Beyond The Alpha: Have Fun In Arma 3

One. Is Looking. For Something. To. Do. Over!
The scenario: you have the Arma 3 Alpha and you’ve exhausted the stock missions the game comes with. You’re also rubbish with the editor, and you don’t live with someone Arma Arm Armasson, who can show you what to do with it. Don’t worry. There’s no such person, so you’re not missing out on his sage wisdom. And Arma 3 is pretty easy to have fun with. Here’s what people have been up to

Dying a lot in Wasteland.

Preparation: All you need to do is look at the multiplayer browser and join a server

Stratis isn’t quite big enough or ugly enough for that whole post-apocalyptic feel, but Wasteland is a tough, compelling, multiplayer mission that’ll have you suspicious of all human contact. It’s a game of survival across the whole island: you spawn with the choice BLUFOR, OPFOR, or Independent. The first two are extended teams, so joining them places you in their brotherhood. You’re forbidden to kill team mates. Independents are a law into themselves. Supplies like weapons, ammo, and medical supplies are grabbed from vehicles or NPC traders. The game spawns missions for you to take part in, like getting to a chopper and repairing it, with the obvious boon being you now have a chopper. It’s a bit like DayZ lite.

Playing in Chernarus
Preparation: You need to own previous Armas, and be able to cut and paste.

The best thing about a company that has a community relationship like Bohemia is they understand their legacy. Arma 3 is really just a name given to a codebase stretching back over a decade, and it shares so much with Arma 2 that it’s possible to simply grab a bunch of content and drag it over. It won’t work perfectly, but the fans are working on that.

Flying more choppers.

Preparation: You need to own Take On Helicopters and be able to cut and paste.

Much the same as Chernarus, if you own Take On Helicopters, you can easily import the choppers into the Arma 3.The softly spoken explanatory video below will lull you into such a relaxed state that you might do it without even realising. It will also make you want to buy rudder pedals and a TrackIR. It looks like they use the Arma 3 flight model, so you won’t instantly crash.

Messing with the 3D mission editor.

Arma 3’s editor is as complicated as you need it to be, but there are still people who struggle with mapping and not seeing what they’ve actually placed. There is a hacky solution that will enable the hidden 3D editor, so you can zoom around the live world map, placing objects and seeing how things line-up in the game world. In your “Documents\Arma 3 Alpha\YOURNAME\missions\” folder do the following.

– Create “3d.stratis” folder
– Create text file inside the new folder
– Rename text file “mission.biedi”
– Create shortcut of “arma3.exe”
– Go to the Target field of the new shortcut and insert the address of your mission.biedi file
– Launch via the new shortcut

Voila! There are more detailed instructions here if you want to go further down the rabbithole, but check out what you can do with a few tweaks.

Going for a walk.

Preparation: just own the game.

This doesn’t even need any mods. Simply plop a civilian character down in the editor, hit the preview button and pretend to be a tourist. If you haven’t added any army types, you won’t be troubled by stray bullets or ugly warfaces. There’s a good reason for this, though: when you’re in a mission that’s been prompted by the editor, if you press ‘Esc’ and then ‘F1’, you’ll pop up a UI. Click camera and you’re given numpad and mouse controlled camera to play with. Hit ‘Q’ and ‘A’ to ascend and descend, and ‘L’ to get rid of the cross hair and you can take lovely, uncluttered screenshots. The editor will also let you change the weather settings.

I didn’t even touch on some of the custom SP or co-op missions, because I’ve not had a chance to play those much. If you have any suggestions, I obviously encourage you to share them below. Because I am nice.


  1. Shooop says:

    So what you’re saying with the Helicopter mod one is we can actually fly the helicopters now? Instead of struggling for 2 minutes and crashing?

    I want this game.

    • meloncrab says:

      ARMA3 already uses the flight model (or maybe a derivative) of Take on Helicopters. Maybe the specific properties of the imported helicopters may make flying easier. But from my limited experience with the alpha so far, flying already seemed easier and more intuitive than in ARMA2. But I also think it might have to do something with the difficulty settings you can adjust in the options menu, which I haven’t explored too much, yet may also incorporate changes to the difficulties of the flight model. If you want an Alpha Lite invite, message me on steam. You won’t be able to mod or play with other people, though.

      • Craig Pearson says:

        Yup. Even I can fly, and I’m the worst.

      • Chickenfeed says:

        Minor correction: Arma 3 WILL use the Take on Helicopters flight mechanics, but it isn’t implemented yet (It may be partially implemented, but I dunno). Same as helmets and body armour providing protection.

        • meloncrab says:

          re body armor: I’ve watched this video: link to where it seems as if protection was already in.

          • Chickenfeed says:

            Huh, interesting. I heard it (Well, read it) from a BI dev. Perhaps it isn’t ‘finished’, it seems pretty inconsistant, for me atleast. I dunno, but I’m 90% sure the TOH flight mechanics arn’t in yet.

