FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Armaversary, Main Menu Overhaul, Vehicle-in-Vehicle Transport, Vehicle Path-Following PRECEDENCE: Flash
The first week of pre-release public testing of the Apex sandbox has proven once again the value of this approach. Combined with our own thorough tests, your feedback has contributed to many tweaks and fixes already. At the small cost of a slightly skewed first impression due to the work-in-progress nature of the content, this will lead to a more solid release on July 11. Note that most changes arrive first to the daily experimental Dev-Branch. We then selectively merge these to the Apex Sneak Preview and RC updated periodically. The update processes are running a little slower than we're used to, because of the large amount of data and increased branch count. It has also been quite remarkable to see a wide range of mods release compatible versions within days, and in some cases hours, of content staging. The hard work of teams like Exile, GetWrecked, various Life incarnations and others will provide players with a great many options come full release. There's still plenty to polish, so we'll get on with it!
Happy birthday Arma! On June 22, it's been 15 years since the series' first entry was released in Europe: Arma Cold War Assault. Since then, over 10 million copies (excluding DLC) have been sold, of which 2.5 million for Arma 3 to date. On behalf of our company and everyone who has worked on Arma, we'd like to thank all players, modders, units, server admins, moderators and all other people who have supported the franchise along the way. To celebrate, we're hosting the best deal ever, with 15 years of Arma at 15% of its current price (special bundle of all released Arma games and DLC) - one day only, exclusively on the Bohemia Store. Cheers to another 15 years!
One of the first things greeting you when starting the game after Apex (1.62), is an overhauled Main Menu. One of the goals was simply to apply a fresh coat of paint, as we've done for the game itself with the Visual Upgrade. After a few years of playing the game, and with more years to go, having a splendid new entry point to gameplay was desired. In addition, several of our designers have taken a look at the User eXperience of the interface and made tweaks to how elements are arranged, presented and interacted with. One part of this was to re-focus on the center of the screen (most other displays were also centralized). This is also where we placed several visually-pleasing spotlight tiles for the content we want to promote (or mods want to promote!).
Another aspect of the Main Menu is the terrain-specific cutscene played in the background. Throughout the Arma series there have been various approaches. Before Apex, our terrains showed a drone-like feed with combat going on in the distance. Now we've gone with a series of static scenes that showcase the environment, and provide more stable performance at the same time. Of course mods can tweak the UI and these scenes. Head over to the Community Wiki for the documentation.
Logistics are essential on the battlefield. After introducing features like Sling Loading for helicopters, we wanted to offer another important capability: carrying vehicles inside larger vehicles. This will open another avenue for commanders to move their assets across large distances, for example between the islands of Tanoa. The first version of Vehicle-in-Vehicle Transport is available on Dev-Branch, where it will be iterated for a little while before taking it to other versions. So far, the new VTOLs have been prepared to load any suitable vehicle in the vanilla sandbox, from the new LSVs to existing light armored vehicles. In some cases you may even load up multiple vehicles. In the future we'd like to prepare our larger pre-Apex aircraft for this as well, but that requires some additional work. Cargo vehicles do not need setting up for the most part, as load capacity is determined based on their actual bounding box dimensions and weight. One very cool aspect of this feature is the ability to eject cargo vehicles mid-flight and have them be parachuted down (depending on altitude and pilot skill!).
In our wildest dreams, we envisioned this feature to also mean you would drive up a vehicle ramp and park the vehicle manually. However, after experimenting with this and similar approaches, we learned it wouldn't be feasible to deliver, given reasonable resources. These attempts caused complex problems with AI, animations and physics. We want our engine-based features to be fully available for: AI, commanding, waypoints, multiplayer, Eden Editor, Zeus, mods, etc. That's why we've decided to implement the feature in a more abstracted way. For technical details and available modding options, check out the Community Wiki documentation (more information coming, including script command references). Give the feature a go yourself, build some simple scenarios around it, and discuss your evaluation on our forums. Programmer-Designer duo Tomáš Nezval and Karel Kališ are monitoring for any reported issues and potential tweaks. We definitely think it will allow for some very cool gameplay and large combined arms operations.
Deep in his secret lair, Senior Programmer Krzysztof Bielawski has been experimenting with significant AI driving enhancements. Before we describe this effort more, we should make it clear that this tech will not be part of the 1.62 update yet. It requires more work and testing of all content. Once finalized, our hope is that especially vehicle path-following will have improved. It should teach AI to navigate through narrow roads and urban areas more effectively. Other AI challenges being looked into are formation holding and convoy driving. There is also a powerful new modding opportunity as it allows a per-vehicle behavior to be configured via a new driving component in vehicle simulation. On top of this it has been a general refactoring and optimization of the code. A first iteration, tweaks and fixes have already gone live on , so let us know how it's working and get more Intel straight from the source!
There will be a brief interruption in our regular activity this Thursday and Friday while all Bohemia Interactive teams meet up for a company-wide event. This will affect Dev-Branch and other branch updates, as well as our interaction on the various communication channels.
Until next week, let's join these Tanoan locals anxiously awaiting your arrival to their homeland.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Apex Release Date, Apex Sneak Preview, Apex Dev Diary PRECEDENCE: Flash
Where do we even begin? Chances are that not many of you will read this week's report due to the massive influx of Apex Intel and goodies over the past days. But perhaps for that reason we actually recommend you do keep on reading! Get a clear overview of what we've revealed: the July 11th 2016 release date, a E3 2016 Teaser Trailer, the full expansion contents, and more.
Soon after last week's staging of Tanoa, we published the Dev Diary we had promised a while back. In this video, Project Lead Petr Kolář and Creative Director Jay Crowe take you on a tour of the setting and content of Arma 3 Apex. Looking beyond centerpiece Tanoa, they discuss the new vehicles, weapons and gear for the various factions. The last segment of the diary takes a first look at the upcoming "Apex Protocol" co-op campaign, without spoiling too much about the narrative. You will also see glimpses of many of our proud developers, working hard in the various studios to get the expansion done on time. Keep it up guys and gals, together with the community we'll get this done!
If you'd like to inspect the contents of the expansion at your own pace, visit our new Apex overview website for all the details. Not only will you learn about the premium content additions, but we've detailed the long list of free platform updates as well. A series of new screenshots has also been shared there, and on the Bohemia Interactive Store and Steam product pages. The full Apex Edition is still definitely the best option for new Arma 3 recruits.
We'd like to also clarify that, unlike some would claim, we have absolutely never advertised the DLC Bundle would contain Apex. It has always been stated to include Karts, Helicopters and Marksmen DLC. Owners of the (retired) Supporter Edition do receive Apex as part of their package.
The team then entered an intense few days of non-stop work to prepare for our appearance on the 2016 PC Gaming Show in Los Angeles. Thanks to Brand & PR Manager Korneel van 't Land's tireless behind-the-scenes coordination and Jay's splendid on-screen presence, we showed off Apex to the massive live audience. Our thanks to the show organizers and host Sean Plott for getting us back on! In case you missed the show, watch its recording here (01:31:17 for the summoning of the Crowe). The audience support in the various chats also did not go unnoticed! Besides premiering the Teaser Trailer, there were two other very significant reveals!
The final release date was confirmed as the 11th of July 2016. Yes, it's 11 days past our intended Q2 release window. But the extra time will allow us to react to several weeks of public feedback, and also let the (modding) community prepare for the release. And to make sure you have something to do, we've staged all Apex sandbox content for you to try!
