Armed Assault first impressions by PMC

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Snake_Man

Armed Assault first impressions by PMC

Post by Snake_Man » 2006-11-22, 05:48:50 AM

My computer; AMD XP 2800+, 1gigabyte ram, Radeon 9800 Pro.

I have now been playing Armed Assault (ArmA) for about 6hrs, my first impressions are the damn this is good! ;D

Second impression is that my computer definitely is way too poor to run ArmA with high details. By default ArmA sets the details automatically (at least on first run), they were pretty low but not the completely lowest possible.

The environment  / terrain / island is great, very beautiful landscape. Insects and sounds are very believable. The terrain just feels good.

Sounds are overall ok, but there is no directional stuff in them and for example tank sounds just pop on like instantly. I tried the EAX on and hardware acceleration on and off, same effect. Dunno maybe its my computer/headphones, but old OFP works great on sounds.

The default keys are different, running is some weird double-W, also X and C wont turn you anymore and you cannot shoot weapon from command view (heh not that you'd have to anyways). Space bar no longer cycles weapons, instead its the F key, it cycles waypons and even the rifles single/burst/auto modes, its kind of weird that it does that and also cycles through grenades and smoke grenades for example. The new command menu/option is nice, comes up by pressing down space bar, mouse wheel scroll to issue orders. Quite nice. Has new command stay prone. The keep low has moved to number 9. Also the shole gear has been reworked which takes some time to get familiar. There is rearm button but so far I've not found any use for it.

Mission editor is pretty much the same, but there is some ugly transparency thing on the drop down menus which causes me to see double. Single missions has new mission creation thingy, not completely sure what you can do with it, but at least to move your starting location and targets etc. Its kind of like the mizzion wizard in OFP, but seems much more detailed as you can make mission types; basic, target, defend.

Campaign in the cz version is dubbed and written in cz, its pretty much useless for me except to look nice cutscene and then fight... fight without any reason or objectives heh.

Overall first 6hrs impression is that I cannot get good enough impression before upgrading my computer. YES ArmA does run smooth on my computer (ie no "lag" at all) on the low settings but it looks like crap and therefore it takes away of some of the charm I hate to say. I'm playing it now with 900m viewdistance too.

Ah, back to playing, been writing to forum already too long. More information when I take another ArmA discovery break :)

Snake_Man

Re: Armed Assault first impressions by PMC

Post by Snake_Man » 2006-11-22, 03:44:19 PM

More hours ingame and bit sleep to clear my heads, this is the second round of my thoughts about ArmA.

I guess this goes down bit to the negative side, so as disclaimer I want to say that I love OFP (well you guys who frequent PMC forums already know that) and want so many things from ArmA... but, heh here comes the BUT ;)

But ArmA is so absolutely heavy on my computer, is my rig so damned old already? It runs games okay like hitman blood money, just cause, sid meyers railroads, fifa 07, pacific storm, scarface... but not ArmA. Yeah it runs okay on framerate wise and so on when the details are on Low or Very Low with viewdistance 900m, but for example the textures load pretty bad, sometimes I can even see untextured (white) objects before several seconds of playing time when the textures appear. I mean my computer is old, but come on now?

The good old mission editing method of ALT-ESC during running OFP is very heavy on ArmA, when I go to desktop and use browser (Opera) it becomes like bogged down, the screen scrolling up and down of web pages is like a slide show, however this changed few times to the slideshow and normal, strange. Anyways its very heavy to do this ALT-ESC.

This heavyness also appears on ingame map, press M to check the map and while coming back you get the Loading screen just for a split or second, uh oh. Sometimes even when nighttime I first fire my weapon, the first muzzle flash is just a blurry grey texture and not the muzzle flash itself, second shot then brings up the correct texture. Also I did get few times the menu icons "greyed out" because of textures, same goes for weapons & gear on mission start, my M4 was just blur in the picture and I already thought that is this some weird artistic way to render the pic or what.

