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tacticalnuggets

Arma 3 could have been BIS at its peak

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I have a lot to discuss here. As always, my criticism is out of love for the ofp/arma series; nothing cant be solved. I wish I could sum it up in a few words but the general conclusion from most of what I am about to say is this: If BIS does not come up with plan to deal with the old community content properly, in their next flagship milsim sandbox, then BIS will probably die as a company. Assuming their next milsim sandbox is based on the enfusion engine, then their needs to be a plan for the enfusion engine.

 

Arma 3 has kept backwards compatibility towards its older games. For instance, all the mod scripts, mod assets, and game assets are able to be imported into Arma 3 without having to do rewrites. Often, there is the need to update deprecated functions, asset compatibility configurations, and refactoring in order to import stuff. But the main point is that none of this was insurmountable, and as a result a lot of community content has built up. In fact, there is now over 17 YEARS of community content. In fact, there is so much content that in order to calculate it you would have to be a scientist specialized in the field. In which case, the only way I am going to attempt to come up with an average and uncertainty range on the number of mods is if I get paid. But if you insist on some kind of number, Arma 3 alone has over 57,000 mods on its steam workshop; that's not counting the thousands who run closed communities, create mods for themselves, or just want to be independent. The number of non-steam workshop mods could exceed that number. But again, Arma 3 is 5 years old out of 17 years of mods. So while the steam workshop and independent mods consist of what has been made or imported into Arma 3, there is still the potential aspect to get into. There is over 12 years of un-imported content that can still be imported with the will and capacity to do so. I cant throw out a number at this point, but if I have to say something, I'd say that the amount of community content is astronomical relative to most other games. Community content is what forms the backbone of your flagship titles, BIS. If this community content is not properly handled in your upcoming flagship title, you could create the biggest blow back you have ever seen, ruining your company and its customer base. I agree that from an individual perspective, a fresh start sounds appealing. But in this case, your going to remove the very soil you plant in, and your game crops wont grow anymore. 

 

I think the biggest indicator is the current "death spiral" that I cant help but point out. I do not want to start a rant fest, but as other community members and youtubers have pointed out, your most recent titles are getting mixed feedback, and you have built up a list of these titles. There is a lot of alpha phase monetization going on, while the games themselves are struggling to get out of alpha and seem to be failing overall. I do not know what kind of profit you guys are making off of your products, but I cant help but think that you guys are exhibiting a pattern of "lets try this. lets try this. lets try this", knowing that you  need to push something out that people like quick or your not going to be around for that much longer. But one may wonder why you guys are not just dumping more money into your next flagship if you have gotten much better reviews for your previous flagships. I think its because you KNOW that you have hit the wall, and that dealing with the community content in  your next flagship could destroy you, and so your company is afraid to deal with it immediately. Instead, you are willing to gamble with these new premature titles until you can come up with a solution. Which could be ok, but there is a temptation. A lot of company employees would rather play it safe and cash in on these situations. Sure, the company might be done and ready to close, but at least the current employees can get their paychecks before we are done. Employee morale is a huge factor that tends to make these periods of waiting for solutions death spirals. 

 

I have more to say, but I need to stop for now.

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Where to begin.

 

I’ll summarize the above to save others from having to wade through it.

 

BI should make sure they build backwards compatibility into Arma 4 to allow for the immense number of scripts, (or mods as the OP cites the number found on Steam) created over the 17 years we’ve enjoyed their Arma titles. Either way, there’s a lot of them so BI better make sure they work in Arma 4 because otherwise they’ll suck.

 

But, they may suck anyway because they’re releasing a bunch of other stuff in alpha stages in order to monetize the new titles, not that it matters because they’re not getting good reviews anyway.

 

However, BI doesn’t really care because they know they’ve hit the wall, in creativity I’m assuming.

 

My response;

 

First, you’re absolutely allowed your opinion.

 

Second,  niether scripts or mods are automatically backward compatible. The CUP crew have spent years bringing stuff over from past games. Stuff needs to be ported forward. Some stuff isn’t worth the effort and some simply can’t be brought forward. Scripts break fairly easy as the engine or in-game commands are changed.

