Public voting for 10 nominees starts on February 14th. Let's get the popcorn ready!
Bohemia Interactive's Server Monetization program, which allows server hosts to monetize their Arma 3 server(s) as long as they are registered, approved, and listed, has been extended for another year without any policy changes for Arma 3. The extended period expires on January 31st 2018. Be sure to read the FAQ section before applying.
It's unfortunately been awhile since our last update, but we've accomplished a lot during that time. With this update we have decided to split CWA (also known as Cold War Rearmed˛) into its own package, separate from Core and Maps. CWA will use our new CUP-L license. After consultation with our contributors, we are also taking this opporunity to allow the use of CUP Terrains Core and Maps (not CWA) on servers that are approved by BI for monetization. We reiterate, you may ONLY use CUP Terrains Core and CUP Terrains Maps packages on monetized servers if you follow the rules of monetization and your server is on Bohemia Interactive's list of approved servers.
Google Drive, Armaholic, and SteamWS. PWS may follow shortly as well. You can find the links here on our website.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Armachinima Awards, Sensor Improvements, SECREPs PRECEDENCE: Flash
The development team is now experiencing the freezing beauty of European winter. All the more reason for us to run away to the warmer regions of Altis and Tanoa! Over the past two weeks, we've introduced several platform improvements, released three security updates, and announced a new contest for our creative community. In parallel, our teams in various physical locations are also hard at work on the various deliverables of the 2017 roadmap. Let's take a look!
We've always enjoyed watching the splendid Arma 3 video content from our community, and thus we're very proud to announce the #Armachinima Awards contest. In cooperation with NVIDIA, we decided to start a competition to pick the ultimate machinima among Arma 3 content creators. The submission deadline is February 13th. Members of the community will be able to vote and select ten finalists. After that, the Arma 3 development team will choose the winners of several top-tier graphics cards provided by NVIDIA. With already more than 35 entries, there's already plenty to watch for everybody! If you're planning to submit a video, keep in mind that your entry should not include copyrighted music or (addon) content. Plus, make sure that Monetization on your YouTube video is disabled. Of course you're welcome to use music from the official Arma soundtracks. Click here for more information about the contest rules. Good luck to everyone!
The recent Dev Photo exposes our colleagues to Czech winter. With recent temperatures falling deep below 0° Celsius, even a lunchtime walk sends chills to the bones. Luckily, our Mike office is well-equipped with all necessary supplies and heating, and with the property guarded by our own Main Battle Tank, nothing stands in the way of delivering more improvements to the Arma 3 platform.
Project Argo's Creative Director Ivan Buchta and Art Director Petr Motejzík have selected the winners in the Create-Your-Own Billboard contest. Bringing an original vibe to the re-imagination of the first Arma title's terrain, the jury announced the best out of dozens of submissions. Ivan expands on the variety of entries: "There were many great ideas among the entries, often borrowing from the existing brands of Armaverse or promoting Tanoa (awesome to see how popular this terrain is!). We were particularly pleased by the advertisements promoting the local products." How is that relevant to Arma 3? The winning billboards will also be featured on the Malden terrain that will be released as a free Arma 3 DLC later this year.
Taunus, a new terrain made by the X-Cam team, has landed on the Armaholic website! Using the X-Cam tool, terrain creators were able to fill more than 400 square kilometers of land with highly detailed compositions, forests, towns and landmarks. Excellent work!
The Arma community demonstrates its creativity yet again in an unusual thread on the /r/Arma subreddit. Using in-game screenshots, players attempted to re-create real-life photos and other iconic imagery. Some of the results are really impressive. Be sure to check the gallery.
The last two weeks brought several improvements to Dev-Branch. Perhaps the most significant change is that there will only be a 64-bit version of the Diagnostics Executable going forward. Used mainly by community creators, we'd like to offer better stability and resource usage for this highly specialized tool and decided to abandon the obsolete 32-bit configuration. Scenario makers will surely welcome the changes to the Killed, MPKilled and EntityKilledEvent Handlers. These were extended with a damage effect value, you can find the documentation on the Community Wiki.
A new mapOrientation parameter allows setting the rotation of the GPS screen either with player's direction, or with player weapon's direction. Again, this improvement is already documented on the Community Wiki and we believe it will bring improvements to the Arma 3 sandbox and scenarios.
The last honorable mention is part of the new platform features associated with the upcoming Jets DLC. Designer Ondřej Kužel explains the changes: "All vanilla tanks, anti-air platforms, helicopters and jets have been updated to the improved Sensor technology. We've added different IR and Radar signatures to individual vehicles. This makes the Blackfish VTOL appear on the Radars more than 2.5x further away than a Hummingbird for example."
In cooperation with BattlEye, we have updated the game with enhanced anti-cheat protection three times during the last two weeks. Feel free to inspect the reports (#00012, #00013, #00014), read BattlEye's FAQ and contact their support in case of any questions.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Jets Platform Improvements, Dev-Branch Activity PRECEDENCE: Flash
The development team is back from their winter holidays and is fully operational. The production of 2017's deliverables is in full swing and we're set for another year of support and another year of Arma 3.
The community redditors might have seen quite an original request on the Arma subreddit. DaCrazyJamez was looking for somebody to bring the face of his father to Arma 3 as a Christmas present. To the surprise of many, our Junior Artist Stefan Verbeek from Bohemia's Amsterdam office responded and offered his help. After receiving all needed reference files, he created and delivered the textures in his free time and even provided a simple tutorial for those who would like to bring their own custom faces to Arma 3. To match the Christmas spirit, DaCrazyJamez promised to donate to charity for Stan's work (who worked free of charge). Great gesture!
