FROM: Project Lead
TO: Beta Users
INFO: Beta patching, MP invites, Fatigue effects
Later this week we are wanting to release the first Beta patch on the main branch. There is a long list of cool updates that many of you have already seen on Development branch (a few are highlighted below). This first patch will not yet contain the bigger additions you are no doubt waiting for. As we stated before, we will stage and test those on dev branch first. This patch release is the starting signal for that deployment. We will begin with BattlEye, Workshop integration and content package #1. This package is to feature two brutal new heavy vehicles - one for BLUFOR and one for OPFOR. They both embody the firepower and logistics themes we're exploring in the Beta perfectly. Before the assets appear on the branch, we'd like to share a teaser shot of these beasts via our usual channels - stay tuned!
Continued efforts to leverage the Steamworks-integration have brought a few small cool features. You can now invite Steam friends into your public MP game. Those friends can accept the invites within the game and connect to whichever server you are on, without having to search the server list.
Another nice fix has been the removed need for a loading screen when closing the in-game map. You can now much quicker get back to the action after checking your position on the battlefield.
With the release of Beta and newly separated Post-Processing video options, came feedback about the blurring caused by fatigue. These effects had been in Alpha for many weeks, but it became apparent to people because they were no longer linked to any of the settings. Since the blurring causes motion sickness and head aches for some people, we feel it's important to be able to disable this type of feedback. Our first step in addressing this has been to switch to a type of blur that can be disabled via the PP options.
There is one graphical enhancement we are going to have to take out for the initial release of Arma 3. You may have noticed more use of functioning doors on vehicles while getting in and out. Unfortunately there are issues with this approach we do not have time to address (without taking away resources from more critical areas). Examples relate to doors on large shared passenger compartments and grenades thrown into vehicles. Even if we were able to correct those, we would not have time to enable it for all vehicles (their meshes are not all prepared for it). This inconsistent state is not acceptable to us and therefore we will disable the doors for release. Since it does look very cool, we hope to re-visit this post-release and do it right.
Another enhancement did finally make it in: animated fire mode selectors on personal weapons. It's a little touch to be able to see the selected mode on your weapon when looking down (especially when bullpup rifles place them in rather awkward places!), but it's cool nonetheless.
The Community Focus widget on the main Arma 3 website got refreshed with two nice fan-made Beta trailers. We also link out to our friends in the French community. Finally, there is a look at the added freedom to look around when using 6DOF head-tracking in helicopters.
Our programmers have recently had some wins in the field of optimization, but we want to be careful sharing these performance gains. As we keep saying: this is a forever ongoing effort. Just because we were able to sneak in a few extra frames per second here and there, does not mean we believe this task is done. Please also understand that there are many types of optimizations. Some are global, some relate to specific graphics hardware vendors and / or drivers, some work only in specific game scenes, some are CPU-based and some GPU-based, some relate to network traffic, etc.