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  SITREP #00095 Official    

On February 25, 2015, Jay Crowe has reported a SITREP #00095 on the official Arma 3 web site.

FROM: Creative Brit
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: 1.40 Inbound, Sounds Good to Me, Workshop Gospel


With update 1.40 just around the corner, a 'Release Candidate' was made available over the weekend, which we've recently updated with miscellaneous maintenance and stability tweaks. These 'RCs' use a special 'branch' of data and exes, which helps our team to validate the stability of our updates 'in the wild', before they roll out to everyone. It also enables content creators to ensure the compatibility of their own custom creations with the latest version of Arma 3 ahead of time. If you'd like to participate in the final stages of testing, open the 'BETAS' tab of Arma 3's Steam properties, and enter the access code Arma3Update140RC. Right now, we're primarily focused upon validating some tweaks to MP stability. The update itself is set to bring several interesting Dev-Branch features to all Arma 3 players; let's take a quick look at these now.

Perhaps most notable will be the overhauled personal weapon SFX (outlined in a bit more detail in a recent OPREP). Although further iteration is still planned in the run-up to Marksmen DLC's launch (more details below), we want to introduce these improvements to everyone now. Aside from this, various small features are included. 'Telescopic Turrets' enables raising / lowering the commander's turret of the Strider. 'Firing from Vehicles Inertia' translates the momentum of a vehicle to those in FFV cargo positions, and helps shooters to maintain their aim when their vehicles are turning (within certain limits). New initSpeed enhancements will be enabled, meaning that muzzle velocity can now be defined by the ammo type and weapon. This means, for example, there's a difference in muzzle velocity between regular and carbine variants using the same ammunition.


Last week, we rolled out Weapon Resting and Overhauled Recoil mechanics to Dev-Branch. We've been monitoring and processing your feedback and, so far, we're happy to see a broadly positive community response. If you'd like to add your voice to the choir, direct your lungs towards two dedicated threads: Recoil Overhaul Feedback and Weapon Resting Feedback. Chiefly, we're still debating the best way to offer feedback to the Rested state - thanks for sharing your ideas and preferences! Meanwhile, dynamic duo, Radko and Simon, outlined some configuration tips, tricks and limitations. Formal documentation is, naturally, (definitely not missing) work-in-progress.

During the pre-production phase of our 7 new weapons, artist Kamil 'Smoke' Prihoda worked with the team to create some wonderful concepts. So, with one eye keenly trained on Marksmen DLC, we've tasked our community to work together, earn the 'Bonus Targets' Steam achievement, and unlock some behind-the-scenes development artwork. You can find all the details over at Top Brit Tip: Course of Fire Red I is the go-to place for bonus target hunting.


Some new audio data was recently added to Dev-Branch, raising several inquisitive eyebrows. Given that additional progress is likely to pop up over the next week or so, let's take a quick peek. In simple (i.e., overly simplistic) terms, after the weapons audio samples overhaul (going live with 1.40), the team moved on to decoupling the 'shot' itself from the 'tail': an additional layer audible during and after discharging. For any given weapon, a number of 'tails' can be defined. The goal is to link the tail to environment within which the shot takes place. In effect, the 'tail' in a forest would sound different to that in an open meadow.

Related to this work, we should soon™ see the deployment of an enhancement to distance attenuation. Currently, distant shots are quieter that those close by. Our plan is to complement this with a distance-based frequency attenuation filter. This work slots into our broader focus on Environmental Audio Improvements set to roll out with Marksmen DLC. The goal is to create a richer battlefield sound-scape based on an authentic simulation of real-life factors, where the shooter is more 'connected' to their environment. We hope to be in the position to offer more splendid details next month.


Last week, holier-than-thou Arch-Hipster, Jiří Zlatohlávek, adopted the missionary position to spread the good word of the Arma 3 Launcher to the non-believers! His handy-dandy how-to helps hitherto-fore hapless heathens see the light, teaching us how to perform our very own miracles (like downloading/publishing a scenario/mod). Workshop disciples can also find the guide linked via the Arma 3 space itself. Long may his mission continue (and soon may this painfully extended metaphor end).