Making it easier than ever to preview the work-in-progress content ahead of release, we've added a new public branch for Arma 3 and Arma 3 Server. Go to either app's Properties, select the BETAS tab and then pick the Apex Sneak Preview Build from the list. Steam will now download the data and after that you're good to go. There are various things to keep in mind, so let's make this a clear list, shall we?
The Apex Sneak Preview branch will be available all the way up to release, and then you can obviously continue playing on main branch.
We recommend this branch over Dev-Branch for regular players. It's less experimental in nature.
If you suffer bandwidth restrictions, consider waiting for the full release. Large and frequent updates are expected until release.
If you don't want to spoil your own first impressions by this work-in-progress build, consider waiting for the full release.
Feel free to share media and stream from this build, but we'd love it if you could let your audience know this is an unfinished pre-release version.
People love exploring, so please be mindful of obvious spoilers. We've been very impressed with your efforts to warn people so far, especially on the Arma subreddit!
Even if you do not own Apex yet, you can try the assets in the Virtual Arsenal / Garage mode for free! This mode can also be accessed from the game's DLC Content Browser (Shift + P).
Playable Content (e.g. the co-op campaign) is not yet staged, but will be during the weeks before release.
This is and will be the same build as the RC Branch highlighted below (therefore also multiplayer compatible with each other).
We're still tweaking, fixing and polishing the contents of Apex in many areas.Weapon animations and audio will see improvements, some features are yet to be enabled (e.g. Vehicle-in-Vehicle Transport and secondary weapon muzzle deployment), glitches are being addressed, etc. Please report specific issues on the Feedback Tracker with as much data as you can. We'd also love your feedback via our forum threads for vehicles, weapons, gear and props.
The feedback to Tanoa has been amazing, rewarding and motivating! The Environment Design and Art teams are processing all reports and tweaking the terrain across the board. Besides fixing obvious glitches, like misplaced objects, they are also still improving areas like the underwater world as best they can. Other aspects will remain as they are for release, such as the amount of building interiors. This different approach was first discussed during last year's reveal of Tanoa. We are however investigating the handling of model Levels Of Detail. We too observe LODs switching too aggressively, and we are pursuing improvements both in our data and the engine. It should be said that LOD switching will never be completely invisible, simply due to the nature of this method of achieving better performance.
It's cool to see you've noticed our work on making the AI work better in Tanoa's jungles and other locations. This has been an on-going effort on the RoadToApex, with some of the changes reaching Altis & Stratis in the previous platform updates. Further tweaking of this too, is still in progress, by adjusting AI parameters and improving the technical LODs of natural objects for example. Along with features like the extended AI suppression commands, please discuss how you feel AI behavior can be further enhanced on our forums.
Even though we now have the readily available Apex Sneak Preview branch, we still want to also cater to regular Release Candidate testers. A clone / alias of the same build is available as regular1.62 RC via Steam access code Arma3Update162. We intend for these branches to contain the same, multiplayer-compatible, build until release. Find the high-level and evolving change log here. It's up to you which one you prefer to use, but either way is fine!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Apex Artwork, PC Gaming Show 2016, Tanoa Dev-Branch Status PRECEDENCE: Flash
Things have really kicked off yesterday with the revelation of the official Arma 3 Apex artwork and logo. We hope you're as excited as we are about the setting that's depicted there. It has been a joy to read your discussions about the clues contained within. We're seeing the full package coming together fast now, and soon you'll have all the details yourselves. One particular event to mark in your calendars is the PC Gaming Show 2016 on Monday June 13 at 11:30 PDT / 20:30 CEST. Creative Director Jay Crowe will be on-stage to announce the release date for Apex, and to drop more splendid Intel. The show will be live streamed on various platforms, including a mirror on our Twitch channel. There will no doubt be a recording for on-demand viewing afterwards as well. Be sure to stick around for the after show for more Bohemia Interactive coverage!
Before we look ahead even more, let's take one more peak back at the recent 1.60 update. Besides the Visual Upgrade, shown off brilliantly by CallMehTOMMEH, there were many more cool aspects. To make sure you didn't miss a thing, take a look at our top 10 favorite changes. They weren't necessarily ordered by any parameter, but they stood out to us as useful steps forward. The pretty comparison images and other media should give you a much clearer view on the improvements. Another synopsis is offered by our friends at the ARMAnet podcast in their recent debrief episode.
The plan was to ambush Apex owners by staging the Tanoa terrain to our experimental Dev-Branch. But it turns out some distribution and ownership issues are delaying your hands-on exploration a little longer. We are liaising with our Steam partners to get this resolved quickly, because we know the game build itself works well. For unknown reasons the Steam API is feeding incorrect ownership status to the game, and it's also refusing to download the Tanoa data to you. Know that there is nothing you can do on your side to solve this. We're pursuing a solution as soon as possible. We would also like to remind you of the type of build you're getting by using Dev-Branch. This is not and has never been a final release state. Please take a look at the branch overview of limitations, and consider whether you'd like to jump in or wait for the full release. Of particular note are the expected large daily updates. Due to the EBO (Encrypted PBO) files not being friends with Steam's delta patching, you can easily see hundreds, if not thousands, of MBs getting pushed around. To tide you over, enjoy this sneak preview video by our very own CEO: Marek Španěl.
But let's assume the access issue gets solved soon; then all Apex owners get to explore the entire Tanoa terrain. We're very proud of how it has turned out even given the polish that's yet to be done. It looks great, feels authentic, and provides for a plethora of gameplay possibilities. Please share your feedback with us on the forums, and report glitches on the Feedback Tracker. You'll probably still encounter misplaced objects and similar issues, and your reports will let us solve as many as possible before the full release. Please also allow us to respectfully ask you to mark any media you share with some indication that this is still a work-in-progress version, so that it may be clear for future viewers. Finally, since exploration is such a key part, consider not sharing some of the unique locations too prominently. Let eventual Apex owners be wowed by the locales our environment designers have worked so hard on. But most importantly: have a lot of fun playing around in this new green sandbox!
With parts of Apex coming your way on Dev branch, we should explain how Content Licensing will work with regards to our established DLC strategy. Let's get the easy parts out of the way first: all vehicles, weapons and character gear will work as it did in previous DLC. You will be able to try them freely in VR Arsenal / Garage. When you encounter and use them outside of that mode as non-owner, you will meet various limitations and messages. Various decorative props, as well as all new features and technologies are free to every Arma 3 player out there! This is made possible thanks to the continued awesome support of the full player-base.
The difference is the Tanoa terrain itself. Here you really need to own Apex to gain access, whether in the editor or multiplayer or any other avenue. Not only that, but the Tanoa-specific data, such as environmental objects and structures, is only downloaded to Apex owners. This is a necessary departure from the previous approach where everyone shared the exact same data-set. Practically what this means is that you should carefully consider including such assets in your custom content, because non-owners may struggle to play it. The motivations for doing this are the sheer size and scale of Tanoa, and the investment behind it. We did not find a reasonable way of implementing a try-before-you-buy approach here. In addition, the extra ~6 GB of data was too large for us to force onto every Arma 3 player's installation. We think that once you explore Tanoa, you'll clearly see the years of effort our team has put into it, are worth it!
Shortly after the 1.60 update, there was a small hotfix to address several miscellaneous issues discovered after rolling out the build to everyone. Inspect its SPOTREP for all the details
The folks of the Foxhound International community group have published a very handy reference guide for scripters. It's a single sheet PDF with lots of relevant SQF scripting topics like: syntax, operator precedence, control statements, locality, etc. While you are there, soaking up the knowledge, also go over their other development blogs. Thanks for your contributions!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Update 1.60 Released, Feedback Tracker Online, Respawn Screen PRECEDENCE: Flash
Now that the dust is starting to settle from the usual post-release frenzy, we hope you're all enjoying the pretty sights made possible by the Visual Upgrade. We're actively scanning all channels for any priority issues. We'd like to commend the warriors of the mod scene for swiftly releasing compatibility updates to unlock the potential of the new improvements. If you're playing with Exile, Unsung, CUP, ALiVE or many of the other projects out there, you'll find new versions for 1.60 out already.
