Land, Sea, And Car: ARMA III Bares All

I must remember to ask Battlefield 3 if this counts as an ARMA-ed Kill.
Well, maybe not quite all, but ARMA III‘s debuted three rather sizable portions of its E3 demo, and – while I’m a bit unsettled by the sudden and ominous proliferation of threes in my life – I’m definitely impressed. Nighttime combat, underwater features, and vehicles are all given lengthy turns in the spotlight here – though sadly, the fascinating character of “suicidal goat” is only briefly explored in one of them. And of course, each is exceedingly gorgeous, but – as the old saying goes – staring at gloriously rendered mountains and going “ooooooooooo pretty” is only half the battle.

It’s a wondrous thing, isn’t it? ARMA II’s already proven quite adept at being realistic and open, so “bigger, better, more” is just about the best approach Bohemia could be taking without adding laser horses. The pitch-black night combat, especially, seems rife with potential for both tactical sneaking and all-out unpredictable chaos. Vehicular stuff, meanwhile, looks nice enough, but I wish we got to see more than just ground-bound options. And oh my, diving seems like it’ll open up all sorts of new possibilities – especially in terms of getting the drop on enemies or, failing that, tremendously changing the pace and range of combat.

Admittedly, this footage is mostly focused on nuts-and-bolts technical improvements, so Bohemia’s still saving its biggest guns (which will, in all likelihood, take the form of, you know, big guns) for later. I can’t wait to see a larger skirmish combining a bunch of these elements, though. If it all comes together well, I think ARMA III stands to be pretty damn special. Well, assuming the engine holds up – and, based on the brief snippet of the E3 demo I got to go hands-on with, I have very little reason to assume it won’t.


  1. Anthile says:

    Obligatory: link to

    • Orija says:

      That brought back memories. There was a time when I thought that cartoon was more badass than a lightsaber wielding Chuck Norris riding a T-Rex. Those were the days.

    • grundus says:

      Ace McCloud is the young Captain Murphy, I’m sure of it.

      Otherwise: Fuck yes Arma III, can’t wait.

    • MistyMike says:

      Sorry if you’re nostalgic for this, but it’s a horrible G.I. Joe rip-off with none of its charm.

  2. caljohnston says:

    As always, the main enemy in ArmA won’t be the virtual soldiers, but BIS’ bad code and scripting.

    • SteamTrout says:

      Skyrim/Bethesda can get away with it so why not BIS?

      • Screamer says:

        But that’s only because it involved a bucket!

        • SteamTrout says:

          We need to suggest buckets to BIS as their silver bullet to all scripting bugs. Heck, maybe even introduce actual silver bullets for the inevitable vampire DLC.

          …looking forward to Tank Armor DLC for ArmA3. Dress your tanks in the most exquisite of anti-missile protections.

    • Lhowon says:

      While I hardly expect A3 to be flawless in those respects, I do think there’s reason to hope that it will be considerably better than A2. The impressive and continuing support BI is giving through beta patches has dramatically improved A2, and those improvements should be incorporated into A3.

      There’s also the Community Alpha (new for ArmA III) which should very quickly alert BI to the obvious problems, given that the community will devour it whole.

      We shall have to see though!

      • caljohnston says:

        Kind of like the issue of infantry firing their small arms at APCs in the video?

        We’ve been alerting BIS to these “issues” for over a decade. BIS has a bugtracker (which an odd thing for a commercial and closed-source software to have but whatever), where all these “issues” are meticulously cataloged, demonstrated and debated.

        BIS has not cared so far. The only way they will ever care about making functioning products is if we the community stop downplaying their laziness and incompetence and starting demanding that they do quality control and fix the core issues that have been plaguing their games since OFP.

        I seriously don’t understand all these people who say ArmA is fine or that they’re optimistic for ArmA 3. You’re actively making the game worse by telling BIS that you don’t care about how broken it is!!!

        • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

          ArmA has that “Microsoft Flight Sim” feel – every new version doesn’t actually add functionality, makes things marginally prettier, and adds dense, performance crippling layers of complexity to a dated engine that’s had stuff tacked on to it rather than being written from the ground up to do its job. I recently had a go at OFP again – one of my favourite games, ever – and was struck by how little you can do in ArmA2 that you can’t do in OFP, despite the fact that my PC (Phenom II X4 965, 8gb DDR3, HD4890) can’t play through a mission with the ARPS lot without crawling along at 10fps for a good portion of it (apparently this is relatively normal – I’d call it unacceptable).

          Making excuses like “Ooh it’s very ambitious” doesn’t help. Firstly ArmA2 hasn’t actually added a lot to OFP, but more than that if it doesn’t run on anyone’s PC then BIS’ “ambition” has outreached their grasp. I may as well hold up a DVD and claim “This has the most amazing game on it ever, it’s like Syndicate and Deus Ex and Manic Miner and Elite and Doom and Sim City all rolled in to one! Oh by the way it’s only compatible with a mysterious ‘future PC’ so you can’t play it, but it’s great!” “Oh, well, it doesn’t work on my PC, but it’s so ambitious!”