      • pendergraft says:

        That’s terrible news! This is going to be like transitioning from Desert Combat’s arcane helicoptering system to Battlefield Vietnam’s user friendly, nigh-impossible to crash controls. Suddenly the queue for helicopters has gone up, and their respawn rate has gone down since no longer are people immediately fishtailing them into the nearest control tower. And more smug grumbling.

        • Tei says:

          desert combat was the perfect balance usability with simulation. :(

        • P.Funk says:

          Don’t worry, I’m sure ACE can make anything and everything you want harder. ;)

    • Gap Gen says:

      My general assumption is that if I’m bad at something in ArmA, it’s usually my fault for being awful.

      • Arkh says:

        And that’s usually true regarding the Arma series. I am able to pilot a helicopter in Arma 2, mostly thanks to the EW mini campaign (which is amazing, by the way), but I was never able to pilot and shoot with the damn thing. Same thing for jets, I wonder how someone can hit anything in the ground with it.

        • soldant says:

          Not that I claim to be any great expert, but being able to hit things (i.e. with cannon or whatever, I assume you don’t mean guided missiles) relies primarily on setting yourself up properly for an attack, giving yourself enough altitude and time to enter a shallow dive sufficient to hit the target and letting you pull up afterwards.

        • Durkonkell says:

          The strange thing is that I used to be a pretty fair helicopter pilot in Operation Flashpoint, but I just couldn’t fly in the ArmA series. Kept crashing or getting shot down because I had to fly five hundred meters above the ground to avoid crashing. Couldn’t land without auto-hover.

          I didn’t play for ages, and then probably a year or so later I loaded the game up, jumped into a helicopter and could fly perfectly well. It wasn’t practice or learning things from other games, I couldn’t fly and then later I suddenly could. I’ve not really had that happen in other games.

          Incidentally, I love ArmA 3’s KA-60. If they do implement Take On Helicopters’ flight model I’ll probably be back to crashing into things again.

  2. SuperNashwanPower says:

    “One is looking for something to do. Over”
    “Shave your fucking arms. Over”

  3. MajorManiac says:

    The Chernarus map looks really nice and runs smoothly. Can’t wait to see what Isla Duala and Fallujah look like.

    • JB says:

      Ooooooh, Fallujah.

    • El_MUERkO says:

      I was thinking the same about Fallujah, it was hampered by the old engine but as the new one gets more optimised it could make for a great ACE experience.

  4. CaLe says:

    I bought the game and joined a server without having any idea what I should do. I ended up running… a lot. I should have just bought Marathon Simulator 2013. Joking aside, this post is exactly what I needed, thank you.

  5. Njordsk says:

    I hope they’ll implement solo custom mission soon, lauching them through MP isn’t very trivial.

    • dogoncrook says:

      If you use the dev version the sp folder should work now.

  6. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Ooh, thanks for this, Mr. Sexington.

    I’ve barely had time to dig into the alpha yet, so you’ve given me a headstart on things to look into when I have the spare time.

  7. El_MUERkO says:

    Looking forward to playing Wasteland on the DayZ standalone map in the ARMA3 engine in a few months, should be the perfect setting for the game mode :)

  8. phelix says:

    Steam Workshop for custom missions would seem a great addition.

  9. norfolk says:

    If anyone has some of those limited invites, I’d be ever so grateful…

    link to

    • Craig Pearson says:

      I have one. I’ll add you on Steam.

    • Synesthesia says:

      I havent given any out yet, but i got some too. I’ll give away 2 to you guys! Just yell and i’ll send them to you as soon as i get back home.

      • Boarnoah says:

        Getting an invite would be lovely =)

        link to

      • Phelioz says:

        It would be so nice if you could give the other one to me, thank you if you do :) link to

      • Lolmasaurus says:

        Speaking of which, I have 3, and my friends are all plebs who don’t want them. So there’re those going to a good home.

        • tigershuffle says:

          *jumps up and down with hand in air*
          Yes please! if you have one going spare….. Steam id is tigershuffle

          thank you ……hope to see you in the naafi

        • dontnormally says:

          I would be ever so grateful, as well!
          link to

          • gmcseph says:

            I’ve got one going spare – I’ll send it over if you haven’t got one yet?

        • okbear says:

          I would be incredibly grateful if any of you were able to spare one for me. I am Mikeyokbear on Steam.

          Although I have used Steam for years I still don’t have many friends on there so feel free to add me as well :)

      • WatImaGoat says:

        It would be great if i could get one, if anyone has any left. Steam name is watimagoat

  10. EmirSc says:

    I’m loving it

    [McDonald’s strike DMCA] please remove this comment.