We're happy to see that the continuous updates for Arma 3 and its bustling community is paying off, with Arma 3 making it into the Steam Top Sellers of 2016. Also, the number of concurrent players climbed almost to its all time record in the past few weeks. We're very grateful for the enduring support even three years after the release. To all the new recruits who have joined the community: welcome!
The Arma Finland community group released a beautiful 'Year in Review' video on YouTube. Looking back at 2016, we're treated with some spectacular footage of their operations, various community terrains, Finnish comms (which we don't really understand), along with some extraordinary moments. As we all really enjoy such montages and machinimas, there will be an announcement connected to this kind of video content very soon™. Thanks to Arma Finland for the entertainment!
Red Hammer Studios, community modders and Make Arma Not War winners, have shared an interesting insight into the creation of a vehicle for their already extensive library. From a low-poly model to a highly detailed asset, viewers are taken through the development process of the RG33L 6X6 MRAP. RHS member Richards describes the struggles met along the way and shares interesting bits of this 6-month long journey. We'd also like to congratulate RHS on being in the top 10 best mods of 2016 according to the voters at ModDB. Splendid work!
Then to share something completely different with you. This morning, we received the sad news that Paul "Bushlurker" Pelosi has passed away after a battle with cancer. Paul has been a long-time custom Arma terrain maker, and we consider this a great loss for our community - but most importantly, we wish his family, friends, and everyone close to him a lot of strength in this difficult time!
In the last week of Dev-Branch updates before our holiday break, our Dev-Branch players were given some goodies to play with. The first part of the features connected to Arma 3's upcoming Jets DLC aims to add more depth to vehicle vs vehicle warfare. Let's take a look at these additions and what they bring to our players.
Sensor Overhaul is a series of improvements to the ways vehicles are detecting other assets operating in their radar reach. Introducing a new symbology, rules for specific vehicle types, and overhauling target detection in general, both vanilla and modded vehicles can benefit from the countless gameplay possibilities waiting to be discovered.
Extended Hitpointsfor airplanes aim to bring the damage model of air assets on par with other vehicles. As a result, players have more possibilities to escape even with a severely damaged airplane while fighting some previously unseen difficulties, such as fuel leaks or a malfunctioning HUD. As with the previous feature, please share your feedback on the respective forums thread. It's much appreciated
Bohemia Interactive is looking for new colleagues to join its ranks. Be sure to visit the Careers page. There might be a position just for you. Some of those are directly connected to Arma 3's development (e.g. Gameplay Programmer or QA Assistant). Please do not hesitate to contact us for more details on the advertised positions via the forms on the page.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: 64-bit Executables, Combat Patrol, Ports Update 1.64, 2016 Recap PRECEDENCE: Flash
This year's last SITREP brings an overview of the latest changes both to the Main Branch and Dev-Branch, as well as a look back at the whole year. As the development team prepares for a brief winter break, let's conclude what was, in our view, an epic 2016!
As tradition would have it, ShackTac leader Dslyecxi treats us to a beautifully edited video of his community group's operations in 2016. It serves as a wonderful showcase of how playing as part of a Unit can truly unlock the potential of the Arma 3 platform. We love seeing all those intense, surprising, and sometimes hilarious gameplay moments. Here's to ShackTac, and to the many other great community units like it.
Over the past few years, we've been working together with Dslyecxi to produce the official Arma 3 Community Guide Series. We're happy to announce that these videos are now also available as Streaming Videos on Steam. Complementing the existing YouTube Playlist, we hope this will help improve the discoverability of these handy tutorial videos. Watch to learn more about the basics of Arma 3's military gameplay, such as how to work together as a team, conduct reconnaissance, set up a good defense, plan an air assault, and much much more.
The lush greens of the Tanoan jungle, the yellow flats of Altis, and the industrial grays of VR world; Arma 3 can be beautiful in a lot of ways. Winter is here for many communities and user Hololand decided to show the spectacle of snow in one of his "Beauty of Arma" videos. While snow doesn't exist on any of the vanilla terrains, a community winter version of Chernarus is a great stage for a heroic attack by remnants of NATO forces on a CSAT base.
We've unleashed several new additions and improvements straight to Dev-Branch as a Xmas present for you. To explain them fully, our developers took the time to write some rather splendid OPREPs. Let's take a look at the additions one by one.
Converting Arma 3's technology to a 64-bit architecture is certainly a big task. We're proud to have released the 64-bit client executables to Dev-Branch last week. To explain some of the difficulties and obstacles along the way, Programmer Richard Biely expands on the process and results in his OPREP. While there still are some limitations we're trying to solve (e.g. TrackIR still needs more time before we can enable it even for this version of the game), we're generally very happy with the results so far and the first reactions from the community.
To support this release, Senior Programmer Jiří Polášek adjusted both Publisher and Launcher. The former helps community modders, along with other improvements, to mark their mods with platform-specific tags. The latter enables players to select the game architecture and decides what extensions to use along with their mods. Jiří has also shared some important information for modders who don't use C++ for their extensions.
We've touched this next topic in the previous SITREP: Arma 3's development team switched their focus from creating new content and features for several weeks and invested their time solely into fixing bugs and improving the game. Project Lead Petr Kolář took the opportunity to explain the process in detail with his OPREP. The Clean Sweep was successful; hundreds of issues were crushed by the fix hammer. As a result Arma 3 is yet more stable and serving as the solid platform you all deserve.