And, finally, we can report that with Our Dear Leader back in action - but trapped under several feet of administrative snow - these BRITREPs are set to continue for the next fortnight. That's right, 'fortnight'. ColoUr. Rule BIStania! Etc. Cheerio for now!

  February 25th, 2015 - 23:11 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00094 Official    

On February 18, 2015, Jay Crowe has reported a SITREP #00094 on the official Arma 3 web site

FROM: Creative Director
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Resting & Recoil Incoming; AI improvements; Hello from the Environment Dept


This week we're hoping to push two splendid (and related) features to Dev-Branch: Weapon Resting and Recoil Overhaul. Although we've dug into a bit more detail over the last week or two, it's probably worth outlining the basics once again. Weapon Resting provides 'passive' benefits to certain aspects of weapon handling, such as reduced sway. This 'rested' state is determined by a real-time algorithm that identifies situations where aiming would reasonably benefit from a stable firing position (e.g., when prone, leaning against a wall, resting on a low wall, etc.). Our Recoil Overhaul aims to make the mechanic more fluent by correcting some existing behaviour and rewarding the intelligent use of stances and movement speeds. Overall, this development contributes to our goal of making firing a weapon simple to do, and rewarding to master.

Since both features are closely related, we'd prefer to release them together to garner more useful / relevant feedback. However, this now depends upon the resolution of a couple of pesky issues related to recoil discovered at the last moment. In short, we define limits to the displacement of the aim point when a weapon is fired (determined by type, calibre, stance, etc.); unfortunately, we discovered that these limits were occasionally ignored (indeed, seemingly at random), resulting in wildly unintuitive (and unintended) movements. This was a bit of a deal breaker, but we hope to have found an adequate solution. Implementation is in progress, and we're now looking to roll out the features towards the end of this week. For the avoidance of doubt, 'Resting' is distinct from 'Deployment' - a feature that we'll continue to tweak and polish over the next couple of weeks ahead of Dev-Branch staging.


Recently, some subtle changes to the way that weapons are configured were rolled out to Dev-Branch. Rather than squeezing all the juicy details in here, Bounce Master Chief, Pettka, set out the background and goals of this development in a splendid OPREP. If you're looking to update your own weapons, you might like to check out some samples, which we've made available via an update to Arma 3 Tools. In short, these enhancements help bring about a greater diversity of performance between firearms. We hope this - in tandem with other features, such as Weapon Inertia - will translate to more meaningful choices when selecting the best weapon for any given situation. We consider such features to be part of Marksmen DLC's broader focus on improving weapons / firefights, which, of course, will be available to everyone that owns Arma 3.

On a related note, recent changelogs have contained notes relating to the detection of bullets impacting / flying around units. Let's take a quick look at how it all fits together. The first changes (released for a wee while now) were adjustments to pathfinding. If an area is under heavy fire, the AI will now prefer (in direct contradiction to the Kenny Loggins school of thought) to plan around such danger zones. More recently, the detection of bullets passing close by units was enabled. This information is now mapped to the behaviour of a unit reacting to threats. The next step will be to connect this to penalties in AI aiming accuracy. Although we're at an early stage, we can say that our goal is to improve the experience of firefights by refining their lethality and promoting / rewarding the use of legitimate tactics / maneuvers. However, making changes to core mechanics is not without risk. If we're not satisfied with the results, this work may yet not make it into Marksmen DLC.


As we mentioned in our Scanning the Horizon blog post, development of a new terrain continues apace. This production is a huge, ongoing effort, so - with respect to our goal of shining a light on the deepest, darkest corners of development - let's take minute to catch up with the noble Environment Department. Headed up by Martin 'Maxell' Pezlar, the team has shifted from a 'pre-production' phase into full on, balls-to-the-wall development. With much of the research, experimentation, and endless wishlists of assets in place (ish), and the basic shape and structure of the environment approved, the true work has begun! The team is now focused upon populating the map with compositions (above and below water!), refining the details of the height map, retouching the satellite texture / mask, and coordinating the production of all the assets.