We're now entering a very exciting time. Our destination is in sight. During June you'll get all the Intel on Apex and its release plans. There will be lots of activity on Dev-Branch while we prepare the game for 1.62 and start staging expansion components. Please be mindful of what Dev-Branch is and is not however. We welcome all your feedback, and really do need it, but if you'd like to experience the final product - consider waiting just a tad longer. The team is entering a stressful and rewarding period. Developers are stepping outside their normal roles and helping each other out where they can. We're working hard to ensure this will be the release Arma 3 and its players deserve.
We know you love mods, and so do we. Mod DB has kicked off another mod appreciation week for 2016. Share your favorite mods and thank your favorite modders simply by posting about them on your channel of choice. Add a download link and #modlove2016 to spread the love. Let's give those awesome developers the pats on the back they deserve!
One example of comprehensive modding efforts has probably not gone unnoticed: the release of Iron Front Lite Preview on Workshop. This may warrant a little history lesson for new recruits. IF is a massive World War 2 project that was also released as stand-alone game based on Arma 2's technology. The impressive full package has been ported to Arma 3 and is being updated to use its new technologies and features. The Lite version is free for everyone and uses lower-quality textures. There is a tonne more pieces of information in this forums thread, ranging from team credits to future plans.
Did you already know that we've expanded our available Bohemia Interactive merchandise a while ago? You'll find a range of T-shirts in our store, with more designs planned in the future. Available also are printed maps, Tactical Guides and unit patches. Display them with pride!
UX Designer Petra Ivašková has shared with us her first OPerations REPort, on the new Respawn Screen that was released with update 1.60. She describes the major changes to the interface, which is now unified into a single panel, and a new approach to role and load-out selection. The report wraps up by mentioning customization options for modders and scenario designers. They will find in-depth documentation on the Community Wiki. Even though this work has been released to main branch, it can still be discussed on our forums!
The full list of changes for Arma 3, Arma 3 Server and Arma 3 Tools can be inspected in the SPOTREP and TECHREP. One of the things many of you immediately spotted were temporary compatibility issues on custom terrains. This was expected and done after a discussion with modders so that they could more effectively leverage the Visual Upgrade for their terrains. It did mean that full backward-compatibility could not be preserved, but a number of popular terrains have already been updated meanwhile. For the technically-minded among us, this means that the CAWorld base configuration class contains the VU parameters so that they can be easily inherited by any terrain. If your sky looks broken, please look for an update or contact the mod's author to request one.
Any issues can now be once again reported to Feedback Tracker. It has been slowly re-launched over the past weeks to make sure things are working well. Former tickets were imported with working re-directs to their new equivalent. If you had an account on the previous version, recover it by requesting a new password. We of course recommend you then configure your own, strong and unique password for access. The Phabricator framework also supports multi-factor authentication, which you should consider for additional security. Let us now get back to using this feedback portal for collaborative development of the Arma 3 platform in a constructive manner. Thank you for your patience while the system was down.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Development Status, Rendering Optimizations, VON Improvements PRECEDENCE: Flash
We would very much like to release the 1.60 update later this week. That would clear the way for the final leg of our journey to Apex. It would allow us to start staging some very interesting components of the package in phases. And of course it would mean everybody gets to enjoy the Visual Upgrade and other improvements. Give the most recent RC branch a go if you can, and alert us to any last-minute issues on the forums. Our developers' work on Apex is meanwhile subject to Strict Data Lock and Localization Lock. For those of you new to our development cycle, this means that all work and changes in data must now be explicitly approved. We do this to consolidate the package, to monitor how all components interact with each other, to stabilize the build, and of course to pester our beloved devs! The second lock means the bulk of texts have been submitted for translation and any further changes need careful coordination. This doesn't mean work has finished, far from it, but we're nearing our destination on the #RoadToApex.
Reality Gaming Task Force is back with an action-packed montage that was compiled from 600 clips during 6 months of gameplay compressed into 6 minutes of video.
The Spanish FFAA mod is no stranger to our reports either, but we simply cannot ignore this gorgeous cinematic!
A few optimization-related entries appeared on the Dev-Branch change logs recently. Now that Tanoa is nearing its final form for release, it allows for more effective and targeted optimization work to be done. Doing this while locations aren't yet populated, or the thousands of placed objects don't yet have final Levels Of Detail, could skew results. A set of rendering optimizations by Senior Programmer Lukáš Bábíček has now come online, covering areas like preparing the scene for rendering in smarter ways, aggregating the terrain grid, drawing distant objects that have become reduced to mere pixels, LOD-handling, calculating terrain shadows, etc. Even though these optimizations were benchmarked on Tanoa, they can definitely help on other terrains. But there are risks also. It may be that one type of scene now works better, while another runs worse. Or various kinds of visual glitching may have become more prominent. We'd like to hear your own observations and measurements. Please note that the Dev-Branch build does have some additional performance impacts compared to main branch (diagnostics e.g.). Also try to rule out external factors, such as corrupted data and defragmented drives.
There has been an overdue and multi-angle effort to improve our native Voice-Over-Network technology. At this stage the goal of this work is to make vanilla VON properly usable, not to match the excellent work of the various radio communications mods out there. At a low-level we have Programmer Dmitro Panasenko looking at the underlying technology. The game now supports the Opus codec next to Speex (use vonCodec = 1 in the server.cfg). There have also been optimizations and fixes to address the stuttering issues. These are hard to verify due to the high number of players needed in a session, so we eagerly await your experiences. Coordinated by Designer Karel Kališ, there are also UX enhancements in the pipeline. Available now is a separation of VON and (text) chat, with control for servers and scenarios. More improvements, such as muting options, are being looked into, but we're not yet sure when we can deliver those. Read more details in this forums write-up on the current state, and feel free to leave your feedback.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Release Candidate 1.60, Limping, Line Drawing, Quick Play PRECEDENCE: Flash
That was quite the weekend for Arma 3! A huge amount of players tried the game for free over the past few days, beating our concurrent player record. Plenty of recruits have also made their enlisting a more permanent career. We'd like to welcome everyone to the Armaverse. You've picked a perhaps slightly turbulent but very definitely exciting time to jump aboard. A new expansion is on the horizon and we're still supporting the platform with a motivated team. Keep an eye on the reports in our Dev Hub, like the one you're reading now, for our Intel on the #RoadToApex. Our last pitstop is the 1.60 update, for which we've just started the public Release Candidate test. Thank you for contributing to the splendid release prep!
Last week's dev photo shows on-going focus tests of the Apex co-op campaign. Design Lead Jaroslav Kašný and Senior Designer Thomas Ryan carefully observe several Prague QA testers as they had their first proper play-through of the missions (on the actual photo they were just preparing for the session in Eden Editor). They took notes on issues, progress, flow, comprehension, challenge, balance, fun and more. All feedback was taken back to the Playable Content lair for use during development iterations. The 1-4 player campaign with ties to "The East Wind" will be one of the last components of Apex to be available to you on Dev-Branch, but we think the multiplayer experience will be worth the wait.
