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.



2013-03-18 ArmA 3 Alpha support Zoom

With the new Arma3 alpha being released, here is the ability to generate Arma3 single-player missions right from your browser.

PlannedAssault supports infantry teams (including diver teams starting at sea), AI teams mounting and dismounting transports, AI mortar units, AI gunships and transport helicopters. Infantry teams are available in different sizes, and customized differently (plate armor and helmet carrying assault troops as well as cap and backpack wearing light patrol units).

Automatically generated briefing (Arma3)

Attack at dawn (Arma3)

Heli insertion (Arma3)

But... All of this comes with a big warning: Arma3 is 'alpha' for a reason: it needs testing, bug finding and -fixing. Currently in need of improvement are the automatic vehicle placement (trucks rolling over upon spawning in 'formation' on a slope) and vehicle AI (trucks getting stuck, helicopters not progressing to next waypoints).

MH-9 carrying infantry fire team (Arma3)

Ifrit and team leader scanning (Arma3)

Frogmen insertion (Arma3)

I'm supporting Arma3 this early to help test Arma3 thoroughly. I'm trying to keep up with the development branch. If it is your purpose to test Arma3, then PlannedAssault will help you. Otherwise, you're better off with PlannedAssault generating missions for your Arma2 or Iron Front while Arma3 gets rid off its rough edges.

AI diver team ingressing stealthily (Arma3)

AI crewed mortar with hostile gunship overhead (Arma3)

OPFOR hit by AI mortar strike (Arma3)

As the screen shots above show, there is a lot to like in Arma3: the weather, the infantry animations, kit customization, the built-in configuration viewer, and the use of well understood file formats for terrain (I just need help parsing the new road format).