 

Finally, BI doesn’t owe anything to anyone. Whether they produce Arma 4 or not, they’ve done what they have up until this point. They created a game, we bought it. Rinse, repeat. No owing. No questions on creativity.

 

Between this and Reddit, there sure are a lot of players throwing Arma tantrums. Did I miss something? Did the Fortnite servers go down?

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Well, i look forward to a fresh move into ArmA 4, whenever that happens. There's going to be a lot to learn and of course they need to take a step forward, but why would that not be understandable?

 

To borrow your metaphor, why should they sit on the same soil they've been on for nearly 20 years? A fresh mow and a bit of lawn fertilizer only goes so far. Why not redo their lawn and go for a bigger, better design and then invite all their friends around for a bbq and beers to break it in? I'll go. 

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10 hours ago, Rich_R said:

I’ll summarize the above to save others from having to wade through it.

 

I disagree. The users should read through it, so they don't have to search around the internet for mod statistics, or manually find the kinds of reviews their recent titles are getting. 

 

11 hours ago, Rich_R said:

Second,  niether scripts or mods are automatically backward compatible. The CUP crew have spent years bringing stuff over from past games. Stuff needs to be ported forward. Some stuff isn’t worth the effort and some simply can’t be brought forward. Scripts break fairly easy as the engine or in-game commands are changed.

 

I never said they would "automatically" be backward compatible. I stressed that the process can indeed be involved, but the point is that its possible. And continued backward compatibility for users like the CUP crew is exactly the problem. The CUP crew have poured years of effort into their imports. I would stress that the shear volume of content played a role in the length of the effort. Some stuff does indeed require too much effort to bring forward compared to its pay off, but the point is its possible to do. You have heavy hitters like the CUP crew and thousands of other mods out there, some with years of work like CUP. There is inherent value here. By stripping away that value, people are going to feel the burn. Its not a matter of legality but a matter of how people will react when it finally dawns on them just how much value has been lost. 

 

11 hours ago, Rich_R said:

Finally, BI doesn’t owe anything to anyone. Whether they produce Arma 4 or not, they’ve done what they have up until this point. They created a game, we bought it. Rinse, repeat. No owing. No questions on creativity.

 

Between this and Reddit, there sure are a lot of players throwing Arma tantrums. Did I miss something? Did the Fortnite servers go down?

 

And in most games, there always seems to be some triggered fanboy out there, ready to throw a tantrum as well. :f: But we are smart enough to be above these means of argumentation, are we not?

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10 hours ago, beno_83au said:

Well, i look forward to a fresh move into ArmA 4, whenever that happens. There's going to be a lot to learn and of course they need to take a step forward, but why would that not be understandable?

 

To borrow your metaphor, why should they sit on the same soil they've been on for nearly 20 years? A fresh mow and a bit of lawn fertilizer only goes so far. Why not redo their lawn and go for a bigger, better design and then invite all their friends around for a bbq and beers to break it in? I'll go. 

 

Agreed. There obviously needs to be major improvements and innovation to release a new flagship title. But there is a precarious situation BIS must deal with that other developers dont have to deal with. Its what makes arma games so unique, and that is its abnormally massive number of mods and community content.

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On 11/26/2018 at 9:39 AM, tacticalnuggets said:

I think the biggest indicator is the current "death spiral" that I cant help but point out. I do not want to start a rant fest, but as other community members and youtubers have pointed out, your most recent titles are getting mixed feedback, and you have built up a list of these titles. There is a lot of alpha phase monetization going on, while the games themselves are struggling to get out of alpha and seem to be failing overall. I do not know what kind of profit you guys are making off of your products, but I cant help but think that you guys are exhibiting a pattern of "lets try this. lets try this. lets try this", knowing that you  need to push something out that people like quick or your not going to be around for that much longer. But one may wonder why you guys are not just dumping more money into your next flagship if you have gotten much better reviews for your previous flagships. I think its because you KNOW that you have hit the wall, and that dealing with the community content in  your next flagship could destroy you, and so your company is afraid to deal with it immediately. Instead, you are willing to gamble with these new premature titles until you can come up with a solution.