The team also cooperates closely with other departments, solving issues together with programmers and artists in particular. One of the objectives of our next terrain is to find a more splendid balance between the rich, visually attractive locations, performance, and AI path finding. Creating repros and discussing best practice means that we needn't sacrifice one element for another, but find an agreeable mix that both caters to a number of play styles and creates a unique, authentic world. With much of the rest of the team still working towards Marksmen DLC or supporting the existing content, their hard work can sometimes appear sidelined; however, every now and then there's a real leap forward, and we're soon reminded that a whole new world lies just around the corner!


We've seen a number of nifty new script commands pop up on Dev-Branch recently. Programmer Tomáš ' Nesquick' Nezval graciously deigned to acquiesce to requests for new UAV commands. Highlights include enableUAVWaypoints and waypointsEnabledUAV to enable / disable player setting waypoints for UAVs in the AV terminal, while BIS_fnc_liveFeedSetTarget can be called with an optional parameter for smoother camera transitions. Continuing on topic, the new append command adds the useful ability to append one array to another, and - because programmers can Lern2UX, too - a scrollbar for long script examples was added to help dialogues. Fancy that.

Resident Tools Commissar, Julien Vida, politely asks users of the Arma 3 Tools development branch that were having trouble with FSM Editor to update now, now, now! Although we struggled to reproduce an issue related to starting the tool by calling it directly from a file, we hope to have perhaps possibly provided a fix in today's update. Oh, and the Arma 3 Launcher? Nah, you probably haven't heard of it. Never fear, design hipster-in-chief, Jiří Zlatohlávek, is here to tell you all about the Publisher and Launcher with updated documentation across on our community wiki.

  February 18th, 2015 - 18:25 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  


On February 12, 2015,Petr Kolář reported an OPREP - MUZZLE VELOCITY on the official Arma 3 web site.

UNIT: Petr Kolář, Encoding Lead, Encoding Dept.
TO: Arma 3 Dev-Branch Users
OPSUM: Introducing new Init Speed parameters.


What is the decisive configuration value for the muzzle speed of a weapon? Is it the round or the weapon itself? This has been a long-standing question in the Arma series. The answer is clear: both of them! So, with Marksmen DLC on the horizon, we've decided to tackle this issue once and for all.

The result is a modest enhancement of configuration options - both for our own weapons and for our community! We'd like to share a bit of the background about this topic and describe the steps we've taken to arrive at a splendid solution.


Previously, the initial speed of bullet was determined by the magazine. In effect, using the same magazine across different firearms provided no change to the muzzle speed of the projectile. This meant, for example, there has been next to no difference between standard and carbine versions of weapons (and even less before we implemented handling differences with Weapon Inertia).

We wanted to address this limitation for some specific weapons, where using a different speed of ammo would not make any sense. To achieve that, we've introduced an initSpeed property to weapons themselves, which - if it is defined - overrides values taken from the magazine.


We gathered some responses from our forums about possible improvements on this topic, and we are thankful for all of it. Using this feedback, we have iterated on the solution and added the possibility to use negative values of initSpeed in weapons as a multiplier of the initSpeed value of the magazine.

There are two advantages with this solution, both relating to community-created content. Firstly, setting initSpeed to -1 or 0 (as zero is neither positive nor negative) makes the weapon backwards compatible. In short: it won't break any existing content. Secondly, we provide both a possibility to use a coefficient and a constant as modders deem necessary.

With this change, we've addressed one of the troubling questions that has been in Arma for ages. We hope you are going to like the solution, both as players and as modders. At last, the length of muzzle may provide some meaningful difference and sensible choice for your missions.

The changes are already live on Dev-Branch, and we've updated Arma 3 Tools with a configuration sample. Thanks again for all the feedback; together, we can build an even better game!

  February 17th, 2015 - 12:35 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00093 Official    

On January 27, 2015, Jay Crowe has reported a SITREP #00093 on the official Arma 3 web site

FROM: Creative Director
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Firing from All the Things, Recoil Overhaul, Make Arma Not War Jury


With Our Dear Leader indisposed for the next couple of weeks, the honour of REPdating the community with development progress once again falls to a crack team of REPlacements (Pettka and yours truly). The puns only get worse from here on in, so buckle up!