The "Users/" directory is saved to C:Documents and Settings<NAME>My DocumentsArmA Other ProfilesSnake%20ManMissions - ehh, for the love of god WHY? I really really do not want to go there to edit my missions. I havent seen any configuration to change this location to <armadir> and I must say that if this really is the case... its going to take huge amount of mental adjustments from me to go browse down that filthy Documents and Settings directory which is on the win partition anyways and might be low on hdd space etc. I very much dont like this configuration.

ArmA crashed on me once. It was after all the textures were set on very low quality, almost missing (yet they werent, Cobra AH-1 was textured correctly, but it was like just tan blueis). Not sure what happened that time. So after testing less than 12hrs of this game, if it crashes on me which OFP hadn't done since 2001... its pretty bad :(

Sounds are pretty bad, people already mentioned in BIS forums about this "all ENGAGE... that, MAN!" thing, but like I noted on first post the tank sounds appear out of nowhere and with huge volume. In one of the missions helicopter started behind a big hill like 500m away at least, it felt like it was hovering 50m above me and I was looking at the sky "where is the helo" like nutcase. Sounds seem like just bugged to me.

The air vehicle controls have been changed dramatically, with long OFP flying experience I just crashed my AH-1 Cobra after very careful flying. I did not investigate the control keys further, but I believe you need some joystic or whatever to control the thing, not sure yaw or what ever its called meaning you cannot do that on stock default keyboard + mouse. This is not a bad thing necessarily, the flight model seems gooky, which is good, helos arent easy to fly in real world I presume.

Overall feelings

Uh hard to say, well I mean feeling is bad, but I want to believe all this negative stuff posted here is because my computer is so old and causes the problems. However I dont think my computer is old is the reason why the Users/ dir is saved to docs&settings, huh.

I really really do not want to put down ArmA, I have almost lost my mind and my finances when I tried to get this game, so the last thing would be on my mind to bash it. It just feels to me like ArmA in this current 1.00.5087 version is rushed to the Czech/Slovakia markets, it still has alot of (and I mean ALOT) of tweaking and engine improvements to do and bugs to fix. I feel that the Czech people have been used as public beta testers and guinea pigs.

I am sad now, I expected a lot from ArmA so perhaps all the waiting and hyping went overboard on my head and I expected gods gift to first person tactical military shooters game... uh maybe its just me, what the hell is my problem, ArmA cannot suck maan? Eh, dunno.

My basic general feeling as of today, less than 24hrs gaming with ArmA is that I happily go back modding and playing OFP v1.96 if this is the real ArmA I'm expriencing. (but yeah my computer is old and yadi yadi I understand all that).

I will continue my testing, perhaps go through the campaign, single missions I already tried, perhaps to do few own missions and then I'll compile some more thoughts. Perhaps I go out bit to clear my head also. I do not want to jump into conclusions.

Stay tuned.

Snake Man
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Posts: 8575
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Gaming Interests: ArmA, ArmA 2, Falcon 4.0 and OFP.
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Post by Snake Man » 2006-12-15, 05:03:53 PM

So now some time has passed, I have played some of the official campaign but decided not to proceed further because the voices are in cz and it would not be enjoyable, only giving spoilers, more that later.

I created our first campaign for it, editing it was difficult as the lame documents and settings directory and changed camera.sqs stuff to mention first. The scripting has changed but since these first missions are small, it wont matter to me at this point. Overall its doable after you get used to browse into the lameness of documents and settings for millionth time while editing.