  11. Panda Powered says:

    Where can I buy XP boosts? I’ve been told that I love that stuff.
    Is there at least some way to unlock some faster sniper rifles? Preferably something expensive gold coloured.
    I also want to quicknoscope some newbs with my skillability and question their sexual orientation.

    • Chickenfeed says:

      Gold camo and XP bonus is only available if you prepurchase the season pass prepurchase page.

      • Panda Powered says:

        Thanks for the info! :)
        I hope their marketing team will saturate the media with that info or people like me will miss out. My attention span is getting shorter by the minute.
        Also, I hope there will be lots of zombie modes and mods. Preferably Co-op Nazi Zombies. That’s the next generation Capture The Flag.

  12. Thurgret says:

    It’s bloomin’ difficult to find decently-populated sessions which aren’t Wasteland, and I have no interest in Wasteland. Bah.

    • jonfitt says:

      That’s been my experience. I updated to the dev build because I thought that alpha peeps would gravitate there, but there are even less servers to choose from.

      • DXN says:

        For me at least, the big strength of Arma is its regular communities — ShackTac being the obvious example, and RPS’s own Folk ARPS. Playing on random pub servers can sometimes be okay, but it doesn’t compare to an organised session, which is really what the game/engine is designed for.

        There’s also about a million amateur-made single-player (or small-numbers co-op) missions and campaigns on Armaholic, some of which are surprisingly high-quality and substantial, if you don’t mind almost universally terrible voice-acting and cutscene direction, and if you can be bothered to sift through to find them. Oh, and also to wrestle with modfolders and/or Six Updater, if the campaigns require extra addons (many don’t, mind you). So yeah, definitely a hassle, but worth it if you want to really get the most out of the game.

        (All this is based on Arma 2, but Arma 3 is so compatible with A2 that all or most of the content and communities will be ported over very soon).

        • DXN says:

          And for other Arma groups: United Operations is also a pretty big, but they’re pretty hardcore into the realism/milsim side of things so it depends on whether that’s your bag. Comrades in Arms is a more US-focussed group who Folk ARPS have done a couple of very fun joint sessions with. I think Tactical Gamer is also quite active too. Oh, and there’s the Reddit folk, and possibly some on Something Awful. I won’t link to all these and risk enraging the spam-guardians, but they’re easily googleable. I daresay there’s a few out there I’ve missed… not sure how many of these are active:

          link to
          link to

    • soulis6 says:

      Check out some severs running Blitzkrieg, I think that’s the only good solid non-Coop MP mode that actually has objectives to capture, and promotes teamwork and coordination. The only downside is there’s a lot of maps for it, and the tiny ones with no vehicles get a bit too spammy for my taste, with the short distances. But on the larger maps I’ve seen it really shine, with whole teams travelling together to attack objectives and good communication, basically exactly what I imagined when I thought of ArmA multiplayer.

      As a side note, i don’t understand why anyone plays Wasteland at all, let alone why there’s so many servers running it. It seemed like a random, boring DayZ wannabe when i tried it, except without any zombies. All I found was spawn-killing and people running around shooting each other with no interaction with teammates.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Like any Arma mode it’s better with a group of friends or on a whitelisted server with a group of regularsy.
        Building bases/checkpoints doing the missions and screwing with the other teams is what’s great about it.
        Me and my group of friends have had a blast playing I44 Wasteland and normal Wasteland on Arma 2 plenty of times.
        Though this small map does feel a bit cramped for it.

        • Thurgret says:

          Yeah, to clarify, I’m playing with RL buddies, and haven’t really looked for organised servers yet — partly since we do it on a really sporadic, casual basis, and I’ve not yet gone sifting for groups which allow random folks to just ask for access without, I dunno, at least showing up once a week.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Dunno if they have Arma 3 servers up yet, but Zero Survival & Billy Mays Remembrance Foundation host some good whitelisted servers that all you need to do is register on their sites to get whitelisted.
            There was also some whitelisted RPS related servers as well iirc, I remember a Rock Paper Zombie for DayZ for starters.

    • FullMetalJacket says:

      Our Australian based gaming league has ArmA 3 (we do not run wasteland map) servers but we have been forced to make these private due to the poor behaviour when left open to the public. Hit me up on steam for our teamspeak and server details if you need a server to play on and don’t have the maturity of a 5 year old.

  13. P.Funk says:

    Basically this article shows you why consoles suck a hairy asshole. You just couldn’t waste time in a console game the way you can in a PC game.

    Incidentally anybody who wants regular and solid Arma 3 online play should check out the regular communities through Arma 2 portals. Frankly, random matchmaking in Arma has never been good. It requires way too much coordination and communication to be done with complete randoms. Anybody who tries to play it like a hosted session of COD will inevitably be disappointed.

  14. Vancer2 says:

    I loved the Arma series Never could get into the DayZ mod tho. Though if someone has an invite that would be lovely :]

    link to