Bohemia Interactive have been working on ARMA 3 for a while now. We’ve seen some great footage from the game already, and there’ll likely be a whole lot more before the game releases next summer. In a bid to learn where the series is heading with this upcoming release, we took the opportunity to ask a few questions of Ivan Buchta, the game’s Creative Director. Here’s how the conversation went:
The ARMA series has always been a little different to most FPS/Combat games. For newcomers can expain a little of what it’s all about and what your aim is?
Unlike a common exaggerated FPS game, Arma games have always attempted to provide players with a more complete experience of modern combat; which means we focus on an open and more challenging game offering a lot more possibilities compared to a corridor shooter. Arma 3 will bring the same great combat experience together with some substantial technological innovations.
In Arma 3 (and in the Arma series in general), the design is generally focused on authenticity of the experience. The scale and nature of combat are both close to the real thing: engagements happen at hundreds-meters range, even a single bullet can kill you, enemies are cunning, deadly threats can come from any direction at any time. Resulting gameplay is more slow-paced requires completely different approach than just run and shoot quickly: you need to plan your advance, use the terrain to your advantage and apply correct tactics. If you like things of a military nature and prefer thinking to shooting, Arma is the game for you.
What are some of the key new features in ARMA 3?
Let me name the most innovative and gameplay-changing ones: improvements in physics simulation, diving and underwater vehicles, customizable appearance and weapons as well as engine-supported unmanned vehicles. There are also many parts of the game and engine we are improving significantly: animations, injury simulation, parachuting, artillery…
There are several key features which are also present in our previous games, and which form the core gameplay famous to the Arma series: the large and realistic terrain, simulation of various types of vehicles, capable semi-autonomous Artificial Intelligence, and the non-player-centric design of the game’s content. We are not going to change this proven concept, but we rather attempt to expand and refine it.
There are two main factors resulting in “accessibility”: the complexity of the gameplay and game controls more or less coping with the complex possibilities of a game. The titles in the Arma series are certainly very complex, and we could hardly make Arma 3 less complex without losing the unique gameplay, so the only way to increase accessibility is to make sure the player is properly guided, the controls are ergonomic and the rules are clear.
We’ve designed the campaign of Arma 3 in a way which would allow novice players to learn the basics first and get enough practice with the new features. If it would work as intended, playing through the campaign should turn a raw recruit into an experienced Arma veteran knowledgeable of all the features the game would offer. Of course, Arma 3 will feature tutorials for all major features, which worked nicely in Operation Arrowhead. Also, we are working on a clever hint system, which should offer less experienced players much needed guidance in the vast arrays of the game’s controls.
Can you tell us a little about the in-game editor and what it’s capable of?
The basic logic of mission editing remains the same as in our previous games of the series: one may insert units and objects, assign some waypoints to the units, design triggered events or add some scripts or FSMs if he wishes. There is extra infrastructure we’ve developed in order to make the population of the map with objects and special locations faster and more user-friendly. Also, the editor will probably have a full 3D editing capability similar to the 3D editor present (and partially hidden) in Arma 2 and Operation Arrowhead.
Are you planning to release any in-house DLC or expansion packs in the future?
The DLC business model recently became largely popular and Arma 2 has been no exception, therefore I can say we would be looking at this possibility for Arma 3. However, I cannot confirm anything at the moment, although there are some great ideas emerging inside the team.
ARMA 3 will be supporting PhysX, but is it likely we’ll see any other features such as DirectX 11?
Arma 3 will run under DirectX 11, but it’s probably too early to talk about the degree of DX11-only features which would be used in the game. Hopefully, DX11 will allow us to boost the game’s graphics; we hope its advanced shader possibilities will allow us to improve the object lighting and water, but I am unable to list the specific cases at the moment.
Although it’s early days, is there any idea on minimum specifications required?
It’s quite early for solid information indeed, but I can probably reiterate the information published earlier: Arma 3 would require a multi-core CPU, Shader Model 3 GPU, 2 GB of RAM, Windows 7 or Vista system and about 15 GB of disk space. We’ve had good experience with SSDs, which are definitely recommended.
Any plans for a public beta or an idea of a release date?
Arma 3 is planned to be released Summer 2012, but I cannot be more specific at the moment. We’ve been considering a public beta lately, also based on the generally positive impact a public beta had on our “Take On Helicopters” simulator. The beta will become available 1-2 months before planned release, but the plans may still change.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Obviously a big thank you to your readers for their interest in Arma 3, we’re excited to be working on the project and especially interested in doing a slightly futuristic setting to see how it will be received, we’re obviously well known for accuracy and authenticity so it will be very interesting to see how we’re received when we add in a dose of imagination and tech-predicting to the mix as well!