Here are some quick bits I gathered during this time.
  • - still raining inside buildings.
    - night is dark, nvgoggles effects are improved
    - hmmwv is tricky to steer, turns way too quickly.
    - uses memory in couple of campaign missions I checked 330 and 430mb.
    - crashes often, one time ingame and two times at ALT-ESC when going back. win dialog error.
    - camera.sqs wont save the settings on ctrl key, instead of left mouse button.
    - camera.sqs is saved to C:\Documents and Settings\<USER>\Local Settings\Application Data\ArmA dir.
    - gear (G) doesn't work for team members, how do I equip them (to see what they got)?
As I run it now on minimum details its running ok with the exception of huge loading times compared to OFP, but I guess thats also because of my slow computer and the price we have to pay for graphics whore graphical quality.

In a nutshell right now I'd have to say that my biggest gribe is the documents and settings, did I mention is LAME, yes. Patch v1.01 came and just now 1.02 appeared, things are proceeding quite nicely.
PMC since 1984

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Snake Man
Commander-In-Chief
Posts: 8575
Joined: 2000-07-31, 10:01:01 PM
Gaming Interests: ArmA, ArmA 2, Falcon 4.0 and OFP.
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Location: PMC

Post by Snake Man » 2007-02-18, 12:05:04 PM

Another update for ArmA first impressions now that the 505's EU version has been released.

ArmA in v1.04.5121 has been improved and optimized alot. Now I can even crank it up to 1024x768 resolution in my computer and it runs about good as the lower res before. LOD switching and texture loading has been improved along with the M map view display speed.

Campaign is now in english so we all can understand it, however there are few typos and hyperlink missing bugs. Also seems like the many early missions are just you as rambo against hordes of enemies like 3 bmps and truck loads of infantry, not very realistic in my sense. Overall the campaign doesn't feel like very polished or thought through.

Sounds are still bad, if BMP runs into a mine and explodes other side of a building, you cant hear the explosion sound? That can't be right I mean come on... Also the subsonic bullet crack and gunfire sounds overall is just not right in my book, yes I have not been in real firefight so I mostly base my opinion on stupid hollywood movies and real life firefight footage (being that with good sound or not), so who knows. Yet the sounds are like pacman mickey mouse shit to me.

ALT-ESC which is essential for good editing or just overall software operation still is not working properly. Working properly? What I mean is it still bogs down my computer a bit, as I previously mentioned my Opera browser acts like its a slideshow when ArmA is alt-esc'ed in the background, very weird.

ArmA is much much better now than it was in the Czech release, however its still somewhat getting used to / really a pain. BIS has alot of fixing to do and optimizing before it will be great, alot...
PMC since 1984

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T_Rex
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Post by T_Rex » 2007-09-10, 06:16:36 PM

Any update? :)

I'll be getting ArmA this week sometime. I've now got a:
Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2 GHz
nVidia 7300 256mb
1gb DDR2 (although probably will upgrade this in the next month or so)
Sic Semper tyrannosauro.

Snake Man
Commander-In-Chief
Posts: 8575
Joined: 2000-07-31, 10:01:01 PM
Gaming Interests: ArmA, ArmA 2, Falcon 4.0 and OFP.
Editing Interests: All, I (try) to edit everything.
Location: PMC

Post by Snake Man » 2007-09-10, 09:16:24 PM

Heh T Rex, just today I glanced this topic and thought about updating it, thanks for pushing me to do it heh.

Some points for my first post:
I havent used the new command menu/option at all, just dont find any use for it. New gear is very useful once you get to used to it. Mission editor dont have the transparency anymore, its been fixed. Havent used the new instant mission maker at all, its just too simple and no use for me. Campaign was of course now been fixed and I went it through, I think except the last mission or so.

Notes to second post:
Mission editing with ALT-ESC is past and gone, now we use the great ability to put ArmA on windowed mode, it works and looks great, I have actually played many missions even on this mode which I thought I'd never would do. Its so easy to jump between running ArmA (well, ESC'ed anyways) and your other tasks (torrent, ftp, putty, browser, text file etc tasks). Ingame map heavynes has been fixed, I believe so as I dont find such thing anymore. First blurry muzzle flash has been fixed. Blurry icons are fixed. Users dir can now be setup with -profiles= command, excellent, altough why would we have to do it manually as the default setting from OFP was great. ArmA has never crashed on me now (with latest patches). Sounds have been fixed somewhat, also I now use stock sounds as the modwar sound mod which is excellent, still the distance and "view block" sounding is not right on my book. Now that I have learnt to fly the new flight model, its great and easy to master. The overall bad feeling is gone as much (if not all) of the stuff has been fixed.

