ARMA 2 Expectations

ARMA 2 was announced, and now you probably want to learn more about it.



Compared to ARMA, we're concentrating on the following improvements for ARMA 2:

  • Campaign with RPG elements, and with a story combined with dynamic events

  • Improved AI, especially in Close Quarter Battles

  • AI using taunts and hand signals for coordination and increased immersion

  • Much more realistic terrain, based closely on real world data

  • Optimizations for dual/multi core systems

  • Console and PC release

And as usual, there are some changes which are perhaps not that important, but we still hope they will help to make ARMA 2 a more enjoyable game.

  • Increased facial detail

  • Increased vegetation detail

  • Ambient animals

  • Improved building destruction (we will return to this in some future blog)

Improved AI, especially in Close Quarter Battles

I guess most of you have already watched closely the AI video which was available at Tiscali after GC. I have seen a lot of positive reactions to that (and some nitpicking as well) Given the video was taken from a very early build, I am confident that what will be delivered in the game will be even more impressive than what you have already seen. The best part of it is that the system is fully dynamic - no AI scripting or player commanding required.

Campaign with RPG elements

The main single player mode will cast the player in the role of a USMC deep reconnaissance team commander. This small team of specialists, acts as a prolonged and highly specialized arm of the central command, taking part in a large peace-making operation “Harvest Red”. As the story unfolds, the player takes advantage of resource management and role playing elements which help him progress through the deep combat simulation. Communication with non combatants and members of factions present in the area are essential for success. The player can also switch to any member of the squad to get full detailed control at any time during the gameplay.

ARMA 2 ingame screenhot ARMA 2 ingame screenhot ARMA 2 ingame screenhot
{rokzbox album=|a2| title=|ARMA 2 ingame screenhot|}assets/legacy/images/stories/arma2/ArmA2_Ingame-25.jpg{/rokbox} ARMA 2 ingame screenhot ARMA 2 ingame screenhot

AI using taunts and hand signals

We are going to sell you junk.... well, not really, but to some extent we really do, but do not be afraid, it will be recycled junk. There is a lot of real work done to make AI smarter and more human like. One part of this work is somehow special, though. While identifying weak areas of our AI, we came across one which is very interesting - our AI does a lot of things which are smart, but very hard to notice. What we are trying to do now is to "sell it" - to make sure AI communicates more about what it thinks, using taunts, hand signals, or other animations. While this will not make the AI any smarter, it should make it look better, more life like, increasing the immersion.

Realistic Terrain

Charnarus is a fictional post soviet country. The map is based on real landscape in the Northern part of the Czech Republic and it covers about 100 square kilometers of terrain: from coastal industrial areas with a large port, to deep pine forests and mountain villages. The environment is designed in the Autumn time to give it a special atmosphere. See the Landscape Almost Real article for more information about our approach to the creation of a realistic game map.

Dual core / multi core optimizations

The advent of multiple cores means a real challenge for any developer. We identify this as one of the main possible areas to achieve a higher frame rate in our engine but we also know this is not going to be a walk in the park.

The switch to dual / multi core technology is a very big change, hardly comparable to anything computers have gone through during the last ten years. While some parallel technologies were already developed even some 30 years ago, it never became part of mainstream practice and the whole development chain is completely unprepared for it (including programmers education).  Still, we are confident ArmA 2 will be able to bring significant improvement in this area. We are aiming for a mix of fine-grained and coarse-grained parallelism, similar to the way most other game developers seem to do. What we would like to see is better frame rate, smarter AI, and more units, however it is too soon to be able to really promise anything in this respect until the technology is implemented and well tested.

Console Release

There are various possible ways to look at a console release of ARMA 2: some hard core PC gamers don't like it much and are worried it may dumb down the game somehow. Others are happy to be able to look forward playing such a complex combat simulation on consoles.

Anyway, for Bohemia Interactive it is the only logical step. PC gaming is declining overall, especially (but not only) in North America. The PC platform suffers because of many severe compatibility and stability problems and the transition to Windows Vista does not help the platform in this regard over the short term. The good thing is that we are already experienced with consoles after our long struggle with Operation Flashpoint Elite for Xbox . We already know what we like and dislike regarding the development (and playing) of a combat simulation game on console, and with this hard earned knowledge we feel in the case of ARMA 2 this multiplatform approach is not only a commercially viable move but it also helps the game to be better on both platforms. All we want is to make it a more accessible and streamlined game than the current ARMA is. For that we do not need and do not want to remove anything that made Operation Flashpoint and ARMA so immersive and our focus on realism in the sense of open simulated game world will remain unchanged.

To be continued

Thank you for reading. We will share more details about each of the ARMA 2 features briefly covered in this blog in some of the next blog posts by ourselves or by other members of BI dev team.

Published on