You can now share information on map interfaces a little more conveniently, because we've added a simple ability to draw line map markers (in addition to inserting standard symbol markers). Thanks to Programmer Marcel Marciš and Designer Radko Voda, you can just hold Left Control and draw using the Left Mouse Button. The map interface has also been enhanced by two combo boxes, one to select the marker color and one to change the inserted symbols (the old arrow key selection methods will still work). Any placed markers can be removed by hovering over them and pressing Delete. Visibility of the new line markers is handled the same as for any other type (via active radio channels). We are looking at methods of controlling potential spam. Please let us know your notes on this feature on the forums.
We've long wanted to reflect a character's injured leg restrictions in a more immersive manner. Thanks to an effort coordinated by Animation Encoder Martin Kašpar, and supported by our other animators and MOCAP technicians, characters with leg injuries will now be limping as they try to move. This involved quite a few changes in the animation spider, so if you spot glitches, let us know in this forums thread.
There is one more surprise feature that is to be included in the 1.60 update: Quick Play. Finding a suitable multiplayer server can be quite time-consuming, especially when you're new to Arma 3. There are many things to consider, like custom modes, required mods and servers with special rules. While we've recently added an improved to the Launcher, with powerful filters to find suitable sessions, we also want to cater to those players with little time or awareness of the varied multiplayer scene. The idea behind the new Quick Play display in the game is to get you playing with as little user input as possible. You simply pick a desired game type, maximum ping and searching method - then the game will try to get you into a server automatically. Importantly, this system takes into consideration the mod mix you're using, so it will only connect you to servers that are compatible. To make it very clear: this is not intended to replace the existing browser(s), but to be a companion tool. This also is a first version, and please be aware of limited server availability during RC testing. As with our other improvements, do please visit the forums to leave your notes.
Let's wrap up this week by enjoying a small selection of the great screenshots that have come our way recently. Special kudos go to Lapinaur, who has been relentlessly publishing sweet artwork almost every day. But our thanks go to all war photographers out there - your pics bring little morale boosts to us every time we see them!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Launcher Upgrade, CfgPatches Revamp, Difficulty Overhaul Phase 3, Work Drive PRECEDENCE: Flash
We are presently preparing a snapshot build for the 1.60 update that we'd like to release at the end of this month. We feel that we should point out this is another complex update that affects the game in many areas. Some of those are very prominent, like the Visual Upgrade. Some are more low-level and explained later in this report. As is usual for Arma 3, these changes have been available on Dev-Branch for weeks if not months. We will also soon stage a public Release Candidate for even broader testing. And of course we're doing our own extensive build tests. As we've learned, no matter how hard we all try, there is a risk of errors sneaking in. Please know that we will work hard to mitigate the risks and to address issues should they appear. Ultimately, doing these changes now will pave the #RoadToApex, and hopefully provide a smooth landing on Tanoa.
There is a new Dev Diary coming your way. Focusing on the Apex expansion, a few key developers on the project will share exclusive information and reveal some of the behind-the-scenes processes. This should finally provide a clearer picture of what Apex is going to bring in terms of its setting and sandbox additions. Most of the interviews have already been recorded, and the editing is now starting. As you can see on the weekly dev photo, our Creative Director Jay Crowe was sharing his thoughts so passionately that he drew the attention of a rather unusual audience.
The new Feedback Tracker sent out its first signs of life this week, although it did so a little too intensely. Some of you received large numbers of e-mail notifications (from a >@bistudio.com address) about seemingly random tickets. This was caused by the first attempt to import the old database into the new system. Our web team is trying another approach now, so FT is probably still offline while you're reading this. Our goal is to have the full collection of tickets available with minimal loss of data, including re-directs via the old URLs. We'll let you know when things are fully online and ready for your reports (not just for Arma 3, but other games as well). Meanwhile please keep using the Troubleshooting section on the forums.
The community ARMAnet podcast is still going strong and we can wholeheartedly recommend listening to its fifth episode. They interviewed several members of the Community Upgrade Project: Alwarren, Slatts and Varanon. In a very insightful and stimulating discussion, they went over the history of their mod, their methodology and the team's organization. The guests and hosts also debated the pros and cons of working on an evolving platform such as Arma 3's. Check out this episode and the older ones via PodBean or iTunes!
One of the Launcher team champions, Jiří Polášek, has reported on a significant upgrade that has been staged to Dev-Branch recently. Its 1.5 version brings great new improvements to the Server Browser, such as more robust handling of various types of required (server) mods and DLC detection. It even sports partial support for non-Workshop mods. A list of the specific changes is available here. There is one particular thing to highlight, since it will appease many of you. Until now, due to technical limitations in how Steam handles Workshop content, you'd often have duplicates of mods on your harddrives. The Launcher team has now found a way to utilize mods directly from the Workshop cache. That means the Launcher will also delete the copies it had created in the Arma 3 install folder (those are no longer needed). Jiří adds a warning for advanced users who tried to work around the issue themselves by deleting or otherwise manipulating the cache: "If you had developed the habit of deleting the Workshop cache files, please stop doing so. After this update, you would be effectively be removing the actual mod files. Only the first time Launcher 1.5 is started, it will attempt to restore the Workshop cache with files from the Arma 3 folder. Afterwards, this fix will not be possible without a re-download (verifying integrity of game cache)."
In preparation of new addon identification features (mainly for Eden Editor - we'll have more details for you soon), we are revamping all CfgPatches classes; the part of the game's config which is responsible for the load order of configuration files. We are unifying the way these classes are named, which results in some new classes and some obsolete ones. The obsolete classes will still be available in-game for backwards compatibility, meaning that there shouldn't be any issues in the long term. However, once these changes appear on Dev-Branch, scenarios created in that version of the game might not be compatible with the main version of the game until the next main branch update (1.60).
Having previously reported on phases 1 and 2 of the Difficulty Overhaul, we can now say that the 3rd and final phase is live on Dev-Branch. A simple but useful addition is a set of text descriptions and image previews of the various options. This should finally do away with the sometimes vague labels of the past, and make it clear what you're changing.
Cooperating with the Designer departments, Junior Programmer Rastislav Tisovčík has also implemented a new forcedDifficultyserver.cfg parameter. It allows server administrators to force a particular difficulty preset for all scenarios played on a server. To better communicate this to players, a few User Interface tweaks were made as well. You'll find the details in the relevant forums thread.
Tools Commissar Julien Vida shares with us details on an update to Work Drive - a tool in our suite that handles the working drive (P) and its content. Its new iteration lets modders extract PBO data in a simple and optimized way. Head on over to our forums for a full analysis by Julien himself. We'd like to remind everyone that you should always pay careful attention to any license covering the data you're extracting. Respect each other's hard work and let us all enjoy a productive, collaborative and rewarding User Generated Content scene!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Tanoa Sector Tests, Community Guides, 1.58 Re-Released PRECEDENCE: Flash
Seeing how we're very busy to deliver Arma 3 Apex, there isn't a lot to report on this week. You'll be happy to know that this effort includes our Marketing Communications people working on various avenues to shed more light on the expansion. Over the next two months, we'll finally be showing more about the assets, features and the Tanoa crown jewel. At the moment we don't yet have a concrete timeline for staging the components to Dev-Branch (besides what was already released on the#RoadToApex of course!). Our usual approach is to stage Sandbox assets (vehicles, weapons, characters, props, Tanoa) in several phases first and Playable Content (co-op campaign) last. Features sneak in continuously throughout, as they have for the past while. Once we decide on the specifics, we'll be letting you know via our usual channels.