Notes on third post:
Editing is very nice with the window mode, also I have learnt the basics of SQF stuff (ie how to use them and some while {} do looping). Havent played much night missions at all, quite strange actually. As said already, no crashing anymore. Users dir as well as camera clipboard texts are now in proper dir. Gear can be used throught the group members locations. Been getting used to the long loading times also, which I believe... have been reduced a bit with the patches (at least it feels like it).

Notes on fourth post:
As said the sound distance and "view block" thing is still difficult to understand.


"First impressions" with v1.08.5163 on September 2007.

And now the basic impression, not first anymore as 4 posts have been already made and how many months ArmA has been out, damn almost one year...

Well ArmA is great, in a nutshell as you can see from the posts/notes above, most if not all my gripes has been fixed in the patches. I still have the same old shitty computer (I have no cash to buy new one yet) so no luck to see ArmA any condition than "very low" heh. I have played some unbelievable missions on it now, especially with CoC CEX being out and some other addons. By coincidence just yesterday I played all day (I kidd you not, ALL GODDAMN DAY) on one mission while editing and testing it, it was just great (with CEX and 51km desert island). I have now completely dropped out from OFP editing because it is just so old technology and its impossible to go back editing it (I finished my OFP history with VTE and few campaign releases), anyways.

The tools have been released just recently and there is no real "new" addons been released so far (I mean "real" new islands or soldier/vehicle models). They are talking about patch v1.09 on the horizon but I have not seen any changelogs except that the dreaded SaveGame bug has now been fixed.

Difficult to put down anything specific here, ArmA rules and thats it. Ok lets think about what bad in ArmA at my view now... hmm, well I really dont have anything that I can complain with crying face, I mean if you got to BIS forums all you see is bitches whining about everything, but I'm cool with ArmA, no big problems. Only thing concerns me is the editing of islands, now it seems (with my very limited knowledge) that with the new satellite texture/layer system we cannot do large (25km or 51km not to mention larger) islands because the file system or developing would be just too much for photoshop/computer and/or editing guy to handle. But I'm not sure about that yet, need to investigate.

Its freaking weird that almost one year has passed, and I still play ArmA on 1024x768 with 1200m viewdistance and low/very low settings, I have gotten used to it and I'm happy with the smooth operation. Imagine my feeling when I get kickass machine and can crank ArmA up to full settings with 5k viewdistance, heh well I've heard horror stories that its not possible yet, but it wasnt with early OFP versions as I recall either.

One last thing, multiplayer... I recently got internet connection that can play MP in some level, but still I havent gotten into MP except few try's with friends, dunno why, I just edit and test those edits rather than play online. Strange to think as my early OFP days were all night LAN sessions and online playing lateron. Maybe its just because my connection wasnt reliable enough so I could invest my time on MP mission editing and the hangaround stuff that comes with it.

Sorry, I Just cant say anything more specific or intelligent than ArmA rules right now (this post already went too far me rambling about "me" than ArmA) ;)
PMC since 1984

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T_Rex
FreeFalcon
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Post by T_Rex » 2007-09-10, 11:11:22 PM

Actually, that's really the information I was looking for. :) I've been to the BIS forums, and ... well... they remind me of old F4 forums a little. ;) (This forum excluded, of course.) :D

I feel the need to take something of a break from Falcon. And the vids of ArmA, and other people I've talked to really sold me on it. I really liked OFP, but didn't have alot of time for it.

Thanks for the update. :thumbs: :)
Sic Semper tyrannosauro.

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