I'm not sure if people are discussing this in the stickied threads. But I think this article here has soo much information that it's worth having a new thread.
Heres the direct link to the article.
I'm really exicted about all the modding posibilities right now I'm seriously considering starting an ArmA mod with my friends. I am most looking forward to making islands with the new Visitor 3. The improvements are so great, making maps out of sattilite imagery. OMG. Maybe my mod will be called the World Mod or something and we recreate the whole earth into ArmA with the help of Google Earth. Think of the possiblities.Originally Posted by [bQuote[/b] ]In the course of the OFP Workshop II, held by Mapfact and Construction Factory, we were pleased to attend an Armed Assault presentation of the exclusive BIS member Rastavovich. A large part of experienced and skilled members of the community was allowed to listen and ask questions. We were presented the Armed Assault E3 demo and were pretty pleased with what we saw! But in contrary to many of the articles written about BIS’ E3 presentation, this article will feature exclusive information about several aspects in Armed Assault’s future modding.
First of all we were informed about the general game play. As was already stated in many prior interviews, Armed Assault will feature character switching in the Singleplayer mode. This can be configured by the mission editor: Every unit set to “playable”, an option that in OFP is still exclusive to the Multiplayer mode, can be commanded. This option can also be changed via scripting in the course of the mission. The AI wasn’t that impressing in the demo, but Rastavovich assured us that this will change for the final product.
Weapons have real 3D optics, the indirectHit values of the weapons’ bullets were erased. This means that your bullets either hit or they don’t, which will improve the gameplay a lot. We also asked about the new inventory system used for weapons and items, but Rastavovich wouldn’t want to give us any information about it. He stated that it should remain a surprise for the community.
Multiple gunner positions will definitely be possible in Armed Assault. Not only that turrets can freely be nested into each other, Armed Assault will enable an open number of custom turrets. BIS already joked about creating some huge WWII battleships with 12 cannon turrets. In the current version of Armed Assault, the UH-60 already has two working miniguns on both sides of the helicopter. The long desired commander MG will be included in the tanks of Armed Assault, BIS still have to solve minor problems, which is why we can’t see them on the current pictures yet.
One thing that will be very interesting is Armed Assault’s Multiplayer mode. According to BIS the number of players only depends on the connection and strength of the used server. Numbers like 200 players a game were already unofficially stated, but BIS never had the time to really test this case. Voice over IP will be fully supported in Armed Assault, like in the current chat system players have the option to communicate on different layers (vehicle, group, side, global) to not disturb each other. Whether we will actually notice the different units speaking, Rastavovich couldn’t tell. Much more likely an icon indicating the talking player will appear on the screen.
Join in Progress is possible for multiplayer games, but there is no need for fears. If anything, this can still be prevented by locking the server. Furthermore Rastavovich assured us that BIS is very concerned about the community’s interest. Many new features will be implemented to attract new players, but for the old hardcore OFP players BIS will leave the option to turn off most of it.
One important point in the Multiplayer development is that BIS will surely develop both a Linux as a Windows server version. They also invented a new system to prevent cheaters. The server configuration will have the option to determine which addons, given a certain signature, should be loaded into the game. This should prevent ‘cheater addons’ from being activated.
Also the mission editor will contain useful improvements. The so-called “library” allows you test any weapon or vehicle ingame and provide information about its capabilities. BIS will include a Mission Wizard, providing players with template missions. This way also players that don’t find the time to work on missions for several weeks or months will be given the possibility to create interesting scenarios in a short time. Missions in Armed Assault can also be within addons.
The scripting engine of Armed Assault will be improved a lot. It was changed to be more efficient; scripts are loaded and compiled only upon the first call and remain there until the end of the mission. Strings and functions are treated separately, functions in general have a bigger importance in Armed Assault. So we will receive a couple of new commands for functions like the “switch case”. The same .sqf functions are also used in the new versions of Oxygen and Visitor to script and automate different creation processes. Though it is yet undecided whether those scripting functionalities will be made public.
We were glad to hear that BIS plan to publish several tools and documentations prior to the release of the game. A new version from Oxygen Light with several new features will be released to the community. BIS also developed a new tool named Linda, which helps the designers generating vegetation in a natural way. Most possibly this tool won't be released to the public due to its complexity though. We were told that no single tree in Armed Assault is modeled by hand anymore.
Modelers will be happy about the new information in the addon sector. Armed Assault brings a whole revolution to animations of models. So custom animations aren’t located in the addon’s config.cpp anymore – they are written into a config file with Oxygen, which is then included in their .p3d file. This way a model can be used by several classes without having to redefine the animations every time.
All of the hardcoded animations are defined with "controllers". This controller can steer several different animations at once – getting rid of any script solution. Animations, also user-defined ones, can be freely nested into each other. If a turret and an MG turret have separate animations, they can be linked to move together. The animation type “rotation” gets a new brother called “translation”, enabling linear animations.
Models can be mapped with extended materials. With the right settings they can look very realistic. Armed Assault features Detail Maps and Normal Maps as well as HDR. BIS also invented a so-called “Second UV Set”. This technique makes it possible to overwrite the UV maps on parts of the model with UV maps of textures in a better resolution. What exactly the difference between this new system and the current face mapping is, Rastavovich couldn’t tell. Textures will be loaded together with setObjectTexture in Armed Assault, but it is unclear whether they finally will be restored from saved missions. The modelled detail for the most detailed models of BIS lies at around 6000 Polygons – the new mapping technologies make up for that.
With the new version of Oxygen, the community will be provided with better import functions from 3D Studio Max and Maya, but still Oxygen will be necessary to make the addon compatible with the game.
And we can reassure you: Airplanes will exist in Armed Assault! ;-)
The new Visitor 3 can convert satellite data to maps, including their height-maps and surface textures. Again, a Visitor light, token away some of the features, is meant to be released to the community. Due to the new streaming technology the size of the maps isn’t limited in any way. Rastavovich showed us a map with a size of 82x82km, mapped with satellite pictures and meant for the military. BIS experimented with cell sizes up to only 5m, but this will probably represent a problem with large maps. The new version of visitor also supports .png import.
The above-mentioned functions can automate different processes in Visitor. We were shown different examples: Objects were randomly placed, power poles were automatically created along roads. The most impressive thing we were shown was an automatic process to fit streets in the landscape. To make them look more natural, the world around them gets flattened or cut, streets going up a hill in serpentines actually look like real streets afterwards. Right now, it is rather unlikely that rivers will find their way into Armed Assault.
We were assured that BIS plan an outstanding support and documentation for the community. A wiki for the modding community is intended to be published yet before Armed Assault. Members of the community will be able to add any information they find out about the engine to this wiki, to prevent it from getting lost. In the end the wiki should represent the primary source for any information concerning content creation for Armed Assault.
BIS also plan to introduce so-called “Certified Content Developers” – content creators that register at BIS and receive a better support than in the wiki or forums and avoid a lot of speculations. They will be given the possibilty to "sign" their PBOs, marking them as reliable within the anti cheating system.
Last but not least – the question of questions, the one, the most important order of words, that has to be asked at all costs not to bring OFP’s matters of causality out of order: When will it be released?
Nothing new to tell there: Still the release is intended for Q3 2006, dependent on the developer this date may push back a little.
EDIT: Article updated a bit.