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2013-10-12 Close-air-support for Arma3 (F-18, Buzzard) and Arma2CO (F-18, F-14, Typhoons) Zoom

This week increases choice in close-air-support for Arma3 and Arma2CO missions. The (default Arma3) FAA A-143 Buzzard and John Spartan and Saul's F/A-18 Super Hornets (USMC and US Navy liveries) are now available for Arma3 missions.

 

For Arma2CO, the Cold War F-14B Tomcat (in US Navy and Iranian air force liveries) and modern day F/A-18 Super Hornets (USMC, US Navy, ADF liveries) and Eurofighter Typhoons have been added (RAF, Luftwaffe, Luftstreitkraefte, Aeronautica Militare, Ejercito del Aire liveries).

USMC F-18F over Poliakko (Arma3)

Close air support from a ground perspective (Arma3)

USMC F-18F launching an Maverick missile (Arma3)

Especially the Arma3 screen shots show the planes in all their beauty, against the backdrop of Altis island.

RKSL Spanish EuroFighter C.16 turning (Arma2)

RKSL Spanish C.16 Eurofighter Typhoon (Arma2)

Iranian air force F-14 Tomcat (Arma2)

Sadly, the Arma3 FAA A-143 Buzzard is very unreliable in hitting its waypoints. At this time, I recommend against using it in missions. Please vote this issue up to get the problem fixed.

US Navy F-14B Tomcat (Arma2)

AAF A-143 Buzzard over Altis (Arma3)

AAF AMV-4 Gorgon unloading dismounts upon contact (Arma3)

On the ground the Arma3 FAA also have been given their AMV-4 Gorgon (Pandur II) IFV. Also, the PlannedAssault unit definitions for the US Military Mod (80s, 90s) have been updated to fix incorrect helmet textures and newly added unit badges.

 

William

2013-09-28 Arma 3's Altis and annoyance at AI vehicles' inability to unstick themselves Zoom

Arma3 has been recently been released as a product. And at PlannedAssault, support for Arma3 and Arma3 community add-ons is increased step-by-step. Today's update contains improved map graphics and terrain understanding, a piece of Altis terrain for mission generation, all new NATO and CSAT armored vehicles, and working AI artillery mortar sections, self-propelled howitzer platoons and missile launcher batteries.

NATO M4 Scorcher mobile mortar system firing (Arma3)

NATO M4 Scorcher firing by night (Arma3)

NATO MLRS firing missiles (Arma3)

Now I have figured out how to interpret Arma3's road data (geodata .shp files), I have improved the Stratis map graphics with roads. More importantly, the mission generator now understand where roads (and corresponding maneuver space) is, yielding better combat plans.

 

A first part of Altis is now available for mission generation: the plains around Poliakko, touching Altis's inner bay. The Poliakko area is famous for its agricultural produce, and offers good mobility for all forces (assuming they are capable of doing so - see below).

 

Just as for Arma2, PlannedAssault generates pre-planned and on-call artillery missions using AI mortar, self-propelled howitzer or missile launcher groups. With a wider range in ammunition, the results are stunning (pun intended). The screen shots above clearly demonstrated Arma3's improvements in rendering, weather, and particle systems.

Runs 1 and 3 out of 4: vehicle stuck at on runway lights (Arma3)

Run 2 of 4: tank stuck on tree (Arma3)

Run 4 of 4: tank stuck on rocks (Arma3)

Arma3 shows less improvements, perhaps even steps back compared to Arma2, in AI vehicle behavior. Even for simple terrain movements, a AI vehicle platoon is very likely to get stuck on a simple obstacle, and remain stuck indefinitely. This "being stuck indefinitely" makes any mission including vehicle movement less likely to play out as intended by the mission designer (be it a human designer or an automatic mission generator such as PlannedAssault), resulting in a poor experience for the game player.

Although there might be mitigating factors (small AI team at BI Studios, the commercial need to launch prior to Battlefield 4), I am seriously annoyed to see a (non-beta) product being sold with these kind of problems. You can help focusing attention to the problem by voting this issue up at BI's bug tracker.

