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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

2013-08-24 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

2013-08-19 Arma2 Caribou Island terrain Zoom

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.

USMC LAV-25 in rugged terrain with an industry facilities backdrop (Arma2)

A Ka-50 flight engaging marines on the ground (Arma2)

Russian infantry west of Oil Bay on Caribou Island (Arma2)

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.

 

William

2013-08-04 Arma2 (Winter) Schwemlitz Zoom

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.

Railroad bridge near Hagen on Winter Schwemlitz (Arma2)

Swedish LvKv90 under fire (Arma2)

Su-34 Fullback operating above snow covered Schwemlitz (Arma2)

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.

Swedish infantry in snow camouflage in Schwemlitz's woods (Arma2)

Swedish mechanized Strf90D unit advancing (Arma2)

Arma3 beta's new BTR-K Kamyah's in position (Arma3)

Enjoy,

 

William