FROM: Project Lead
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Licensed TKOH Data, Porting Experiments, Character & Gear Encoding, Netcode Optimizations
The Release Candidate branch for update 1.44 will be opened very soon; keep an eye on our Twitter channel for the details. Besides the improved BattlEye anti-cheat software, there are a few more highlights. We've made several netcode optimizations that can help heavily scripted multiplayer scenarios, and we're switching to the open-source version of PhysX. The latter should let us discover the source of potential instabilities quicker in the future. Your assistance with testing the 1.44 RC is very useful to us. Please inform us about any new issues on the Feedback Tracker. And keep reading this report for some pretty significant Intel!
Our company, Bohemia Interactive, has generously released a huge licensed data pack for modders. The 15GB collection of archives contains the vast majority of binarized Take On Helicopters data under 2 licenses (including the Hinds DLC). There is a newly introduced Take On Public License Share Alike (TOPL-SA), which covers the creation of derivatives for Take On. But we've also released the package under APL-SA, meaning Arma modders can benefit as well!
You can download the goods via direct FTP links, but we recommend using our official Torrents. Another option is to subscribe to the (massive) "licensed_data_packages" branch of Arma 3 Tools. Various modders have asked us whether they can de-binarize the data within these licensed PBOs. Our goal is to stimulate the enrichment of the Armaverse with these releases. Therefore, we are OK with such use of the data, as long as the license is observed (Attribution, Noncommercial, Arma only, Share Alike for APL-SA). You can also go over the F.A.Q. for more information.
Encoder David Sláma has published a fantastic and comprehensive guide on the encoding / configuration of characters and gear in Arma 3. It covers some of the config basics as applied to characters, before digging into the nitty-gritty of characters, uniforms, vests, headgear, face wear, backpacks and ground holders. There are plenty of config samples and the guide may inform you about some hidden features for your own mods. Thanks David!
The second achievement we'll be looking at is "Meet and Greet". Sitting lonely at a global unlock percentage of 0.4%, this one could use some of your love. The vanilla game features 3 Faction Showcases (PLAY > SHOWCASES). Here, you can check out weapons (personal and static) and vehicles (ground, air, autonomous and water) at your leisure. A local announcer at each of these military expos will tell you more about the various assets. Whiteboards at each area can be accessed to open a map that lets you fast-travel between areas. In order to 'properly' finish these showcases, go to the Exit area and let the showcase end.
Each expo also features a little live event:
- NATO: armored vehicle live fire exercise
- CSAT: long-distance shooting range
- AAF: fixed-wing touch-and-go demonstration at night
Encoding Lead Petr Kolář went fishing for trivia on the new Remote Designators. Here are the results: "The Marksmen DLC was not just about adding new weapons; several more assets were added with it - for example the Remote Designators. Those cute beasts deserve some love and that's why I bounced in with a question to the community about the differences between the sides. Different shapes and camo patterns are just the first step; NATO has better magnification options, while CSAT has faster servos and can withstand some more punishment. And did you even know that both versions have an initialization sequence when assembled (best to be seen in Arsenal) and both are different? The same goes for the movement of the pistons - one version uses all parts at once while the other moves one after another - it's just up to you to find out which side uses which ;)"
Insights into our Steam configuration have fueled some speculation that we'd like to clarify here and now. We are indeed experimenting with 2 ports of Arma 3. An external team has been investigating whether it would be possible to create (non-native) client ports to Linux and MacOS. Being external, this does not affect the core development team while it focuses on the Expansion. We should make it really clear that at this stage there are still very many uncertainties. We do not yet know when we'd release these, what their update cycle would be like, or any other specifics. In fact, it's still possible these ports will never see the light of day. There are several technical and licensing challenges to overcome. But, the chances of such ports have gone up from 0% for Arma 3. We'll be sharing more when we can!
Loving his time in the REPlight, Senior Designer Jiří Zlatohlávek is back with a bit of public brainstorming. The Laucher will be able to inform you that mods contain valid addon signatures. Such signatures are a way for server administrators to detect the use of modified addons (including those in user mods), and prevent cheating. The system is based on a private / public key pair. The Launcher team would like your ideas for a better icon or symbol, because the one currently used may not be clear or specific enough.
A small tag team consisting of Senior Designer Jiří Wainar and Senior Programmer Lukáš Gregor has recently investigated and optimized a specific area of the game's netcode. They focused on data transferred as variables via scripting, such as arrays, groups and nils. Jiří explains: "During the development of MP features introduced with Marksmen DLC - Dynamic Groups, Revive and Shared Objectives - we took a closer look at some parts of our MP code. We were concerned about the size of the data that are being transferred. We wondered if we could actually reduce the size of some of the data types that we felt were simply too large. As a result, with the new optimizations in place, we managed to reduce the size of data being transferred to on average ~35% of the original size (depending on the data type and situation).
In parallel, we also started a series of long-term tasks focused on further network optimizations, both in engine and in scripts. So, if you are interested, stay tuned for more detailed info in future OPREPs."
We've also added a set of script commands that will make it easier for scripters to debug their code and diagnose potential performance issues. diag_activeSQFScripts, diag_activeSQSScripts and diag_activeMissionFSMs return the active instances of those types of scripts, along with some details on their states. They were already used by some community creators to improve their systems:
The Steam Workshop now supports soft dependencies between items. You can specify whether your item requires game DLC or another Workshop item. Currently this will only work when subscribing via web or the Steam Client, but we're working on support in our Launcher.
Julien Vida, our Tools Commissar, has implemented a fix for potential profile data spam into the game. Prolonged use of several scripted AAR functions would store huge amounts of data to your profile, which would eventually cause slow-downs in the game. The game will now detect this situation, and offer to solve it. This solution is to remove the contents of the BIS_fnc_diagAAR_data variable. Since you may be using the data, we did not want to just automatically delete it.