Speaking of which, passengers using their weapons in vehicle cargo positions now face a bumpier ride, following the release of 'Firing from Vehicles Inertia' (FFV Inertia) to Dev-Branch. We outlined the basic goals of this feature last week. Now we're on the lookout for feedback. Two key values are open to tweaking: the magnitude of the sight misalignment (versus vehicle velocity), and the stabilisation of the aim-point (versus vehicle turning).

Sticking with the theme of FFV (not to be confused with a popular JRPG), an Elite Task Force has been working hard on 'Turned Out' cargo positions. This means, for example, Commander positions can use personal weapons (and, if everything goes according to plan, their binoculars) if they 'turn out' of the vehicle. Programmer Krzysztof 'Klamacz' Bielawski hopes to deploy updates later this week. QA Specialist Vojtěch 'Iceman' Kovařič stands ready to crush those dreams.


Last Friday, we revealed the line-up of judges for the Make Arma Not War content creation contest - and what a handsome bunch of devils they are! We expect to announce the winners at the end of March, which means that the jury members have a lot to look forward to, as they pick from 50 finalists across 4 categories: singleplayer game mode, multiplayer game mode, addon and total modification .

This week's random dev photo teased the work being lead by Nelson Duarte on a small-scale MP mode, which we hope will contribute to Marksmen DLC's free 'platform update' content. While we aren't ready to release too much info, the team's goal is to use this mode as a vehicle for some experimentation. This effort, we hope, will help bring some improvements to multiplayer systems more broadly.


As we mentioned in our Scanning the Horizon blog post, there are some changes in store for weapon recoil. Let's take a quick look at what's involved. Overall, our team want to improve the look and feel firing a weapon. The goal is not to make it more difficult; rather, more natural: a mechanic that rewards the intelligent use of stance, movement speeds, and combat behaviour. This involves correcting some existing behaviour, such as the muzzle rise, introducing new configuration options, such as lateral drift, and visualising more fluent kickback.

Although we're adding more depth to the setup of each weapon, we want to make it relatively simple to configure new recoil coefficients across different weapon types and specific firearms. We're quite close to staging the feature to Dev-Branch, but - with a few pesky issues to resolve first - it may slip into next week. Our plan is to package its release this together with Weapon Resting, which we outlined in a bit more detail last week.


As promised, our Audio team started to migrate samples to a new structure. In the long term, this will help us to better organise the data in a more logical structure. For now, we'll maintain the existing structure, but we consider it be 'deprecated'. The new addons will be published over the next week or two. In the long term, we plan to remove this (duplicated) data; we'll be sure to announce this action well in advance.

Again, for content creators, there are some updates to report that we hope will make your lives a little easier. In short, previously each weapon required 8 icons to be created, as there needed to be one defined for each combination of having or not having a muzzle / top / side-rail accessory. Now it's only necessary to create one icon and attachments as overlay icons to be set in configs. The documentation is already live, and the implementation is set to be released to Dev-Branch soon™.

  February 11th, 2015 - 16:09 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

  SITREP #00092 Official    

On January 27, 2015, Joris-Jan van 't Land has reported a SITREP #00092 on the official Arma 3 web site

FROM: Project Lead
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Dev-Branch activity, Server monetization, Make Arma Not War finalists


Dev-Branch is starting to receive its early glimpses of Marksmen DLC work. The first wave of features going live for testing and tweaking are Firing From Vehicles Inertia and Turret Elevation. The former is more of an enrichment of a feature from Helicopters DLC of course, but we think it improves the feeling of using personal weapons from cargo spaces. The goal is to better translate the movement of the vehicle onto the shooter. We may yet be fiddling with the precise parameters that control the intensity of the feature, though a first iteration is ready for testing now. The second feature allows players to control the elevation of a turret, in addition to the usual rotation. The specific example here is the Strider armored car, which has a commander periscope that now can be raised and lowered to sneak a peek from behind concealment. Over the next weeks we'll probably be staging more Marksmen features to Dev-Branch, such as the improved Recoil and Weapon Resting.


