FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Weapon Switching On-The-Move, Suppressive Fire, Mappable Camera Controls, Update 1.58 Status
And just like that, we're publishing our 150th SITuation REPort on Arma 3's development. That makes it over 150 weeks since we began the public Alpha. It continues to be our pleasure to collect relevant information, share news, highlight cool community productions, and be as open as we can about the state of the game. There's no end in sight either. We're working towards the Apex expansion, and very likely we will not stop there. Back in the now, we have indeed decided to delay update 1.58 a little bit. The feature we are keen to include was meanwhile staged on Dev-Branch: weapon switching on-the-move (more on that later in this report). The extra time has also allowed our developers to resolve some of the issues in the highlighted changes. We're now looking at a release window that will open next week.
Did you catch our April Fools' Day gag this year? We launched a fake product on our Store: "Arma" - Eau De Combat, complete with announcement trailer and promo pics! Kudos to the various team members for chipping in to make this happen. Our very special thanks go out to Game Capture Artist Arthur Walter's French mother for the fantastic outro narration that made us all wish this was a real fragrance. Unlike Karts DLC however, we do not have plans to make this an actual product this time around. Unfortunately it was and always will be "sold out", with no actual pre-odors having happened.
For the past few weeks we've hinted at a big feature that we're excited about. It's one of those top tier requested things, both in our team and by players. We're talking about the ability to switch weapons on-the-move of course! The reason we were reluctant to mention it previously is that we wanted to be confident about delivering it for Arma 3. This feature is really pushing the limits of the Real Virtuality engine, and it probably pushes beyond them in some respects. Even though mods have previously accomplished this functionality to some degree, we wanted to only add it as a native solution that works under all conditions. It's possible there will be some unsolvable visual glitches, but we feel the enhanced control over your avatar is worth it. We're proud of the devs involved in making this happen for everyone who's been waiting for it for a long time. Now that the first version has hit Dev-Branch, give it a go and share your feedback on the forums. We'll meanwhile still be iterating on the animations and solving known issues. If things go well, we hope to still include this into 1.58.
But that is not the entire package for switching weapons. As part of a larger push to improve the user experience of Arma 3, Senior Designer Shobhan Roy (R&D) and Programmer Marcel Marciš have focused on bringing more control to players. Quick weapon switching technology has previously added new infantry and vehicle actions, allowing players to bind their weapons to any key they desire.
One thing we wanted to do was put weapon switching on industry standard number keys, where they are easily reachable and recognizable. However, this conflicted with our originally hard-coded Command Menu interaction; so in order to resolve this, we extended our Command Menu functionality to let players choose when the menu opens and what keys activate it. The result? It is now possible to use weapon switching and the Command Menu on the number keys simultaneously, based on whether the menu is activated. This improved behavior can be experienced with our new Arma 3 Apex controls preset. This new preset is slated to eventually become our default control scheme for the upcoming Apex expansion, and will take advantage of the various usability improvements. Existing presets will also stay available, probably under a Arma 3 Legacy title. Expect more additions as we progress on the #RoadToApex, and we look forward to your feedback!
Another useful improvement is live on Dev-Branch as well: an overhauled suppression command via Lead Programmer Vojtěch Hladík. You can now actually order subordinates to lay down fire on a specific target or position (3 > 9 by default). And since version 1.42, suppression has a real effect on AI, so it can be employed as a viable tactic (see this report). Simply put, they will try to engage for about 15 seconds, ammunition allowing. Other commands, such as regrouping, will make them stop. This is supported by two script commands: commandSuppressiveFire and doSuppressiveFire. Since we do still need a little more time to flesh out some of the details, this work is not going to be included in 1.58 yet. Let us know your thoughts in the relevant forums thread.
For the record: another tiny anti-cheat security update was released on main branch late last week.
Eden Editor has also seen some nice improvements on Dev-Branch (post-1.58). During its Beta, there were requests to be able to change the control bindings for the camera. We agreed that we'd make this happen, but we wanted to tackle it properly also for other cameras in the game. So, now you can set up the camera controls as you wish, for Eden Editor, Zeus, Spectator Mode and Splendid Camera. Please note that H is no longer the key for hiding the interface in Splendid Camera; it's Backspace now.
Then there's the new ability to define a limited ceiling for triggers, via Eden Editor's Scaling Widget or various updated script commands in the sandbox generally. Finally, our programmers have done work on scripted Event Handlers. Some of the important but outdated handlers allowed the creation of a single instance only. This was causing significant inconveniences for mod and scenario authors. We've now added twelve alternative and 'stackable' mission event handlers to remove the single instance limitation.