Finally, as a side activity while creating Project Argo, playable content Senior Designer Josef Zemánek and Creative Mastermind Ivan Buchta prepared a simple yet effective multiplayer game mode focused on team cooperation: Combat Patrol. As there won't be any update to Dev-Branch during the holiday period, now is the best time to give it a go on some of the available servers. Enjoy this first slice of the mode's functionality. We cannot guarantee you anything yet, as the mode is just at the start of its development, but we would like to get your feedback (e.g. in the dedicated forums thread), so we may decide if we should continue down this road or choose a different path. To read about Combat Patrol in more detail, check out the OPREP written by Ivan. Have fun!
Arma 3 received a hotfix for Update 1.66 last week. Addressing some low-level engine issues causing struggles for large community groups and followed up by two consecutive BattlEye security updates, the Main Branch is now also prepared for our team's winter hibernation. Feel free to read through the detailed changes (SPOTREP #00063, SECREP #00010, SECREP #00011) and provide your feedback to the Feedback Tracker please.
Tools Commissar Julien Vida has been busy preparing updates for the Tools packages. While Binarize on the Main Branch can now be prevented from creating any logs, the Dev-Branch of the Samples now finally contains the first Apex vehicle livery templates for the community's talented reskin artist. This process is taking longer than we'd hoped, but we look forward to your creations now that the templates are becoming available!
The Bohemia Interactive Forums went offline for a couple of days to get fitted with a shiny new outfit. Along with a back-end update, the site should now be faster and safer to use. Due to the (automated) conversion and update processes, there might still be some issues present (e.g. post formatting). Please feel free to report those and your further notes to the dedicated forums thread.
Last but not least, the experimental client ports for Linux and Mac have been updated to version 1.64. This means they should be compatible with the current legacy branch of the primary Windows version of Arma 3. Enjoy the game, including for the first time the Apex expansion, on even more platforms! Just beware that Tanoa is even more demanding in these ports; make sure you have the right hardware to enjoy the green hell. We'd also like to draw your attention to the F.A.Q., where we've added an explanation of why the ports' VRAM is limited.
As we're slowly closing in to the end of the last SITREP of 2016, let's take a look at what this year meant for Arma 3. Our primary target was a release of the Apex expansion (#RoadToApex), and we decided to separate the platform improvements into several smaller chunks, which were easier to test and gave us a solid foundation for the release itself:
The first update of 2016 was 1.56, which brought the Eden Editor. Building scenarios in a native 3D in-game tool was one of the most requested features on the Feedback Tracker. We were happy to see all the highly detailed compositions appearing on Steam Workshop just days after Eden Editor hit the Dev-Branch. An Audio Engine Overhaul brought significant improvements to audio simulation; something even our future games will benefit from.
Update 1.58 introduced the Tasks Overhaul as its main feature. Visualization of the in-game tasks brought several benefits and certainly helped to improve even our existing content, not to mention content made by the community. Weapon switching on the move also came alive with this update, making movement across the battlefield and in stressful situations more fluid and intuitive.
Update 1.60 delivered the Visual Upgrade: significant visual improvements to all Arma 3 terrains. Aside from that, several important gameplay mechanics were introduced: Quick Play, Line Drawing, and Limping.
TheApex expansion came with a great amount of new assets, units, scenarios and vehicles. With its crown jewel Tanoa shining brightly, it soon became one of the top-rated expansions in the PC gaming industry. And again there were platform improvements for everybody in the associated Update 1.62: the Main Menu and the Revive feature were completely overhauled, we introduced some key game mechanics (e.g. Vehicle in Vehicle Transport), and iterated in many more areas.
With Update 1.64, we turned our attention to addressing some low-level issues and aimed to improve the performance of objects and behavior of the AI. Simple Objects integration helped with reducing the performance demands. As a result, bigger and more complex compositions now require less computing power and make the game run faster. AI drivers of wheeled vehicles should also behave much more reliably due to the changes to their path-following.
The latest addition, Update 1.66, was a result of long period of bug fixing. While there still are remaining issues, the development team managed to address a large number of long-standing issues and made the platform more solid for what's to come in the future.
And what does the future bring us all? We're not keeping it a secret, the plans for 2017 have been public for some time now. Those who have been with us for a while might already know that they can expect some little surprises here and there, but we will always aim to keep Arma 3 in its true vision. We are of course very grateful for all the support you've given us and we can't wait to start 2017 with the work on some new splendid additions to the already rich Arma 3 sandbox.
On behalf of the Arma 3 development team, we would like to wish you a splendid winter break. See you in 2017!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Update 1.66 Released, Dynamic Simulation, Forums Downtime PRECEDENCE: Flash
The majority of the development team is currently focused on a hotfix for the recently released Update 1.66. There are a few issues we're investigating, but more on them later in this report. Aside from that, Dev-Branch is about to receive some cool additions before Christmas. All in all, everything in Arma 3 is set for a splendid winter break.
ModDB, the largest platform covering modifications of various games, have once again started their Mod of the Year competition. For the next couple of days, players are able to vote for their favorite mods. Naturally, there are also Arma 3 modifications included. This is a great opportunity for all of us to send the mod teams some love and gratitude. Hurry up to send your vote on time, you too can win some prizes.