In cooperation with Andrew "Dslyecxi" Gluck, we've published another entry in the Community Guide video series. The "Reconnaissance" episode deals with methods for conducting recon and why you would benefit from doing it in the first place. Andrew describes it as "looking for the enemy in a low-profile manner", which can be useful regardless of your play style or favorite mode. It will allow you to get an understanding of the tactical situation before you execute a plan of action. Tools of the trade include: binoculars, magnified scopes, remote cameras, UAVs, UGVs, recon helicopters and operators on the ground. A key take-away: always preserve the element of surprise!
If you haven't seen the rest of the Community Guides, view them all in this playlist. You can also access them from within the game, in the LEARN sub-menu. Because the game has evolved a lot since its initial release, we've added a few disclaimers to make it clear using which version each guide was recorded. Some of the Intel presented may be outdated, but the overal knowledge contained within the series is definitely still worth your time.
The splendid environment team, led by Martin Pezlar, still has a lot of work ahead of itself, cutting their way through the 'green hell' of Tanoa. As a sign of good progress, they have recently requested thorough sector testing from our hard-working Quality Assurance testers. The terrain is divided into 8 big sectors, which consist of a total of 32 sub-areas. Many of those are now undergoing rigorous and detailed testing by the ladies and gentlemen in the QA teams, for which we thank them! They are focusing on a broad range of issues so that we can fix them ahead of release. To give you an impression of what they're scanning for: misplaced objects, weeds growing where they shouldn't, missing textures, inconsistent visual appearance, satellite map blending errors, collision problems, AI navigation glitches, road and path network disconnections, terrain mesh irregularities, 2D map topography mistakes, and more. As further sectors are made ready by Martin's team, they too are submitted for testing. At the same time, Tanoa is being set up for its lighting configuration. Situated in a different part of the world, there are noticeable differences compared to Altis and Stratis. Slowly but surely, and with excellent cooperation with our artists and other departments, the archipelago is made ready for your eager exploration.
Hotfixes for update 1.58 and the Arma 3 Tools were published to the respective main branches last Thursday. For the game this should have solved the performance issues connected to the systemmalloc, plus some crashes and a problem related to difficulty settings on Dedicated Servers. Further difficulty issues are under investigation, so that we know exactly whether some behavior may have changed unintentionally for example. We are also still searching for the cause of various server crashes reported by admins.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Official Mod, Milsim Stream VoD, Top 10 Update 1.58, Price Reductions, Score Screen PRECEDENCE: Flash
We've moved a step forward on the #RoadToApex, admittedly with a few stumbles, now that update 1.58 has hit main branch . There were several great improvements, which we're confident have bolstered the game's usability. Later in this report we will also share Intel on how we're dealing with some of the issues that were shared with us. Apex is looming on the horizon, so besides dealing with update glitches, we're already in full motion to compile the 1.60 build ( Visual Upgrade and more). That does mean there are many more complex changes coming up, which we all know don't always work flawlessly in the broader player-base. But we still feel that doing this in chunks, rather than all at once, makes it more manageable for us, modders and players alike. Plus it means you don't have to wait for everything we're working on. Bear with us, it will be worth it!
You can now watch the full-length recording of the #milsim live stream, organized by Community Developer Greg Becksted and QA Assistant Adam Hurta with the 21st Ranger Regiment. It was impressive to see the unit react to unexpected events while observing strict discipline. Greg reflected on the fun event by stating: "We've completed our first ever #milsim live stream, visiting the 21st Ranger Regiment on one of their regular co-op milsim missions. With 70+ players active, multiple platoons and an active campaign lasting weeks, what does it take to organize, run and participate in a milsim group like this? We took a close look at the 21st Ranger Regiment's operations, touched on what mods they use and discussed the details of what is involved in running one of their typical missions. We were also joined by FRIZNIT, one of the developers of the ALiVE mod. He expanded on the mod's features and provided some of its history and their plans moving forward. Many thanks to Vegas, the leader of the 21st and everyone in the 21st Ranger Regiment for letting us tag along on one of their operations and letting us explore how they use Arma 3 for their milsim experience."
Perhaps it has snuck past you unnoticed, but we've announced the first permanent price drop for Arma 3 since its release in September 2013. Both the base game and all released DLC have been reduced in price. For newcomers, the Apex Edition definitely still is the best option. It will give you the game, digital extras, DLC and the upcoming Apex expansion. Take a look at the updated purchasing overview.
Last week we did something a little unexpected. We published an 'official' mod to Steam Workshop as a celebration of Arma's custom content scene. One of our goals was to show how easy it can be to discover, install and maintain such content via the official Launcher. Read the whole story in Creative Director Jay Crowe's most recent OPREP on the matter.
What kind of mod is it actually? We present to you the 'ADR-97 Weapon Pack', which consists of several variants of this unique SMG. Created by the multi-talented Senior Programmer BXBX in his spare time, you can now play around with this high rate-of-fire weapon for free. We should also acknowledge splendid support by Project Lead Petr Kolář and Senior Animator Paweł Smolewski for their off-duty help with encoding and animations respectively. To clarify: even though this firearm was crafted by our devs, we do really consider this a mod, not a vanilla Sandbox asset. See the weapon in action in our introductory video, and then jump into the game to squeeze off a few rounds yourself.
Senior (UI) Designer Vladimír Hynek has teamed up with Senior Programmer Krzysztof Bielawski to convert the previously hard-coded score / stats screen (seen in multiplayer by pressing P by default) to one that is configured like most other displays. This will not only let us tweak and improve the screen, but also allow modders to make relevant changes more easily.
A full change log of the 1.58 release is available in its SPOTREP. Even after four weeks of public RC testing , various issues did pop up. Let's go over the major ones, for which we are considering a small hotfix in the near future.
A group of users report severe performance degradation after some playtime. This appears to be an issue when using the systemmemory allocator. Most of these users confirm that the issue is solved by switching to another allocator (e.g. TBB4). Regardless, we believe we have a fix, and we're testing it in-house.
The Difficulty Overhaul mostly just caused confusion, which was a matter of re-configuration for server administrators. Tips and work-arounds are being discussed in this thread on the Arma subreddit. Actual bugs in the implementation are not yet confirmed, but are being investigated.
BattlEye started kicking clients who took too long to download custom scenarios. This was temporarily mitigated by setting a longer timeout, but a proper fix is being sought. The silver lining is that these changes to the BE implementation lay the groundwork for support in the Linux and Mac ports.
We're also processing (modded server) crash reports.
The Tools and Samples also have their change log, and a very nice overview of the changes written by R&D Lead Julien Vida. Here there was an issue that caused faulty binarization of terrains, which has swiftly been fixed on the relevant Dev-Branch.
But let us not forget the cool stuff these updates bring to the platform. We've written up another Top 10 article to go over the 1.58 highlights, such as the Tasks Overhaul and the weapon switching package.
That's it for this week. Now that the weather gods over our various studios have decided it isn't quite spring yet, we join PhiGohlYT in wishing for the summer season!
Korneel van 't Land has informed us about "ADR-97 free weapon pack" release.
In support of the Arma 3 Steam Workshop, Bohemia Interactive deployed an 'official mod' in the form of the freeADR-97 Weapon Pack. A new trailer, which accompanies the ADR's release, demonstrates how easy it is to install user-created content from the Arma 3 Steam Workshop.
The ADR-97 Weapon Pack consists of a collection of variants of the ADR-97 submachine gun. Inspired by the iconic FN P90, the ADR is a lightweight, highly maneuverable firearm with a high rate of fire, which stands out due to the 50-round magazines positioned on top of the weapon. The ADR-97 comes with inbuilt collimator sights, but some variants can also be fitted with custom optics.