I find this whole notion to be the strangest part of your entire post.

 

This isn't Bohemia trying to tide people over until the next Arma, it's a growing developer trying to expand their portfolio beyond a single niche product.

It's not the first time they've tried this, and in all regards this might be their best shot at it yet.

And how does it matter to Arma players if these games exist? Its not as if the appeal of Arma itself would suddenly disappear if they didn't: people would keep playing it and modding it for what it is.

 

If you are perhaps concerned that they are putting less consideration and effort into the next Arma game because of this, consider that they can't make it until they've got their new engine; and to make that, they need people proficient in low-level programming, software architecture, and any other relevant disciplines.

Steve the character artist isn't going to be much help in that regard, and their time is far better spent on the development of a different game.

 

It's hardly like they're going to try making Arma 4 in RV; if Bohemia has hit a wall in regards to anything, its the limitations of Real Virtuality.

Computer hardware has long since moved beyond that which the current engine was designed for, and I'm sure BIS understands this as well as anyone.

If anything is holding Arma back at this point, it's that more than anything else.

 

In this regard BIS has two main choices, they can either make another Arma game on the same engine which will likely have little to set it apart from its predecessors, or they can take a risk and invest time and resources into developing a new engine over several years.

There is no denying that the latter will mean a great deal, if not the vast majority, of modding work will have to be redone from scratch; but considering the potential flexibility and capabilities provided by a modern engine, along with the long term consequences of neglecting such investment, I honestly can't see how Bohemia could have done it any other way.

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On 11/27/2018 at 2:51 AM, target_practice said:

I find this whole notion to be the strangest part of your entire post.

 

This isn't Bohemia trying to tide people over until the next Arma, it's a growing developer trying to expand their portfolio beyond a single niche product.

It's not the first time they've tried this, and in all regards this might be their best shot at it yet.

And how does it matter to Arma players if these games exist? Its not as if the appeal of Arma itself would suddenly disappear if they didn't: people would keep playing it and modding it for what it is.

 

If you are perhaps concerned that they are putting less consideration and effort into the next Arma game because of this, consider that they can't make it until they've got their new engine; and to make that, they need people proficient in low-level programming, software architecture, and any other relevant disciplines.

Steve the character artist isn't going to be much help in that regard, and their time is far better spent on the development of a different game.

 

It's hardly like they're going to try making Arma 4 in RV; if Bohemia has hit a wall in regards to anything, its the limitations of Real Virtuality.

Computer hardware has long since moved beyond that which the current engine was designed for, and I'm sure BIS understands this as well as anyone.

If anything is holding Arma back at this point, it's that more than anything else.

 

In this regard BIS has two main choices, they can either make another Arma game on the same engine which will likely have little to set it apart from its predecessors, or they can take a risk and invest time and resources into developing a new engine over several years.

There is no denying that the latter will mean a great deal, if not the vast majority, of modding work will have to be redone from scratch; but considering the potential flexibility and capabilities provided by a modern engine, along with the long term consequences of neglecting such investment, I honestly can't see how Bohemia could have done it any other way.

 

I'm not seeing much of an argument for why Bohemia ought not make enfusion backwards compatible with sqf. Its not like they are planning on adopting another companies engine, unless I am mistaken because i've been out of the loop for many months. It would seem to be worth it. Many platforms, languages, and frameworks do this as legacy support. And I'd wager Arma/OFP deserves the title of a platform.

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4 hours ago, tacticalnuggets said:

 

I'm not seeing much of an argument for why Bohemia ought not make enfusion backwards compatible with sqf. Its not like they are planning on adopting another companies engine, unless I am mistaken because i've been out of the loop for many months. It would seem to be worth it. Many platforms, languages, and frameworks do this as legacy support. And I'd wager Arma/OFP deserves the title of a platform.

