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Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned

A post on the Bohemia Interactive Studios Website by Arma 3 Project Lead Daniel Musil outlines plans to release an alpha version of the military shooter sequel after E3 (which will be in June). Here's a bit:

Following E3, we plan to open up the game to our players. This process starts with the release of a playable build of Arma 3. We call it the 'Community Alpha'. It's intended to enable people who'd like to try the game early on in development help us to shape it up - and make Arma 3 the greatest release of the series. Ours is a large and complex game - being developed by a relatively small team - so we really appreciate your opinions, thoughts and feedback.

The Community Alpha will be quite limited in terms of the assets it includes, with the goal of providing enough content to experiment with the brand new bits of gameplay and technology. It also enables our passionate community to prepare their mods for the very latest version of the Real Virtuality engine. Then, later on in the year, we'd like to open up our game up even further with a more extensive beta program. The exact details, however, we intend to set out closer to their launch.

As you may have recently picked up on, we plan to delay the full Arma 3 release. With this additional time, we're focused upon creating a feature-rich, polished, and bug free experience. For us, it all comes down to delivering a quality product. We've achieved a great deal, but we don't want to rush things at the expense of what we finally deliver.

DirectX 10/11 has been implemented. PhysX is working - particularly, rag-doll animation looks really impressive! The UI is undergoing a redesign, with the focus upon improved usability. Indeed, ease of use, and particularly accessibility, has been an entire goal in itself. We've heard your feedback, and we want to make the game easier to learn for those new to the game, without sacrificing anything that makes our game unique. We have reworked our animations using completely new motion capture recordings. The result is the most realistic animations ever achieved in the series, as well as additional gameplay features.

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9. Re: Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned Feb 25, 2012, 11:05 tuddies
i just hope that their physix support extends to vehicles - there is nothing more disappointing than seeing tanks bounce around the map like ping pong balls! let's simulate some weight in the ArmA world!  
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8. Re: Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned Feb 25, 2012, 05:57 Muscular Beaver
One of the, if not the, last series that actually makes new hardware purchases justified. Im still using my 4 year old PC for the console ports...

As for dumbing it down: The community will scream when this happens too much. And so will I. The controls right now are nice, very easy for the complexity it offers and intuitive if you know OFP. Nothing has become more complex than it was in OFP, that isnt justified. I dont know how anyone would even think that.

There are still bugs that I hate, like the player automatically dropping a M136 or in some cases NLAW just because its one-use. This takes too much time and gives the enemy enough time to see where you are and kill you, since you cant move during this animation. You simply cant abort this animation or make it faster. Same with similar situations like when you bandage someone, etc. There should be at least a panic button.

Also the AI is still cheating. Trees/bushes/grasses plus AI is just horrible. You simply cant see them without thermal, because they can often see through those trees and bushes, though it has improved each patch. And I hope pathfinding will be improved again, but I know how hard that is on such huge maps. Still, they have improved quite a bit with the patches - even with the last one. Very nice to see that they are still working on a 3 year old game.

And also, while I condemn DLC on other games, I loved what they did with it in ArmA 2. I hope they release DLC on a regular basis this time. There are lots of possibilities. However, they shouldnt replace expansions with it. OA was awesome.

Above all else it should become more realistic. The armor-system of tanks needs improvement, aka being more complex and not allow explosions of the tank so easily, weapons need to be more realistic, as in being able to adjust the zeroing where its possible in real life too, mods, and even a lock and load function would be nice incl. possible jams and misfires. All buildings need to be accessible again, like in OFP, the destruction system of the buildings could use improvements, even though its quite good already, and the netcode needs a huge improvement. I am positive they will improve it because they improved ArmA 2 so much, I would have never thought it. Not even OFP nor ArmA 1 were ever improved on such a broad scale and in so many ways. However, they overdid it in some cases. Like optimizing the graphics because so many people whined about performance instead of buying a new computer. That actually made the graphics uglier. Maybe a 64 bit version will help with that problem.

Off to another game of warfare.
Avatar 12928
Waiting for BIS to come back to their senses and do a real ArmA 2 successor.
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7. Re: Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned Feb 25, 2012, 05:07 El Pit
Bard wrote on Feb 24, 2012, 21:42:
Aren't they ALWAYS alphas when they're released?

They're waiting for you, Gabe, in the test chamber!
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6. Re: Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned Feb 25, 2012, 01:14 Aero
Looking forward to seeing what they do. My biggest gripe with Arma/Arma2 was the overly complicated, sometimes utterly braindead, interface and controls.

It was a big step back from Flashpoint in that regard. Flashpoint had exactly the same issues, of course, but Arma/2 were a lot more complex and so it hurt a lot more. While I appreciate all the control you have over your soldier (fluid lean, rolling, all the various movement speeds), it got to be so that when playing it, I felt more like I was driving a mech than controlling a person.

A good example that annoyed me was the zoom/iron sights. Right-click once to enter a slightly zoomed mode (as with OFP) then hold down the right button to bring up the sights. Then, you gotta do all that in reverse to to get back to the standard view.

While that sounds okay in principle, and I admit that since combat happens at realistic ranges there does need to be some sort of zooming to deal with the four slightly darker-green pixels at the corner of your screen that shoots you between the eyes, it made everything feel so halting and disjointed. I imagine there are key mappings that might help (maybe separate zoom and iron sights buttons as in OFP), but it illustrates the principle.

Basically, I think they need to smooth that (and things like that) out either by cutting down on the number of controls, or finding a way to make it more automatic or context sensitive. It's a difficult problem, and I don't want to see it turned into COD, but I think I do want a little more simplicity. Despite its general clunkiness, I think this sort of thing was better in OFP.

Er, so yeah. They got their work cut out for themselves. More simply put, rather than adding more detail and complexity and features, I want them to refine what's already there, which is plenty.

Squad control was okay though. Team AI more capable of some autonomous behavior would go a long way (like just moving to safety instead of standing there in the open, keenly staring in entirely the wrong direction while getting shot at).

Oh, and sort out the "Oh no.--THREE--Is down.--Move to.--CAR--at--12--o'clock. Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative."

Long rant for yucks.
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5. Re: Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned Feb 25, 2012, 00:39 KilrathiAce
People laugh, but bis actually pushes a lot of pc technology with their engine and makes use of pc tech much more than most engines nowdays.  
Avatar 7413
"On 2646.215 I myself attacked & destroyed TCS Tiger's Claw in my Jalthi heavy fighter"
Bakhtosh Redclaw Nar Kiranka
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4. Re: Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned Feb 25, 2012, 00:16 tuddies
DRAT! sorry to hear they are using mocap instead of euphoria -- maybe arma4  
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3. Re: Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned Feb 25, 2012, 00:01 Parias
"Indeed, ease of use, and particularly accessibility, has been an entire goal in itself."

This scares the hell out of me and I hope they don't over-do it. While I agree with the concept that a lot of stuff around the game series is notoriously rough around the edges and counter-intuitive, the relative complexity is also what I absolutely love about Armed Assault; in particular the squad control and how you can micro-manage each and every thing your team does (if inclined) - not to mention all the different functions for operating tanks, aircraft, etc. If they start taking these things away and dumbing it all down, I'll be really disappointed.

From the wording though it doesn't sound like I'll have too much to worry about and that they're being careful about this.
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2. Re: Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned Feb 24, 2012, 21:42 Bard
Aren't they ALWAYS alphas when they're released?

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1. Re: Arma 3 Alpha Release Planned Feb 24, 2012, 21:39 Kabuto
Sounds typical of a ArmA game, except this time I guess they aren't charging for the alpha testing.....  
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