To add the ADR-97 Weapon Pack to their game, players simply need to visit the official mod's page on the Steam Workshop (via their web browser or the Steam Client), and click on the green 'Subscribe' button, as is demonstrated in the video. Then, when they start Arma 3 from their Steam Library, they can enable the ADR-97 Weapon Pack (and other mods they have installed) via the 'Mods' tab in the Arma 3 Launcher, and run the game. The ADR-97 is now reasy for use; give it a go in the new 3D Scenario Editor!
In addition, while marching forward on the #RoadToApex, Arma 3 today also received a significant platform update. Highlights of Update 1.58 include the new Apex control preset, the ability to switch between weapons while in movement, an overhaul to Arma 3's difficulty options, an improved system for assigning and managing in-game 'tasks', and continued support for the recently released Eden 3D Editor, as well as a range of other improvements and fixes. The complete changelog is available on the Arma 3 Dev Hub.
Last but not least, for the first time since its official release in September 2013, Bohemia Interactive has announced a permanent price drop for Arma 3 and all of its DLC released so far. The new price for the Arma 3 base game is 34,99 EUR / 29.99 GBP / 39.99 USD (before it was 44.99 EUR/35.99 GBP/59.99 USD). The Arma 3 Helicopters DLC and Arma 3 Marksmen DLC are now 9.99 EUR / 7.99 GBP / 11.99 USD (before it was 12.99 EUR/10.99 GBP/15.99 USD). The price of the Arma 3 DLC Bundle, which includes the Karts, Helicopters, and Marksmen DLC has been reduced to 16.99 EUR / 14.99 GBP / 19.99 USD (before it was 19.99 EUR/16.99 GBP/24.99 USD). Those who are new to Arma 3, but want the most complete experience for the best price, can still choose to pick up the Arma 3 Apex Edition for 59.99 EUR / 44.99 GBP / 69.99 USD, which includes the Arma 3 Digital Deluxe Edition, Karts, Helicopters, and Marksmen DLC, and the upcoming Apex expansion. All Arma 3 editions and DLC are available for purchase on the Bohemia Store and Steam.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: 1.58 Release Week, Campaign Unification, Action Filtering, Eden Editor Updates, Targeting Improvements PRECEDENCE: Flash
This week we want to finally release 1.58 to every player. Besides several fixes, the last addition we sought to get in was merged on Friday (action filtering for weapon switching). That gives us all a day or two of further . Take a look at the pseudo change log on our forums for the highlights of this update. If you're aware of critical issues remaining in the build, alert us via the forums please. Catch you on the flip side!
We're planning a fairly drastic The East Wind campaign change in the 1.60 update. For Arma 3's 1.0 release we decided that we needed to split up the campaign into 3 episodes (not counting the Bootcamp Prologue). This also meant that technically these episodes were released as 3 separate campaigns. It's our desire to now finally merge these into 1 campaign for presentation purposes. For anyone new jumping into the game, this would offer a more streamlined and logical experience. There is however one very important caveat to be aware of: existing campaign saves will not work after this! That would mean you have from now until 1.60's release (and technically one more update after that given the Legacy Build) to finish your current session. Re-playing the campaign after 1.60 will be well worth it, with things like the Tasks Overhaul and , but also to refresh your recollection of events for Apex.
The expansion will come with its own 1-4 player co-operative multiplayer campaign, with ties to The East Wind. The Playable Content team actually hit our MOCAP studio recently to record special animations for various scenes in that campaign.
On this week's dev photo you'll see our proud envoy to last weekend's Game Access 2016 summit in Czechia (< don't blame us). We had quite a few devs in attendance to support sessions by their fellow team members, as well as to listen to other great developers in the Czech industry. The presentations were recorded, so we'll report back once they are online.
Wrapping up the weapon switching package for 1.58, we've added tech to filter action menu entries which are bound to a control. This was configured for weapon switching actions only for now, but we may extend it later. Especially when combined with the Arma 3 Apex controls preset (which maps switching weapons to the number keys), this goes a long way to de-clutter the action menu. It should reduce the frequently complained about situation of trying to open a door under fire, but slowly switching to your launcher instead ... and dying. Let our Research & Development designers know what you think on our forums!
More usability enhancements coming from R&D and Sandbox are coordinated by Designer Ondřej Kužel and his direct line to our programmers. They have worked on improvements of various targeting systems (planned for 1.60). This encompasses a list of changes in the categories commanding, crew communications and weapon systems. You're best of reading through the great write-up by Ondřej himself.
One specific addition is a virtual camera pod on fixed-wing aircraft. It should help pilots to coordinate their Air-to-Ground attacks more precisely by enhancing their restricted view from the cockpit.
Then there is a very exciting bundle of new features for the Eden Editor (after 1.58). Its development team continues to process their own wishlist as well as community feedback with excitement. Designers will now find a new entity type: Comment. This is a very useful tool to leave yourself notes and reminders in 3D space. You may wish to build a detailed F.O.B. somewhere later, and just place a reminder in the editing scene for now e.g. Comments have an always visible title and a tooltip with more details. Another useful tool is the ability to create and scale area entities, such as Triggers and Markers.
We've reached the cherry on the cake: asset preview images. While we're still generating these for all vanilla assets, you now see an image preview of the asset you're hovering over in the Asset Browser. We are also preparing a pipeline that automatically generates those for mod assets, although it's not currently functional yet.
Technical Designer David Sláma reports on cool new animation source tech for weapon animations, implemented by Senior Programmer BXBX. As the documentation describes, modders may now use numerical identifiers for sources associated with muzzles other than the primary one. This tech should offer more flexibility and allow weapons to be more effeciently animated. It should even be fully backward compatible!
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Visual Upgrade, Milsim Live Stream, Respawn Screen PRECEDENCE: Flash
With Release Candidate testing for 1.58 continuing this week, and major 1.60 features being staged to Dev-Branch, things are perhaps becoming a little confusing. That's why we're here to clarify when you can expect what on the #RoadToApex. The simplest way of looking at it is: we want the weapon switching package to be in 1.58, but the version is otherwise locked. Anything else is for 1.60 or Apex itself.
Said expansion has meanwhile passed an internal Alpha milestone for the Sandbox. That means the assets are being finalized towards Beta, with Levels Of Detail, detailed textures, etc. They are being prepared for encoding, animations and sounds. Milestones are also a good time for our team to align priorities, dependencies, resources and the overall progress. Special snapshot evaluation sessions let us identify bottlenecks and solve issues that arise from the complexity of multi-studio development. We were once again energized by your feedback to some of the recent changes, so the team is working harder than ever to deliver Apex.
Yesterday we've announced our next official live stream event, this time focused on #milsim. Community Developer Greg Becksted has linked up with Vegas - the leader of the 21st Ranger Regiment unit. Of course even within the spectrum of milsim communities you'll find plenty of varied interpretations. This Saturday April 16th, starting at 18:00 PDT, we'll stream a demonstration of one such co-operative role-playing operation with the 21st. Things will kick off with a proper briefing, move into the AO deployment and then go into the actual mission. Various stream guests will offer commentary on milsim communities, popular mods and more. Cya on Twitch this Saturday!
And there is more live entertainment to be had for Arma 3 this weekend. The first season of the Battle Royale Games is being hosted by PLAYERUNKNOWN on Twitch. Last weekend saw the first round for the Games with the popular mode's Regular preset. Congratulations to Grand Master Marius on being victorious! Next weekend you can follow a brutal session in the 'Hardcore' arena. Acquaint yourself with the schedule here
Members of the Community Intelligence Group have stumbled on an under-the-radar reveal of one of Apex' vehicle assets. As an exception and with explicit permission we have indeed allowed External Artist Tomáš Velebný to update his portfolio with renders and screen grabs of the brand-new off-road vehicle he's created for the expansion. We hope you like it as much as we do!