Bohemia Interactive has announced a trial for limited Arma 3 server monetization rules that will run for a year. Visit the website for a description of the rules and an overview of approved servers. This overview can also be used to report servers that are exploiting loopholes or otherwise not acting in the best interests of the community. After its announcement, there was some heated discussion about these rules. We realize not everyone likes money getting involved at all, or who have other concerns about this direction. However, some of the discussion was based on incorrect information. For example, under this arrangement, there is no percentage of monetized server income going to us. These rules also do not make it OK to use and monetize content made by third parties without proper permission. We cannot get involved in Intellectual Property disputes between third parties, but we can take away these permissions from a server previously accepted. We ask all of our community members to treat each other with respect. If a piece of content is not distributed under clear license that would allow it to be used, be sure to pursue permission first. That is the only way to achieve a long-term successful community, server or mod. Various questions on the topic have already been asked and answered in this forums thread. We are in the process of gathering more common questions, so that we can publish a F.A.Q. on the topic.

The 50 finalists of the Make Arma Not War contest have been revealed! Check out video overviews for the four categories: singleplayer game mode, multiplayer game mode, addon and total modification. The finalists were selected based on the criteria laid out in the rules. For example, entries that violated copyright, used third-party content without permission, or otherwise could not be selected, had to be dismissed. The remaining entries were evaluated on factors like technical quality, originality, experience and presentation. Now it's up to the jury to pick the winners. We'll be announcing the members of that jury shortly. We'd like to thank everyone for participating, and to congratulate all finalists on making it this far! The rest of us can recognize the finalists on the forums by their unique medal(s).

This week's random dev photo comes to us from the Brno office, occupied by Team Bravo, as we code named them. It shows their 'Weekly Fruit Kick-off'. This is the very first thing they do every Monday morning. Supported by an overdose of healthy vitamins, all developers get together and share their progress and plans. They show each other screenshots of new artwork, short videos of work-in-progress technologies, interesting community efforts, and more.


It's not quite ready for Dev-Branch yet, but let's take a quick look at Weapon Deployment and why it's actually a rather complex feature to implement properly. There are several aspects that our programmers have been working on hard, and which are now on the right track. We wanted to find reasonable solutions before we committed to the feature. The first one is an algorithm to detect appropriate deployment spots (and similarly to detect surfaces that Weapon Resting can be used for). We decided early on that a data-driven approach was not acceptable. Such approach would have meant preparing all assets and other surfaces in the game and tell the engine where you can deploy. Imagine adding 3D positions (memory points) to walls or buildings for example. That would take a very long time, and also mean that modders would need to do the same. The benefit could be that there is very precise control over good deployment positions. We opted for a real-time algorithm that can detect positions on official and custom objects alike. The detection still needs work, but we're optimistic we can cover the majority of spots well enough.

Another aspect is the animation system. We needed to solve the player rotating around a fixed pivot point (where the bipods are connected to a surface). This is something we wanted to visualize as best as we can given the animation technology available in Arma 3 (given feasible improvements). One example to imagine the challenge is the player standing behind a wall, with the weapon resting on the wall. If the player now aims the weapon up, we want his posture to change to accommodate (i.e. the player should enter a sort of crouch). Finally, we have backward-compatibility to consider so we cannot do everything the way we'd do in a new project. Old weapons should be made ready for bipods with as little effort as possible, and at the very least not be broken. We're sure there will be an OPREP discussing more details in the near future.


Scripters should be aware of changes to the setOwner command taking place on Dev-Branch. This command was intended for static objects; not for individual AI units. It does not fully work when doing so (it only transfers part of the locality, but not the AI brain - except in the case of agents). This is still the case, but using the command in the unintended way will now show an on-screen warning to scripters. New commands setGroupOwner and getGroupOwner were introduced by programmer Richard Biely to manipulate the locality of groups properly.

  February 3rd, 2015 - 19:30 By Old Bear   Comment (0)  

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