Probably because to do so would mean seriously limiting what they can do with their new engine, as they'd be forced to maintain many of the elements of RV that they'd otherwise want to redo or dispose of entirely. Given that they are creating a new scripting language it would be a struggle to try and maintain compatibility for another with what is likely an entirely different syntax.

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I suspect the reason why Bohemia are branching out to games which do not always turn into commercial powerhouses is because they are a creative group of people whom enjoy creating games. I'd rather have a passion for games than clinical ones.  The sheer plethora of community made content-- which shows no signs of stopping-- should be as clear indication as any that Arma is not suffering a death spiral. 

 

Which is not to say that there are not lessons to be learned in transition from Arma3 to any new title. Arma3 is a splendid game in many ways, but still woefully underdeveloped-- or riddled with poor or inconsistent design decisions in others. Some of which have only, really, become visible after-the-fact. Precisely because Bohemia is balancing on an edge of games development for the love of games and profitability. 

 

-k 

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11 hours ago, tacticalnuggets said:

I'm not seeing much of an argument for why Bohemia ought not make enfusion backwards compatible with sqf.

 

i'm not sure there is an argument to be had, correct me if i'm wrong but i think enfusion uses a completely unrelated script language to .sqf so backwards compatibility isn't such an option.

 

like you say after 17 years this is a very familiar environment to make mods in, but.. also check out the threads on AI behaviour or driving or any of the other things that the devs have been struggling with for the same 17 years due to limitations with the existing engine and what is hard coded into it. the prospect of getting a fresh start on all this is worth it, for me at least. 100%

 

anyway with the scale of community we have for arma 3 i can see it being active even after the theoretical release of any arma 4!

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IMHO arma 3 has, at least, 4 years sales, with recent DLC the scenarios are countless. RV engine now Needs only a guidelines and better tools for MP terrains

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3 hours ago, lordfrith said:

the prospect of getting a fresh start on all this is worth it, for me at least. 100%

 

100 % right about it !  :thumb:

We certainly need to see some new stuff !

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Posted (edited)

@tacticalnuggets Bohemia hasn't announced any plan to adopt another company's engine for Arma -- afaik Enfusion exists so that the future engine is something in-house, even if that means the years-long development results in it being still outdated/behind "industry standard" in some ways like (even if different from) the current engine -- although they have used Unity for non-Arma projects such as Vigor Ylands and Unreal for Vigor.

Edited by chortles
Corrected which Bohemia Interactive games use which engine

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3 hours ago, chortles said:

although they have used Unity for non-Arma projects such as Vigor

Vigor is Unreal Engine.

 

And Enfusion is already quite a big step forwards.

 

SQF backwards compatibility sounds nice. But if you've started writing serious Enscript code, you don't want to go back ever again.

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BI turned into "early access forever" with a slight chance that the game that reaches end of life is still a broken mess. Besides Dayz their other projects aren't what I would call successful and speaking of Dayz from what I read 1.0 turned out to be a joke after years of alpha.

Hell, I've bought Take on Mars and it was a mess on performance side, at one point I couldn't even launch it. Now it's playable-ish.

Take on Helicopters was ok, doubt it had a stellar performance financial wise. Back then they were still interested in experimenting stuff, they even managed to combine the game with A2.

Carrier Command was a total shit show, funnily enough it had the same AI pathfinding problems when driving just like Arma series. Was abandoned pretty quickly, I assume it didn't make enough money.

Besides Arma they have quite good ideas but their execution is frankly crappy. Since 2013 like I said earlier they turned into "early access forever". A3 has also a terrible record of breaking mods with every big update(Tanks dlc for example) so kudos to the mod teams that are still around to update their stuff.

I'll see if they change things when A4 launches, if they continue 2013 style I don't have much hope for their products.

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One thing that this discussion highlights is that there are two important conflicting interests:

A) to value years of community work in making Arma a more interesting game

and

B) to update Arma engine so that the game can improve further. 

 

I could bet the overwhelming majority of modders out there will not sacrifice B in favour of A.

Besides, when A4 comes with a better engine even if the assets are a bit crappy (hope not anyway) we already know what the community can do.

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