Quite an unusual screenshot landed in our Twitter feed. Spanish community unit Grupo Armados conducted a Cold Invasion in Arma 3. Taking advantage of Arma 3's modability and using winter camouflage and terrains full of snow, the immersion is nearly perfect! We certainly hope everybody was served with a hot cup of tea after the operation concluded.
Another Spanish group brings us to some completely different environments. From forests to dusty deserts, FO148 relies on their fierce warriors to complete various objectives. Of course, with the presence of some Splendid Camera operators, everything is documented in a set of excellent screenshots.
The latest Weekly Photo shows the result of a stealth operation in our Amsterdam studio. Despite heavily disadvantageous camouflage, top-tier infiltrator Sinterklaas managed to deliver a package to the very heart of our Dutch dev team, without Joris-Jan van 't Land or Karel Mořický noticing. The experience of several hundred years speaks for him, of course. We hope our Dutch colleagues enjoy the sweet delivery while setting up a more solid security system.
Our colleagues over at the Project Argo team have just announced a fun little contest. To support the Malden 2035 terrain development, they are asking the community to submit designs for in-game billboards by competing in the "Create-Your-Own-Billboard" contest. It's also very relevant for Arma 3, since the Malden terrain (including the winning billboard) will be made available to the Arma 3 platform in 2017 as a free DLC (we've touched the topic in the Roadmap 2016-17 blog). The submission deadline is January 17th, and be sure to read the rules carefully and submit your own ideas to leave your mark on Malden. Unleash your inner-(m)adman, let the contest begin!
As we've already hinted, we're now intensively working on a hotfix for Update 1.66 and hope to release it later this week. Shortly after the release we found out that some of the script commands ceased to work correctly. This caused severe issues for large community groups. Unluckily, even three weeks of public RC testing did not help with revealing these issues beforehand. While our QA performs a deep build test before every update, due to the complexity of the game and a relatively small size of our internal Quality Assurance team it can be very difficult to uncover and address some of these issues. We'd like to again encourage our community to provide us their feedback - both via the Feedback Tracker and social media. Thanks!
Some of the reports we also received pointed out problems with referencing obsolete proxies on community made terrains. Arma 3's Project Lead Petr Kolář explains the situation and the solution we've come up with: "As part of the fixing period leading up to Update 1.66, we decided to clean the data of the game. Some of the proxies were merged into parent objects, aiming to improve the game's performance, and the original models for proxies were deleted. As this caused some issues with community terrains, we have now decided to bring the old files back while also still having them merged into the parent objects. As the proxies cannot have all the necessary geometries, keep in mind that they may not behave as expected when put into the terrain directly."<
One of the recent Dev-Branch additions, Dynamic Simulation, is now documented on the Community Wiki. Bringing significant improvement possibilities to community scenario makers, the feature helps to address some long-standing issues connected to the AI count on large scale terrains. Naturally, not every scenario is suitable for this, yet we hope the benefits will help make Arma 3 a more smooth and fast platform. As Dynamic Simulation is currently only available in Dev-Branch, feel free to provide your feedback on the forums. It's very appreciated!
Dynamic Simulation is not the only addition appearing on Dev-Branch this December. There are several more improvements we'd like to introduce to you before the winter break. Without going into specific details, let's just say that both platform performance improvements and some playable content additions are expected. Stay tuned; our official Twitter channel and the Dev-Branch changelog thread will reveal more details Soon™.
As per usual, there will be some downtime at the Bohemia offices during the winter holiday. The Arma 3 team will cease regular operations on December 16th and will come back online in January. During this period, no Dev-Branch releases are expected and the communication on social media will be less as well.
Bohemia Interactive forums software will undergo an update this week. Please expect that the site will be in a read-only state for two to five days. After that, you might still see some formatting issues in some of the older posts, but those should be converted/corrected automatically over the course of the next week. Thank you for your patience and apologies for the inconvenience.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Update 1.66 Release Candidate, Footsteps Audio Overhaul, 64-bit Information PRECEDENCE: Flash
The development team now focuses on polishing the Release Candidate of Update 1.66 to a splendid shape. While we're still tracking quite a number of issues in the build, we're tackling the bugs one by one, and hope to release the update in upcoming weeks. Apart from fixes and maintenance, there are some additions coming in this patch, too. More on them later in this report.
The 11th AMB, a Dutch realism unit, has published an epic unit promo video. In the trailer, they showcase tactical approaches on both official and community-made terrains using some clever video editing that matches the music. Great work, keep it coming!
Why doesn't Arma 3 support Steam Cloud Saving? That is the question PC Gamerasked our Project Lead Petr Kolář. Simply put, while we surely recognize the benefits of having the save files backed up in the cloud, there are some obstacles we cannot really work around with our current save system. Arma 3 uses multiple save locations for several purposes (Eden Editor scenarios, Campaign saves, user settings and profile, etc.). All of this gets even more complicated when mods are factored in. To avoid compromising the platform, we've decided not to enable Steam Cloud Saving. Needless to say, if our future technology allows for a more robust solution, we'll be sure to re-evaluate the options again.
Faces of War, a new World War II community mod, has reached its Alpha milestone and was released through the Bohemia Forums. The package includes a terrain, weapons, and vehicles - and more is yet to come. The authors are also looking for some talented members to join their team. Be sure to check screenshots of Faces of War and download the mod via the forums post.
