2015 was yet another busy year for our teams. From Marksmen DLC in April through to Nexus Update in December, we’ve seen a number of launches, announcements, and platform updates.
With that in mind, we'd like to offer up a brief retrospective of our work, and sketch out some of the development we've lined up for Arma 3 in 2016.
Since we're aiming to keep things fairly concise, we’ll take a look at just 10 favourite bits of last year's splendid progress, covering new content, gameplay and much more besides:
- The 'stand-out' Marksmen DLC feature, Weapon Stabilisation was an engine-driven solution to a tricky problem: resting or deploying pretty much any official (or custom-created) weapon on any terrain or object.
- Alongside some richly detailed rifles - complete with new accessories, sounds, and animations - creating Marksmen DLC's Premium Weaponsafforded the opportunity to add a new class of machine gun.
- The gradual improvement of our AI has been ongoing since launch, but with Suppression, we introduced an important new feature, which tied together a lot of our previous foundation work.
- Introduced as an 'experimental' MP mode in Marksmen DLC, End Game was later fleshed out in Nexus Update. It's helped us create useful new platform systems and validate network optimisations.
- In March, we were happy to wrap up the Make Arma Not War competition, announcing the winners and runners-up, and sharing half a million Euros across a variety of categories.
- Although the Arma 3 Tools package enjoyed various additions, Terrain Processor stands out as a welcome utility, which fills the gap between geographic data and our proprietary terrain editing pipelines.
- In June, The PC Gaming Show at E3 was a fantastic opportunity for us to reveal Tanoa, our next terrain and undoubted centrepiece of this year’s expansion, Arma 3 Apex.
- Enabling mod-makers to define ‘Dependencies’ via Steam Workshop was an important step on the path to improving the maintenance of custom-content and simplifying the process of joining modded multiplayer servers.
- The so-called ‘Foundation Release’ of our Arma 3 Units web-service enables players to quickly and easily find like-minded folk from the big variety of community groups and play-styles out there.
- ‘End Game Tournament’ was a fine way to round off the year: a chance to battle some community groups, and a splendid opportunity to showcase new things like Spectator mode!
Of course, there’s much more we could dig into; to get a sense of it all, check out a few 2015 SITREPs. Fair warning, though: there are 48 of them!
So, looking ahead to 2016, we've got a lot more ground to cover! Once again, let's pick out just a few of the things that we're most looking forward to:
- Without doubt, the stand-out feature of the forthcoming Eden Update is a purpose-build 3D Scenario Editor. Following a few months of Dev-Branchtesting / feedback, it's almost ready for official release!
- Another hotly anticipated feature already live on Dev-Branch is our Launcher-based Server Browser. Alongside advanced filtering options, the detection and automatic download of dependent mods greatly simplifies joining multiplayer games.
2015 introduced great improvements to audio fidelity, and that's set to continue this year! A new approach to Audio Configuration will enable more authentic features and produce a richer soundscape.
- Originally scheduled for Eden Update (but now targeting Arma 3 Apex), our Visual Update aims to overhaul the game lighting configuration, and introduce new Sea Shader and Screen-space Reflections tech.
- A variety of Usability Improvements are in store for 2016. Switching weapons, de-cluttering interactions , configuring game difficulty and more - our objective is to address some long-standing UX needs.
- We're looking forward to extending Arma 3 Units. We aim to introduce event organisation, integrate parts of the service in-game, and make jumping into multiplayer quicker and easier than ever.
- We want to continue making scripted systems and mods perform better and do more. Working together with our community, further Script Command Improvements, Additions and Optimisations are on the horizon.
- Several scripted Multiplayer Systems (such as Revive and Dynamic Groups) were prototyped last year. As we head towards Apex, together with optimisation, we aim to extend and finalise their functionality.
- The introduction of New Vehicle Classes (namely, Light Strike Vehicles and VTOL aircraft) stands to create some fun new gameplay opportunities, and provide new ways of exploring our large terrains.
- Speaking of terrains, our final item we consider to be the crown jewels of Arma 3 Apex. 100 square kilometres of South Pacific archipelago, and your next battlefield: it's Tanoa.
Of course, we've only scratched the surface of our plans here, which we'll flesh out as we close in on future milestones, when we'll have a lot more to reveal!
As always, we're thankful for our team’s creativity and dedication. Thanks, too, of course, to our community and players, which we were proud to see exceed 2 million last year.
Overall, 2015 has been a vital staging point; now, we've got high hopes and big ambitions for 2016. We hope you'll join us on the road to Arma 3 Apex.
On behalf of the A3 team,