|2013-09-28||Arma 3's Altis and annoyance at AI vehicles' inability to unstick themselves|
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.
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.
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.
|2013-08-24||Cold War Rearmed² British Para's and Dutch artic Royal Marines, [ADO] Vostok island (summer + winter)|
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.
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.
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.
|2013-08-19||Arma2 Caribou Island terrain|
The recently released Arma2:CO world 'Caribou Frontier' by Raunhofer offers an interesting mix of detailed, rugged, rocky terrain, gentle and steep slopes and industry facilities. With all objects being manually placed, each place and thing offers a sense of purpose.
It is well suited to combined arms combat, offering neither vehicles nor infantry a big advantage. The terrain selected for PlannedAssault mission generation is the southern and center part of the island, containing the Oil Bay industrial zone.
I have also uploaded a bug fix to remove a 'security delay' at mission start for recon forces; obviously, recon forces should be the first to be on their way, and in newly generated missions that is again the case.
|2013-08-04||Arma2 (Winter) Schwemlitz|
The Arma2 Schwemlitz map (one of my favorite maps) received a winter variant (Winter Schwemlitz). I've immediately generated the terrain database so the mission planner can generate missions for it. The screen shots below show the results, with a Swedish mechanized force in snow camo moving through.
You'll find Winter Schwemlitz, by Falcon & Lancer, here.
I've also updated the Arma3 unit database to reflect the latest additions to the Arma3 Beta: tracked armored vehicles. Please be aware that the Arma3 AI is still a work-in-progress: AI drivers struggle to properly drive the IFVs across hills.