          BIS can’t code. Hopefully the sales from DayZ will let them hire someone who can.

        • Lhowon says:

          @caljohnston: That’s a ridiculous generalisation. BIS has fixed countless problems, just because some of the things that especially annoy you haven’t been fixed (and I would likely share your annoyance) doesn’t mean BIS doesn’t care, much less that their products aren’t “functioning”. Compare A2 on release to A2 now: you simply can’t say that BIS haven’t fixed “core issues”.

          Every ArmA game ever is going to have outstanding issues – it’s pretty much impossible for that not to be the case – the real question is how polished and playable it is despite that. Previous ArmA games have been pretty abysmal on release; all I’m saying is that there are some reasons to think A3 might be an improvement in this respect.

          And please, making that claim is not the same as saying ArmA is “fine”. I am hugely critical of ArmA (all of them since OFP) and in no way give BIS a free pass.

          • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

            I’d go with “BIS don’t care” as being clearly unfair – you can see in the patches that they work hard on issues brought up by the community, strive to do stuff to make all the modding bits easier, updating and supporting an eleven year old game in OFP, etc etc. They do care, they’re just not doing a very good job at fixing things/adding things/developing things/coding things/releasing things.

            Their good intentions don’t make ArmA2 any more playable, regrettably.

        • AlphaCentauri says:

          “infantry firing their small arms at APCs in the video?”

          Quick FYI; That’s not an APC in the video, it’s a car. The future version of a Humvee, basicly.

      • SteamTrout says:

        I think the re-ignited activity of developing a beta patch is very much related to the success of DayZ. And that success may allow them to improve their QA process due to added revenue.

    • dee says:

      It’s a bit early to say this? Of course it’ll have bugs, the scope of the game makes it pretty inevitable.

      I didn’t hear anything too bad about ToH, perhaps their workflow is more robust now.

      • soldant says:

        ToH had a few scripting bugs, but you’re right by and large in terms of the campaign it wasn’t outright broken or unplayable. But ToH is a lot simpler than any of the ARMA games with fairly limited AI involvement; the AI mostly play the part of background scenery or puppets, and in the few cases where they’re required to do something important it’s fairly simple and by and large the player is running the show. But the engine, being the same as the one used in ARMA2 (or some hybrid) was still terrible and ran like an absolute dog on release.

        Meanwhile, every single ARMA game has been broken on release. OpFlash was broken on release. ARMA was broken (quite severely if you had the very first release I might add). ARMA2 was sort of functional but the campaign was broken and it ran terribly. OA wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the others, but it’s an expansion… and the campaign still tended to randomly break at certain points. Really, the DLC are the only ones that had issue-free releases, and they’re just bits of DLC. I see absolutely zero reason to believe ARMA3 will suddenly change all of this. I predict the campaign will be broken on release, it’ll run at 5FPS on pretty much everything (except an 8800GT, where it’ll run at 40FPS for some absurd reason), the AI will still be terrible, and people will shelve it for a while until 10 patches land. But I’ll still buy it, because absolutely nothing compares to it.

  3. Screamer says:

    That vehicle seems to be floating, or are there only shadows at night time? :P

  4. Mr. Mister says:

    I secretly desired for ARMA III to take place in Panau Island. Just imagine it: SO many bases…

  5. Gap Gen says:

    “ARMA III: All Bears” is a game I’d play.

    • Harlander says:

      What’s all this bears nonsense about? It was all over tactues as well…

  6. sneetch says:

    That first video is not the British weather edition that would require showing amphibious vehicles acting amphibiously.

  7. Moni says:

    If only there was a goat-herd simulation system, then you could make an army of suicidal goats with explosives strapped to them, imagine that.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      You can mount .50cals on cows in ArmA2, there’s probably a way to make suicide goats.

  8. Chaz says:

    That looked very cool. All we need now is for someone to mod in some rally cars upon release, chuck in some wheel support and we’ll be sorted.

    • Wisq says:

      The series has had wheel support since the OpFlash days. That’s mainly just because they support binding pretty much anything to anything, so wheel axes just need to be bound appropriately.

      I used to hook up my old wheel whenever my favourite server played a particular map, which was a race (in civilian cars) down the length of the island. Not hugely fast, but full of fun, especially when people broke their cars and started shooting other drivers to take theirs. :)

      • Chaz says:

        I think I remember that one. Just finishing the race was half the challenge most of the time.

    • dsi1 says:

      Man now I really want race servers.

  9. Iskariot says:

    I love this. The under water ops and night ops are very very cool. They are really doing something new and interesting. This ads incredible refinement and depth to shooter game play.
    And I love the attachment/modding system.

  10. Tommo says:

    I’m so excited for Arma3 but as a professional scuba diver the last thing i want to do is go scuba diving in a game.