As we've already mentioned, testing of the upcoming Update 1.66 has started. While it focuses mostly on maintenance and stability fixes, there are some improvements which affect every step you make in the game. Senior Audio Designer Tomáš Bayer expands on the Footsteps Audio Overhaul: "We've recreated footstep sounds and their implementation basically from scratch. Most of the sounds were recorded again and were placed in separate layers. Using the SoundSet architecture, each footstep sound is now dynamically mixed from several separate sound layers being played on each step players make: boot, surface, or a random additional sound (branches in the forests, creaks on wood and others). Additionally, a Wet layer is being triggered depending on the humidity level, which, naturally, raises when it's raining. As a result, sounds of on-foot movement now provide a significantly larger diversity: chances of hearing the same footstep sound twice in a row are minimal."
Many of you got excited to see Dynamic Simulation in the Release Candidate build. Unfortunately, as we've expanded on its implementation quite a bit recently, the feature requires more testing time by our QA experts and we've decided not to include it in Update 1.66. To get more Intel on Update 1.66 in general, we've started our usual communications channels. Feel free to use our official Feedback Tracker to post issues you find, reddit post for discussing the update with others and follow the RC forums thread for the Release Candidate overview and its updates. Thank you for participating!
In our recent Roadmap 2016-17 blog, Creative Director Jay Crowe briefly mentioned the 64-bit client of the game. While we plan to publish a separate OPREP on the topic closer to its Dev-Branch release, some details can already be shared now. Richard Biely, one of the programmers responsible for the development, throws some of the facts on the table: "Being able to utilize virtually all your system's memory, the performance of Arma 3 should become a lot more consistent. With the ability to cache a huge amount of data, less loading is required. This translates into less work for the game to do and ultimately into more fluent gameplay. Rather than introducing a miraculous framerate increase, an improvement in the performance will be most visible when playing the game with a long view distance. The amount of data to cache is rather large in this case and the game will benefit greatly from an increased amount of available RAM." Naturally, such a great change comes with some limitations. Players will not be able to run 64-bit Arma 3 on 32-bit operation systems, or 32-bit only CPUs. Significant adjustments are also being made to the Launcher. Senior Programmer Jiří 'Wizard' Polášek is working on a proper distinction of the game versions. It is not as easy as it might seem, the Launcher not only handles the way Arma 3 is started, but it also takes care of the connection to Steam Workshop and its mod database and has to make sure proper extensions are launched along with the game. A big thank you to both Richard and Wizard for their work!
Senior Programmer Krzysztof Bielawski provided a unique insight in low-level refactoring of AI behavior. His OPREP focused on the recent improvement to Arma 3, AI path-following, and explains the motivations and technical details on the path to a more reliable and natural AI driving. Since the behavior for wheeled vehicles is now fully implemented in Update 1.64, we hope to enable these improvements also for tracked vehicles on Dev-Branch soon.
Last but not least, our colleagues over at Bohemia Interactive's Mobile team have enlisted more than half a million commanders in Arma Mobile Ops. To celebrate, they released the biggest update yet, with Faction Wars as the main highlight. Join either the Clouds or the Flames, and fight for victory in monthly seasons. The winning faction will of course be handsomely rewarded. You can play Arma Mobile Ops for free, so head over to the App Store (iOS) and Google Play Store (Android). See you on the leaderboards!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Clean Sweep, Bohemia Incubator, Game Developers Session PRECEDENCE: Flash
The development team is now fully focusing on a clean sweep of the game. This means that for the next couple of weeks we're solely fixing bugs, focusing on performance and minor, yet long-standing issues, and polishing the game. As a consequence, all of the work is under a lock - only approved and manually selected pieces of data get in the final game and the rest has to wait until the lock is released. The plan is to finish this sweeping period by delivering Update 1.66. Hopefully, after we have results of some first build checks done by our Quality Assurance, we'll be able to publish the Release Candidate by the end of this week.
The Vikings and fierce Arma warriors from the Nopryl community have celebrated their 15th anniversary in a quite unique way. Bringing their members to the wilderness of Norway and having fun by playing Arma 3 together, drinking beer, and shooting some real weapons sounds like a dream to every gamer. A video celebrating the occasion effectively sums up how great the atmosphere must have been. Thanks for the splendid montage and also for being with us right from the beginning!
Truck lovers might appreciate an update video made by the FFAA mod team. In three minutes of splendid (in-game) footage, they share their progress on several highly detailed cargo vehicles. Top job, keep it up!
Game Developers Session, a gaming conference for independent developers held annually in the Czech Republic, took place in the center of Prague last weekend. Bohemia Interactive developers visited and participated as a gold partner in this event in strong numbers. Our colleagues set up a Bohemia gaming booth and presented some cool new projects (more on that later in this report). Furthermore, several colleagues talked about different topics: Ivan Buchta shared some pro tips on how to make the large scale terrains that Arma and DayZ games are so famous for. And Arma 3's Project Lead Petr Kolář had an excellent talk describing the history, plot-twists and road to (and from) Early Access of Arma 3. It was nice to meet and greet other devs from all over Europe. Thanks GDS, see you next year!
Bohemia Interactive is very proud to announce a new initiative for developing and experimenting with games. Bohemia Incubator aims to strengthen the spirit of creativity in our developers, while supporting current and upcoming technologies and increasing their knowledge in different areas of game development. Our own CEO Marek Španěl introduces the label in a splendid blog video.
