All good things must come to an end, and the Arma 3 Alpha is pretty good (Steam says I’ve played it for a healthy 36 hours). If you’re still considering buying it, you only have one more day left to buy it at the alpha price of €24.99, £19.99, $32.99. Tomorrow the Alpha fades out, like a flare sputtering its last embers of warning light, and the beta replaces it. It has more official content: 10 vehicles, 7 weapons, more showcase missions (Combined Arms, Supports, Commanding & Night), 2 multiplayer scenarios and 4 challenges, and with it comes a base price of €34.99, £29.99, and $44.99. Think of it as a military upgrade, or a nice new pair of trousers.
The showcases include a new night mission, a look at the command mode, and a giant combined arms battle that uses some of the new hardware they’re shipping. They’re still only giving us Stratis, though, so the full game’s Altis remains tantalisingly out of reach for now. It’s also missing the Steam Workshop integration. When that eventually ships, players will be able to upload missions directly from the game’s editor to the Steam Workshop for others to test. That’s a big win for casual players looking for more content. If you already have the alpha and you’re impatient, a little bird tells me all you need to do is right click the game on your Steam Library, select ‘properties’ then ‘betas’. If you opt into the development build there, the game will update.
Just before E3, the Bohemia team streamed the game from their offices. I watched one live, and can now appreciate the level of calm the developers had when their attached chatroom was flooded with ASCII penises. You can enjoy the two hours below, shorn of all winkies.