It could well be that besides playing the game for hundreds of hours, you feel you could still have more Arma 3 in your life. Here to fill any void is a new unofficial podcast: ARMAnet. Now you can spend your commute to work by listening to hosts Dagger and Reaver and guest speakers. They will cover news, the community, units, mods and much more. On the first episode they speak about their own unit - 111th S.O.G. - but they also invite different milsim units to drop by. Other topics include an evaluation of Eden Editor and the many different playstyles available in Arma 3. So, find their show on iTunes or Podbean, and let's give them the motivation to keep it going!
We're proud to have finally staged the Visual Upgrade package onto Dev-Branch last Friday. The effort was led by Senior Artist Pavel Guglava and expertly supported by Senior Programmer Lukáš Bábíček. Read all about this in our latest OPREP. We should make it clear that this work is not going into update 1.58, but rather 1.60. There is plenty of tweaking ahead of us, so please try to collect your feedback in this forums thread. Going off your enthusiasticsharing of media on many channels, we think this is going in the right direction and the end result should be awesome.
Now for some 'real talk', on the topic of performance. This naturally comes up whenever graphical fidelity is discussed, so we'll explain again how we feel this upgrade can affect overall performance. The lighting changes themselves should not have an impact. Then there are a few changed technologies that are not optional and in our tests can have a small effect, namely the new shore shader, multi-component fog and previously released parallax map improvements. Finally, the Screen Space Reflections used on water are actually expensive, but they are optional. It's also important to remember that Dev-Branch is not the best performance indicator. This build contains more diagnostics and may be spamming more RPT log errors for example. The 2GB update also may have caused fragmentation on non-SSD drives, so consider running a defrag.
We will continue to look for optimization opportunities across the board, but it would not be realistic to expect a 'magic bullet' leap forward in Arma 3's lifetime. That also goes for a potential DirectX 12 implementation. After a lengthy initial investigation, we've concluded that this is far more complex than it may seem. It has been decided that our company will first tackle this in the new Enfusion engine, as its rendering pipeline is more compatible. Afterwards we'll still evaluate porting it back (or using the knowledge we'll have gained) for Arma 3. This does mean quite definitely that no DX12 implementation will be part of the platform update that is to accompany the Apex release.
Another improvement slated for update 1.60 is an overhauled Respawn Screen. Sandbox Designers Petra Ivašková and Bořivoj Hlava, with great support from other designers, have coordinated a new User Interface and plenty of tweaks of the scripted system behind it. A prime goal has been to make the interface much more intuitive to use, but also to optimize the underlying technology - all while maintaining backwards-compatibility. Visit our forums for a detailed overview accompanied by useful configuration samples (additional documentation) - and to leave your feedback of course.
Yes, another SECREP was published recently to bolster security against hacking and cheating in multiplayer.
Senior Programmer >Jan Mareček has had some time to work on Terrain Builder. That has resulted in a new version being pushed to the Arma 3 ToolsDev-Branch. This update should resolve a few pesky layer issues and allow environment artists to better find duplicated objects.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Weapon Switching On-The-Move, Suppressive Fire, Mappable Camera Controls, Update 1.58 Status PRECEDENCE:
And just like that, we're publishing our 150thSITuation REPort on Arma 3's development. That makes it over 150 weeks since we began the public Alpha. It continues to be our pleasure to collect relevant information, share news, highlight cool community productions, and be as open as we can about the state of the game. There's no end in sight either. We're working towards the Apex expansion, and very likely we will not stop there. Back in the now, we have indeed decided to delay update 1.58 a little bit. The feature we are keen to include was meanwhile staged on Dev-Branch: weapon switching on-the-move (more on that later in this report). The extra time has also allowed our developers to resolve some of the issues in the highlighted changes. We're now looking at a release window that will open next week.
Did you catch our April Fools' Day gag this year? We launched a fake product on our Store: "Arma" - Eau De Combat, complete with announcement trailer and promo pics! Kudos to the various team members for chipping in to make this happen. Our very special thanks go out to Game Capture Artist Arthur Walter's French mother for the fantastic outro narration that made us all wish this was a real fragrance. Unlike Karts DLC however, we do not have plans to make this an actual product this time around. Unfortunately it was and always will be "sold out", with no actual pre-odors having happened.
For the past few weeks we've hinted at a big feature that we're excited about. It's one of those top tier requested things, both in our team and by players. We're talking about the ability to switch weapons on-the-move of course! The reason we were reluctant to mention it previously is that we wanted to be confident about delivering it for Arma 3. This feature is really pushing the limits of the Real Virtuality engine, and it probably pushes beyond them in some respects. Even though mods have previously accomplished this functionality to some degree, we wanted to only add it as a native solution that works under all conditions. It's possible there will be some unsolvable visual glitches, but we feel the enhanced control over your avatar is worth it. We're proud of the devs involved in making this happen for everyone who's been waiting for it for a long time. Now that the first version has hit Dev-Branch, give it a go and share your feedback on the forums. We'll meanwhile still be iterating on the animations and solving known issues. If things go well, we hope to still include this into 1.58.
But that is not the entire package for switching weapons. As part of a larger push to improve the user experience of Arma 3, Senior Designer Shobhan Roy (R&D) and Programmer Marcel Marciš have focused on bringing more control to players. Quick weapon switching technology has previously added new infantry and vehicle actions, allowing players to bind their weapons to any key they desire.
One thing we wanted to do was put weapon switching on industry standard number keys, where they are easily reachable and recognizable. However, this conflicted with our originally hard-coded Command Menu interaction; so in order to resolve this, we extended our Command Menu functionality to let players choose when the menu opens and what keys activate it. The result? It is now possible to use weapon switching and the Command Menu on the number keys simultaneously, based on whether the menu is activated. This improved behavior can be experienced with our new Arma 3 Apex controls preset. This new preset is slated to eventually become our default control scheme for the upcoming Apex expansion, and will take advantage of the various usability improvements. Existing presets will also stay available, probably under a Arma 3 Legacy title. Expect more additions as we progress on the #RoadToApex, and we look forward to your feedback!
Another useful improvement is live on Dev-Branch as well: an overhauled suppression command via Lead Programmer Vojtěch Hladík. You can now actually order subordinates to lay down fire on a specific target or position (3 > 9 by default). And since version 1.42, suppression has a real effect on AI, so it can be employed as a viable tactic (see this report). Simply put, they will try to engage for about 15 seconds, ammunition allowing. Other commands, such as regrouping, will make them stop. This is supported by two script commands: commandSuppressiveFire and doSuppressiveFire. Since we do still need a little more time to flesh out some of the details, this work is not going to be included in 1.58 yet. Let us know your thoughts in the relevant forums thread.
For the record: another tiny anti-cheat security update was released on main branch late last week.
Eden Editor has also seen some nice improvements on Dev-Branch (post-1.58). During its Beta, there were requests to be able to change the control bindings for the camera. We agreed that we'd make this happen, but we wanted to tackle it properly also for other cameras in the game. So, now you can set up the camera controls as you wish, for Eden Editor, Zeus, Spectator Mode and Splendid Camera. Please note that H is no longer the key for hiding the interface in Splendid Camera; it's Backspace now.