Let's take a closer look at one of the first Incubator prototypes: Project Argo. It is an experimental total conversion of Arma 3 aiming to quickly prototype competitive multiplayer gameplay and experiment with various game modes. The Open Prototype is available for free through the Bohemia Store. Feel free to inspect the official page for more Intel about the project. Being a modification to Arma 3, it of course brings some advantages even to the Arma 3 player base. Some platform improvements introduced recently to the Dev-Branch were actually benefits of this focus (e.g. Virtual Spectator improvements or character collision tweaks to name a few). Some of the benefits, however, are yet to come. The Malden island, known to the veterans of the Arma series, was chosen as a battlefield for Project Argo's scenarios. To be on par with the demands of today's technology, our Environment Designers are remaking the iconic map from scratch, using existing vanilla Arma 3 assets. As revealed in our roadmap blog, the plan is to finish the rest of the terrain (e.g. by filling the non-scenario locations with structures and vegetation) and release it as a free DLC next year as a part of an anniversary celebration of the 16th anniversary of the Arma games.
While sharing the technology and resources yields benefits for both Project Argo and Arma 3, some of the changes will, naturally, never make it to Arma 3. There are adjustments which, while fitting the fast-paced and balanced gameplay of Project Argo, we feel are not befitting our vision for Arma 3 and its tactical, more lethal and generally slower approach. To answer some of the concerns raised on the social channels, let's assure our community that Arma 3 will remain true to its vision. We believe that our recently introduced Roadmap 2016-17 shows this intention
Being a crucial part of Apex expansion, the Tanoa terrain consists of thousands unique objects and structures. With such a number of assets and given the time and resources we had for its development, we had recruited a fair amount of external artists to help us out with the task. One of the studios contributing heavily to delivering Tanoa on time and in a splendid shape was Black Element Software in Thailand. We thank them for all the support they provided so far! The Lead Artist on site, Zdenek Vespalec, is leaving the company to start a new adventure elsewhere. Again, as he was one of the pillars working directly on bringing Tanoa and many more aspects of Arma 3 to life, we wish him all the luck on his future endeavors!
Community contributor Whiplash wrote an excellent guide on how to publish user-made creations on Steam Workshop. Bringing useful tips and tricks and even explaining what to avoid, following his advice will surely make the presentation of community content more splendid and can gain authors more subscribers.<
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Roadmap 2016-17, Improved Lightmaps, SITREP Frequency PRECEDENCE: Flash
Coming in at the end of last week, we unveiled the 2016-17 roadmap for Arma 3. Meanwhile, the development team has started brainstorming, pre-production, and in some cases already production itself on the newly announced packages. We'll talk a bit more about the roadmap later in this SITREP, but one thing is clear: Arma 3 has a splendid future ahead of itself!
We always love to see community groups organizing competitions and events for their members. One of these units, 3 Commando Brigade, recently started a "Screenshot of the Month" contest. The winners for September have been announced. Congratulations, and we hope to see more splendid screenshots in the upcoming months!
Armachinima-maker GAMmovies released a cool machinima video, capturing the fate of an American tank crew during WWII. Together with some well-picked and edited music and voice-overs, the video shows what can be achieved in terms of creating atmosphere. Kudos to GAMmovies for the video, and the people behind the mods that we see making an appearance!
As we briefly touched upon at the start of this SITREP, last Friday Creative Director Jay Croweshared our long awaited Roadmap 2016-17. In the new blog, he provided a high-level outline of the planned premium packages and free platform improvements for Arma 3 in the upcoming year. We're thrilled to see the positive reception on various channels, and have been monitoring the suggestions and speculations with great interest. While some of the packages are already more strongly defined (e.g. Jets), the Tanks DLC is awaitingyour suggestions on the forums (kudos to Damian90 for starting the thread). We're planning to kick off the pre-production phase of Tanks DLC in the upcoming week, and we're keen to see your thoughts on the topic!
To fund our projects, the announced DLC packages, aside from the Malden Free DLC, will be premium. However, the exact pricing of every individual product will be shared closer to their release. As before, in addition to each DLC, we expect to release accompanying platform updates, which will be free for everyone. The lucky few who purchased the Arma 3 Supporter Edition in 2013 (which was exclusively available on the Bohemia Store during the Arma 3 Alpha/Beta) will also receive all these DLCs for free, as a thanks for their trust and support. We're still considering whether we'll make a new DLC Bundle available.
Dev-Branch users can now use high quality lightmap textures containing ambient shadow data. Design Lead Julien Vidaexplains how it works, describes conditions for using the technology (such as the _adshq suffix), and finally provides a visual example in a tweet below (look for the reduction of banding artifacts). Also, ImageToPAA (part of Arma 3 Tools package) has received an update on the Tools Dev-Branch to support these textures as well.
With our plans for the future now out in the open, Arma 3 is set to continue to grow in size and complexity. As you can imagine, supporting a platform with this many variables is not easy. For instance, you may have noticed that instead of every 4 to 6 weeks, Main Branch updates now occur approximately every 10 to 12 weeks. This enables us to stabilize the platform to the benefit of modding teams, while on our side, testing and supporting Arma 3 simply requires a growing amount of time (to illustrate, the 'build checklist' assembled by our Quality Assurance heroes, which we run through before every update, takes approximately three weeks). In addition, it takes into account that some of our Top Men are now also supporting the development of future Bohemia technologies and projects. As a consequence, we've also decided to change the frequency of our SITREPs. These will now appear every other week, and will hopefully contain more juicy bits of Intel. All in all, we're proud to be able to actively support Arma 3 for already more than 3 years since its original launch. This is something which has only been possible thanks to the daily cooperation with our community. We look forward to another excell... who are we kidding: splendid™ year!
