FROM: Project Lead
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: 1.38 Release Candidates, Report In!, Vanilla or Modded?
The Release Candidate for update 1.38 has been on Steam for a few days. We've iterated it with several more fixes related to audio and inventory manipulation. If you'd like to still participate in the final stages of testing, you can switch to the RC branch using access code Arma3Update138RC. So far we're seeing increased stability (battling those PhysX crashes and other elusive instabilities). In terms of performance, our own measurements show it having increased at least slightly, but there are a few reports of dropped singleplayer frame rate. If you can reproduce a measured loss of performance between 1.36 and 1.38, please let us know. Make sure to verify your local files and defragment any non-SSD hard drive first though. It's also important to compare the situation between a vanilla version of the game and one with mods enabled. Larger scale multiplayer testing is even more interesting to us. This is something quite hard to accomplish even with our entire QA army involved. Internal tests and a few public sessions have gone well. We're currently optimistic about the update; the release window opens tomorrow afternoon (Czech Republic).
It had been a while since the last Report In! developer interview, so let's get back to it! First in line is our Mastering Lead Jan Kyncl, who we had briefly mentioned in a previous report. In his interview, he goes a little more in-depth on what it means to 'master' the game data internally, and what is involved with publishing builds to Steam. You'll also get a peek at what a day in the life of our mastering developers looks like. Having the gaming fate of hundreds of thousands of players in your hands is no trivial matter. All the more satisfying when things run smoothly!
Another look at our development environment drops in via the social channels. We've begun sharing a random weekly photo of the people and offices associated with Arma 3. Last week's photo had quite many things going on: more peripherals than arms, a vertical monitor, a fitness ball, a glimpse of unlicensed 'Arma' action figures and not least of all, QA Developer Ondřej Kužel. Stand by for this week's photo, which may or may not depict gaming-related bodily harm.
Script command productVersion was recently updated with a new Boolean value to indicate whether the game is running with any mods loaded or not (vanilla). You may have also seen small DLC and mod icons appear in various places, such as the editor's unit lists. These are all part of a larger on-going task that we've summarized as 'vanilla or modded'. The goal of this task is to better communicate to players what components make up their version of the game. Are you running the vanilla game, or are there active mods? If so, which ones and who has made them? Does this vehicle belong to the game, a mod or DLC? Is this an official or community terrain? It's questions like these that the work tries to answer in an intuitive way, while also allowing mod authors to get more visibility for their contributions.
For the sake of these features, we're treating our own DLC and mods the same for the most part. When you are designing a scenario, it may be useful to know whether a certain asset arrived in a premium DLC or an exotic addon. Players will benefit from knowing what's going on in their game, authors get credit for their work, and we can more easily determine whether an issue with the game is for us or for a modder to address. Mostly we're looking ahead to a future where obtaining and installing mods is easier, the library of mods grows even more, and running the game with mods is more likely the norm. The task is coordinated by Senior Designer Bořivoj Hlava, who we'll try to persuade to do an OPREP on this topic in the future!
Last week we discussed the field of localization. In a reply on Twitter, we were made aware of an open-source community tool to assist with translating scenario and mod projects - cool stuff!