Then there's the new ability to define a limited ceiling for triggers, via Eden Editor's Scaling Widget or various updated script commands in the sandbox generally. Finally, our programmers have done work on scripted Event Handlers. Some of the important but outdated handlers allowed the creation of a single instance only. This was causing significant inconveniences for mod and scenario authors. We've now added twelve alternative and 'stackable' mission event handlers to remove the single instance limitation.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: RC 1.58 Intel, Feedback Tracker Status, Debug Console Improvements PRECEDENCE: Flash
So far it has been our intention to release update 1.58 (currently undergoing Release Candidate testing) this week. We are now re-evaluating that plan however. There are a few fresh issues that we need to search and destroy. And there is a cool new feature which we'd love to get in this update, but which is not entirely finished yet. The options are being discussed with our team as we speak. Whether we release 1.58 this week or later, we'll keep you in the loop via our usual development channels.
Let's be honest: is there anyone who doesn't enjoy popping bubble wrap? So too does our Audio Designer Grigorij Tolkačev, as seen on this week's dev photo. We're not quite sure whether he was recording Foley for supersonic cracks, or just pondering the cool future audio improvements coming on the #RoadToApex.
We have two different community 'time-lapse' videos for you this week. TheyCallMeConor went for a massive virtual hike by trekking all the way from the North-Eastern tip of Altis to the South-Western peninsula, on foot. Once you've rested from that journey, you can enjoy the calming landscape scenes in EPICH's "time lapse" video.
As collateral bonus of his work on optimizing the scripted functions library, R&D Designer Killzone Kid shares with us some interesting improvements he's made to a future version of the debug console: "The code performance button is now using a dedicated command for testing code performance, providing more precise execution times. Watch field execution has now been optimized and slow code detection was added. Moderately slow code gets an orange warning, while very slow or blocker code gets a red warning and is terminated. Additionally, the watch fields are always saved into the user profile. General code execution stability should also see some improvement."
Modders of the Eden Editor can soon tag their Workshop items as "Editor Extension".This tag is meant for items that directly expand or change the editor's behavior, and it should make them stand out from other game modifications. The Publisher tool will be updated to include this tag soon.
Our web and support teams have been working hard on restoring the Feedback Tracker platform for Arma 3 and our other games. We're now getting closer to launching an improved version. After evaluating various options, we've selected a replacement framework that we can more reliably secure and administrate. Our aim is to import all the existing tickets into the new system, but we do still need to actually attempt this. Of course we do have access to the full database internally, so your hard testing and reporting work has not been in vain! We'll let you know the moment the new FT goes live. Until that time, please report issues to our forums after a quick search for similar topics.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Release Candidate 1.58, Difficulty Overhaul Phase 2, Eden Editor Improvements PRECEDENCE: Flash
Release Candidate testing for update 1.58 has now indeed begun. The access code for the Steam beta branch is Arma3Update158RC. Beware that this branch will require over a gigabyte of downloaded data, and may still be updated several times during the testing period. A few official servers are running the RC build, and more will likely follow suit. You'll find an indication of the highlighted changes on our forums, which is also where we'd like to ask you to share your feedback. Another good channel to discuss the RC is the Arma subreddit. In order to more effectively track your feedback on the #RoadToApex, a re-launch of the Feedback Tracker is still being worked on diligently by our web team.
The latest weekly dev photo is colored suspiciously orange! The awesome Team Mike, with reinforcements from Team Bravo, had organised a splendid surprise party for their departing Dutch brethren, who will soon be opening the new Bohemia Interactive branch in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Our own Project Lead Petr Kolář will be giving a presentation at the Game Access 2016 summit in Brno, Czech Republic. His talk will be about community management based on his Arma 3 experiences. He won't be the only Bohemian ambassador; Arma 3's Creative Director Jay Crowe will share his accumulated knowledge too. Then we have Design Lead Lukáš Haládik, who will give a lecture on game design. Senior Programmer Jan Zelený is preparing a session about development of our new in-house engine Enfusion. If you're interested and can make it to Central Europe, check out the available passes.
The community continues to crank out great new places to explore as they release full terrains. One example is the 1.0 release of Isla Abramia by IceBreakr. You can download this mod via Workshop, but be aware that you need the CUP Terrains as well.
Tilos is another custom terrain in development by Sébastien Descy. It's looking very promising and we look forward to visiting it soon.
Senior Designer Vladimír Hynek reports on the second phase of a Difficulty Overhaul arriving to Dev-Branch. This phase focuses on dividing the options over groups and renaming some for better comprehensibility. There are also more specific and subtle changes, so we'd like to invite you to our Community Wiki for a detailed overview. Scripters should especially check the information about command difficultyEnabled and its replacement.
Eden Editor's developers continue to improve the scenario design tool with nice usability tweaks. Last week we already discussed that the first version of custom compositions were coming to Dev-Branch, which they now have.
It's now also possible to insert entities in 2D or 3D via a left mouse button double-click. The primary workflow to do this is now via the right-hand side Asset Browser, but there was a special request to restore the original method as an alternative.
We can also share with modders that the ability to add custom in-editor tutorials has been documented by Senior Designer Karel Mořický. Finally and more generally, there now is an ability for certain User Interface controls to support multi-line text. This may make entering larger snippets of script more convenient. Further Eden Editor improvements are on the horizon, so keep checking Dev-Branch.
FROM: High Command TO: Arma 3 Users INFO: Upcoming Update, Eden Editor Compositions, Ports Updated PRECEDENCE: Flash
Preparations for the 1.58 main branch update are beginning to kick off this week on the #RoadToApex. That means we'll be creating a snapshot of the data and code, and we'll start organizing an intensive testing period. Besides regular maintenance of the platform and game, the update is to include the Tasks Overhaul. Several additional improvements are being mobilized for Dev-Branch deployment this week. We're quite excited about those, but their inclusion into this particular update is still unsure. Keep your sights trained on our channels for more information as well as details about Release Candidate tests starting.
The mod team behind FFAA has published another development update in a SITREP of their own. Read all about their progress on the forums, but especially take a look at the accompanying video. The Spanish Navy B.A.M. offshore patrol ship, with functional components and weapon systems, looks especially impressive.
Community author RedKeyMon has published a lovely screenshot of a pilot and his wingman flying jets above Altis. But that's certainly not the only cool shot posted to the Steam Community Hub. Another great source for visual stimulation is the Arma subreddit, which this gallery and this one clearly show. Check those channels out for yourself every now and then; we find the activity both inspiring and motivating!
If there's one feature we're eager to add to Eden Editor, it's the ability to create and share custom compositions. We're happy to let you know that a first version should be arriving to Dev-Branch very soon. Select a mix of entities of any type, and save the composition under its own name, with an associated author and category. These compositions will be saved as new kind of file (SQE), separate from scenarios, so you can manage and share them manually if you wish. Of course we'll want these to be shareable on Steam Workshop as well, but that may take a little longer.
Meanwhile, we've added an option to disable the random starting position for the editor. The randomization is intended to expose interesting locations to users, but we can imagine it being less useful in the workflow of some advanced designers. Go to "Settings" and then "Preferences..." (or Ctrl + K) to find the toggle.
As was announced last week, the Linux and Mac ports have been updated to 1.54 (Nexus Update). Given longer testing in-the-wild, and based on your feedback, we've adjusted the minimum and recommended system requirements for these ports specifically (they differ from the Windows version). Further information, such as known issues, is being collected on our Community Wiki. We'd also like to remind users that the Steam beta branches should not be used for the port platforms. There is no way for us to hide them just for Linux and Mac. Selecting them should not download any data, but if it does, that data would be incompatible. Stay on main branch for the ports please. And be sure to let us and Virtual Programming know about your experiences with this version on our forums!