Korneel van 't Land has informed us that Bohemia Interactive had announced today its development plans for Arma 3 in the upcoming year. Introduced via a new post on the Arma 3 developer’s blog, the 2016-17 roadmap reveals a variety of planned DLC content, as well as post-release support in the form of free platform updates.
Launching Arma 3 Apex was a big moment in our project; July’s expansion was the most significant milestone since our original release, in 2013. In the months that have followed, we've been thrilled to see our players exploring and expanding upon the new content, features, and - of course - splendid new terrain, Tanoa. Meanwhile, our team has been busy.
Focusing upon both post-release support and looking ahead to the next stage of development, there’s been much evaluation, discussion, and - ultimately - the formation of a high-level plan. Now, we’d like to share our goals, highlight key updates, and talk a bit about how we’ll continue to support a mature platform in the context of planning for the future.
Infantry gameplay has long been at the heart of our development. Although it remains the backbone of our sandbox, we also recognise that there are several other avenues to explore. By expanding upon combined-arms content and features, we aim to create fascinating new opportunities for our community, and attract new players looking for a gateway to a massive military experience.
We're also looking to make longer-term investments (significant free updates, for everyone) that, we hope, help Arma 3 to continue to serve as platform for our community for years to come. To balance this effort - plainly speaking: to fund our project - we've prepared a number of premium packages and free updates, which translate our vision into real development.
Next year, air superiority jets will fight for control over our simulated skies. More details are forthcoming but, for now, we can confirm this package will be supported by a free platform update, with radar / sensor improvements as its stand-out feature. By adding more depth to threat detection and tracking, we aim to improve gameplay across the entire sandbox.
This year, we opened a new studio in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. With the goal of gradually building up experience, work has started on a small project, codenamed 'Orange'. While the exact direction isn't final, we're very much interested in exploring an interesting and unique perspective on the battlefield. It’s shaping up to be a valuable, innovative addition to the platform!
MALDEN FREE DLC
June 22nd, 2017, will be Arma’s 16th anniversary. We plan to mark the occasion with a free DLC, featuring an island familiar to veterans of our series: Malden. Starting out as a small passion project, Malden 2035 re-uses many vanilla structures, vegetation, etc., to recreate this classic terrain. There’ll be an announcement related to this work in the coming weeks.
Later next year, we aim to present players with a package of playable content: 'tactical operations' that focus upon challenging, replayable and authentic military gameplay, which makes the best use of our sandbox. This development is an opportunity for us to learn how to continue to support the platform, fund our project, and offer valuable new experiences for our players.
We round off this roadmap with an ambitious goal: overhauling the experience of armoured combat in Arma 3. This package will follow our well-established model: a set of premium assets, which bring something new to the sandbox, supported by platform improvements and additions for everyone, for free. We encourage our community to share their own wishes on the topic, too!
Traditionally, instalments in the Arma series enjoy a long tail of support and, in turn, sustain an active player-base. Arma 3 stays true to this vision. Aside from the major releases outlined above, we're also assembling a robust tools roadmap to better serve our content creators. Furthermore, we've identified several new ‘platform’ improvements not yet associated with specific updates.
To provide a few examples: later this year, we'll publish 64-bit executables to Dev-Branch; work on a full singleplayer conversion of the 'Apex Protocol' co-op campaign starts soon; Tanoa structures will gradually receive additional ruins / interiors - and its splendid audio fidelity will be extended to all terrains. Naturally, we’ll discuss these things (and more!) in greater detail soon™.
Associated development is planned, too. We’ll continue to provide / expand public samples and documentation. The Arma 3 Units service will enjoy some modest UX improvements. Work with our partners on experimental ports is set to continue, too. Although this roadmap seeks only to provide a high-level outline for now, we hope you’ll agree, there’s much to look forward to!
This is now our third post-release roadmap. Along the way, we've gained a lot of experience about what works well, and what doesn't. For example, we know that developing across multiple studios is tough! In part, multiple packages help us to manage that risk, grow experience in autonomous teams, and, ultimately, add value to the platform in a sustainable way.
We’re also looking beyond Arma 3. Indeed, some of the team have already moved onto new projects in support of the development of our next engine, 'Enfusion'. We aim to find a way to both invest in the future, and serve the diverse needs and passions of our existing community. With this roadmap, we hope to strike that delicate balance.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Community Focus, Open Job Positions PRECEDENCE: Flash
The development team is polishing existing features, tackling some inconsistencies in the sandbox, and preparing for the future of Arma 3. We look forward to unveiling all of the platform improvements and content additions we have planned, and while our 2016-2017 roadmap blog is currently receiving its final touches, we intend on sharing this Intel with you in the upcoming week.
Fans of the first half of the 20th century and its military may appreciate the CSA38 mod made by a Czech duo Ondřej Branžovský (who has meanwhile joined our ranks as a Junior Environment Designer) and Petr Tlach. Their creation focuses on the Czechoslovak army from the year 1938 (up until the Munich Agreement). Unique uniforms, weapons, vehicles (tanks included) and a terrain based on a real location; a bundle of content a fan of modern history simply cannot refuse. While they are still adding new assets to the package and polishing the existing ones, it already makes a very solid impression and provides tons of gameplay opportunities. Keep up the good work!
