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.