 

William

2013-09-09 US Military Units from the '80s, '90s and early '00s, AH-64D block II (Arma2CO) Zoom

With Delta Hawk's US Military Mod (80s, 90s), the Arma2 community is given the means to create virtually any US Army soldier or USMC marine for the 1985-2003 time frame. Fictitious battles in 1985 Germany or 1999 Kosovo, or historic battles in 1983 Grenada, 1989 Panama, 1991 Iraq, 2001 Afghanistan, or 2003 Iraq can be now be recreated as Arma2 missions.

The add-on comes with soldier, marines in 80 and 90 load bearing vests, with and without flak jackets, and in woodland and various desert camouflage uniforms, all modeled in great detail.

1985 101st Abn Paras advancing across bridge (Arma2)

1985 1st Cavalry TOW team in ambush (Arma2)

1989 Three Navy SEALs advancing (Arma2)

Based on these soldiers and configuration options, I have defined for PlannedAssault's unit database the fire teams, platoon HQs, TOW teams, Bradley dismount squads, mortar and howitzer crews, full size light infantry squads, etc. for the theaters listed above.

1989 Fully packed US Marines marching (Arma2)

1991 Scouts in position with Abrams protection (Arma2)

1993 Gloved hands of Rangers about to fast-rope (Arma2)

Additionally, I've combined empty Arma2 USMC vehicles and Arma2OA army vehicles with crews from the "US Military Mod (80s, 90s)" into vehicles manned by a crew matching the theater and era. See the 2003 USMC TOW HMMWV screen shot for an example. With these properly crewed motorized and mechanized units available here in PlannedAssault's editor, creating great missions for the '80s and '90s has become easier.

1999 US Marines in (fictitious) MOUT camouflage (Arma2)

2003 USMC HMMWV TOW gunner with marines in background (Arma2)

2004 1stCav scouts dismounting from Bradley (Arma2)

Also the "AH-64 Apache Longbow" add-on, by NodUnit and Franze, betters the BI original models with detail and configuration options. For their AH-64D block II Apache, I've made available "anti-tank", "covering" and "escort" variants, either normal or long-range (fuel tank), with the laser-guided or fire-and-forget Hellfire missiles.

Extensive detail on the AH-64D block II model (Arma2)

AH-64D w long range tank firing another Hellfire (Arma2)

Extensive damage in detail for a downed AH-64D (Arma2)

Regards,

 

William

2013-08-24 Cold War RearmedĀ² British Para's and Dutch artic Royal Marines, [ADO] Vostok island (summer + winter) Zoom

Another cold war update, bringing new units from the Cold War Rearmed 2 (CWR2) add-on, and an Arma2 world with cold war atmosphere: Old Bear's [ADO] Vostok, in summer and winter variants.

The new terrain for mission planning is from Vostok's largest island (Nikto Ostrov). This island is green and forested, with hills and sparse settlements: gulags, prisons, air strips, and military facilities reflecting their communist heritage.

Especially the winter variant is a beauty with snow presence varying with elevation.

CWR2 Paras w M76 GRP helmets disembarking HC1 (Arma2)

CWR2 FV-101 Scorpions performing recce (Arma2)

CWR2 Dutch W-Coy Marine with UZI (Arma2)

The PlannedAssault unit database now covers the recent additions to the CWR2's British forces: Paras equipped with the M76 GRP helmet, the Scimitar and Scorpion recce vehicles, and the HC1 Chinook.

In addition, the Whiskey Company cold weather Dutch Royal Marines have been added for the CWR2's Dutch Marines.

CWR2 Dutch Marine in cold weather outfit (Arma2)

CWR2 soviet BTRs moving along Vostok's scarce roads (Arma2)

CWR2 soviet infantry and BMPs (Arma2)

The last part of this update is support for Rydygier's SmartCamera, to use when playing the mission as observer. This SmartCamera add-on is an automatic camera system which moves from unit to unit, preferring to display units in combat or on the move. If you choose to use this add-on for your observer mission, you'll be shown all sides of the combat scenario without having to control the camera.

The SmartCamera module reminds me of the 'battle scenes' feature in Killzone (PlayStation2), where you could see the AI fight each other from a game controlled camera.

 

William