We're sharing quite an extraordinary video today: Real American Gamernarrating his campaign playthrough of Arma 3. Playing through The East WindDeath Valley scenario accompanied by his commentary makes it quite a unique experience, even for seasoned Arma players. Watch at your own risk, as the footage contains major campaign story spoilers and some colorful language. You can find more videos of this variety on Real Gamer's YouTube
Last week, we asked our players to test an updated memory allocator, which we hoped would help solve sudden performance drops. Thanks to you, we already have some community test results. Sadly, the newly introduced memory allocator does not solve the issue for all players. We've collected reports of all sorts: some claiming that the FPS drop disappeared completely, and some stating that their game runs much slower than with the regular memory allocator. Thanks everyone for your reports! We'll of course keep investigating the issue.
With so many talented people in our community, we'd like to highlight two of our current job openings: Game Capture Artist and Technical Artist - Encoder. Let us provide a few more details regarding both positions:
As a Game Capture Artist, you'd be helping us with the creation of various audio-visual materials. This ranges from taking screenshots, to capturing game footage for trailers and other videos, and more. While this role is not only focused on Arma 3 but all Bohemia Interactive games, basic knowledge of our titles and how to set up in-game scenarios is definitely a major plus. So, if you're an Arma 3 in-game photographer or video creator, and you'd like to make your hobby a profession (or if you know someone who fits this description), be sure to check out the details on our Careers page.
Also, our new Amsterdam studio is still looking for an Encoder / Technical Artist to join its team of devs. You'd be working with our artists to bring their creations to life in our games, by configuring their properties, setting up technical model components, tuning animations, prototyping features, tweaking behaviors, and much more. Whether you're an artist with interest in the technical aspects of the work, an Arma modder with knowledge of our technologies, or a junior programmer with multi-disciplinary experience in the creation of full games in another engine for example - check our job listing for all the details and application form!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Roadmap Incoming, Memory Allocator Changes, Visual Upgrade Documentation PRECEDENCE: Flash
We're approaching another important step in the post-release support of Arma 3 and the finalization of the roadmap for the upcoming year. The development team has been busy outlining the future products, starting the pre-production phases, and brainstorming within the departments. Aside from that, a hotfix to the game is in the works; we hope to release it very soon if things go well. While progress on Arma 3 might not always be visible to public eyes, plenty of new exciting things are happening behind the curtains. We can't wait to start sharing bits of Intel in the upcoming weeks.
Community contributor (and author of the Community Guide Videos) Dslyecxi shows off his video recording and editing skills in spectacular footage he shared over on Twitter. Observing an operation from the spectator's point of view, both organizational and fighting skills of the hardened ShackTac Unit members are tested. They proceed to withdraw from an Area of Operation on Tanoa swamped by enemy soldiers controlled by AI. A glorious firefight during a pitch-black night reminds us how atmospheric Arma can be. Good luck on the next deployment, soldiers!
We always love to see unexpected and original additions to Arma 3. Operation: Trebuchet, a modification to Arma 3 inspired by a famous game series, has its first public version available on the Steam Workshop. Focusing on the perspective of a human vs human clash (no aliens here!) and introducing several assets inspired by the original games, the mod developers explained their further motivations in a dedicated reddit thread. Furthermore, a splendid trailer video was released on YouTube. Congratulations on the release and keep up the good work!
The latest Weekly Photo captures the Council of Leads before a long and (as you can tell from the faces) very serious meeting. As we have the plans for the game's future narrowed down, the department and project leads gathered to incorporate some last minute iterations and adjusted the plan before presenting it to our community. Also, we've discussed our cooperation on a company level (e.g. timing with other projects), something which proved necessary in a fast-growing company like ours.
One of the recent Dev-Branch changelog entries informs the players about the removal of certain memory allocators. After a broader discussion within the programming team, we have decided to discontinue support of several memory allocators from the game distribution on Steam. These (TCMalloc_bi, NedMalloc_bi, JEMalloc_bi, tbb3malloc_bi) were not loaded to the game by default; players needed to use a special start-up parameter (-malloc=). The reason we decided for this approach is rather pragmatic: we simply could not support all of the allocators properly and guarantee Arma 3's stability on other than the default allocators (tbb4malloc_bi, JEMalloc_bi). While the game is still able to load any allocator it is commanded to via the start-up parameter, the clarity of what we officially support and what is an experimental (and potentially unstable) solution will hopefully prove beneficial both for player experience on the one side and issue solving by the developers on the other side.
One optimistic piece of news is the potential progress in our investigation of the infamous "3FPS Drop" issue. Some players who were experiencing drastic performance drops, and were forced to restart their game, are now reporting that the issue was resolved for them by using the newest memory allocator distributed in the Profiling Branch of the game. This is why we would like to ask you, the community, to help us confirm the fix is actually working and no side issues are present. Those experiencing the issue and willing to participate on the test, please visit the dedicated forums thread created by Yours Truly and follow the instructions given within the post. It's crucial for us to have the fix confirmed by more people, so we can decide to release it in the form of a hotfix afterwards.
After the Audio Engine and Revive public documentation iterations, it's time for us to deploy our next promised update to the documentation. The Visual Upgrade documentation on the Community Wiki consists of an explanation, samples and notes on how to set the proper lighting parameters after the shaders were overhauled in Update 1.60. Apologies and a big thank you to those who waited for what turned out to be quite a complicated effort. Several iterations, adjustments and overhauls were needed before we were happy with the documentation and decided to publish it on the Community Wiki. There certainly is more room for improvements and iterations from our side. We hope to document several aspects (such as the CAWorld or LightingNew classes) into more detail some time in future. As always, we're eager to hear your feedback; be sure to leave a comment on the forums.