  11. Ultra Superior says:

    Watching these videos is bit like watching documentary about reinventing the wheel.

  12. airtekh says:

    Up until a while ago Arma 3 wasn’t even on my radar, but ever since I bought Arma 2:CO and joined ARPS’s Tactical Tuesday sessions, I’ve become quite excited about it. I’ll probably have to build a whole new computer to run it though.

    It’s odd that I initally bought Arma 2 to play Day Z, but I’ve ended up playing way more of the base game instead.

    • Dominic White says:

      Day Z is still very early in production. It’s likely going to become an official addon/module for Arma 3, which seems to have a far more robust engine. Everyone wins.

  13. Kong says:

    I love/hate the game from Flashpoint to ARMA 2. Last month I thrashed my keyboard again. Do not go prone in grass, burn it. The enemy can see me. It sees me, can I see it? Everyone a sniper except me. ARMA 3? The horror, can hardly wait.

  14. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Dear BIS guys reading this.

    Don’t listen to the haters. I love ArmA 2. IT IS THE GREATEST THING IN GAMING. I love the clunky menus, the shit your pants moments of hilarity that ensue after a glorious bug.
    I love everything.

    If you just make it as good as ArmA 2, I will sleep with you.

  15. Ciber says:

    Great graphics? The vehicle in the first screenshot has no shadow.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      When they turned the shadows on, the CPU started going backwards.

  16. Jupiah says:

    Something I’ve been wondering for a bit now. I’ve never played any Arma games before, but everything I here about them says they are all about REALISM, REALISM, REALISM. If that’s the case, then why does the game have an optional third person camera view? Having a viewpoint 5 meters behind your actual head that lets you see around corners and cover without having to expose yourself isn’t very realistic.

    • Unaco says:

      The games aren’t about REALISM, REALISM, REALISM, really. More about immersion. A 3rd person view is a decent compromise for things like proprioception, kinesthesia, very fine muscle control etc. that can’t really be simulated.

      • Jupiah says:

        That is a good point. Unless you’ve got an expensive eyefinity setup with a ridiculously wide screen resolution first person view also can’t simulate peripheral vision at all, while third person can but at the cost of letting you see things outside of your direct line of sight.

        Actually, I wonder how difficult something like that would be to implement? Third person view but blur out anything that is outside of your character’s direct line of sight, I mean. I would probably look kind of weird, especially when you’re crouched behind a chest high wall, but it would be a great compromise between the two standard points of view.

        • Stromko says:

          Ugh, please no. The only reason I play ARMA II in third person is that it shuts off the motion blur and weird periphereal vision effects that kill my immersion (and ability to play without being sick) more than 3rd person POV.

          Turning off all the post-processing turns off the blurriness, I believe, but then the game looks quite ugly.

          • dsi1 says:

            Sounds like you need to turn off blur (that’s all post processing does) and turn up the difficulty level.

          • Latterman says:

            google “@okt_noblur”; the addon disables motion blur while keeping post proce. intact

    • Shooop says:

      They understand there’s limits to how much realism you can put into a computer game before you need a virtual reality headset and a series of treadmills.

    • Wisq says:

      They’ve always had third person camera as a toggleable difficulty setting. It’s mainly useful for vehicles — the interior view is a lot more limiting since you can’t easily turn around in most cases.

      By default, there’s two difficulty levels, “cadet” and “veteran”, and third person camera is disabled in veteran mode. So are a lot of other things: vehicles and people are realistically fragile, you don’t have crosshairs (need to use the iron sights or just guess), you don’t have a pointer on the map (need to orienteer on your own), etc. You can individually adjust all of these.

      In multiplayer, the server admin defines what each difficulty level entails, and choosing the level is done (server-wide) at map selection time.

      Most of these come down to “how hardcore do you want to sim today?” Or essentially, adjusting the learning curve to your own tastes, rather than throwing everyone (and thus, their chances of financial success) into the deep end.

      • Jupiah says:

        Ah, so it’s only allowed at the lower difficulty settings. That’s really clever actually. For most games difficulty only changes the damage you deal and take to/from enemies, and maybe how much ammo/enemies you encounter. Making higher difficulties increase simulation, remove unrealistic HUD elements and increase learning curve, that I’ve never seen before.

        I kind of want to buy the game now. Hopefully Steam will discount it in their summer sale.

        • Shooop says:

          The Combined Operations pack which includes the expansion Operation Arrowhead is only $30 right now. For the sheer amount of game you get, that’s a great price.

          If you look around I’m sure you can find it for less too.

          • sparks50 says:

            Steam and non steam version of CO is available for $25 at

  17. Shooop says:

    Looking absolutely amazing as usual, but how’s it playing?

  18. Skabooga says:

    Finally, I’ll be able to recreate the underwater battle scene from Thunderball!

  19. smeaa mario says:

    Mind blown…

  20. RegisteredUser says:

    Sure, sure, but….what about the walking dead!!!!!!