Scanning the Horizon
Welcome to 2023! The time is now upon us to take stock of where we've been and where we're going. But before we do, we'd like to revisit our last big release, Arma Reforger, and go over what it was we hoped to achieve with this important title.
This is our first milestone on the 'Road to Arma 4.' Our aim was to prepare the way for Arma 4 and meet many technical and creative challenges head-on, while showcasing our achievements and sharing a standalone Arma experience.
Arma Reforger was, and still is, a collaborative endeavor – an opportunity to shape the future together. It's also a chance to course correct and to explore, to iterate and make major changes based on your feedback.
Aside from the game, we've also released a suite of exciting new Workbench tools to introduce modders to our brand new Enfusion engine. Part of this vision was to make Arma Reforger a reliable platform. But it has also served to empower you, our community.
The Journey So Far
Last year, we began our journey from the beginning. This was necessary as we had nowhere else to start.
Although we have a lot of knowledge and experience, we could not rely on old technology. We reached the limits of the Real Virtuality 4 engine with Arma 3, and it's time now to embrace the era of Enfusion. In many ways, 2022 was about building a solid foundation. It was also about taking a giant step towards technologically unifying our approach to making games. Our aim is to make the Arma franchise a multiplatform one, which is no small task! That being said, we launched Arma Reforger successfully on Xbox and learned an awful lot in doing so!
Though limited in scope in terms of assets, it is, in fact, a very complex project. There are big questions we really need to answer for Arma 4. With Arma Reforger, we've gained many valuable insights and tackled important things such as gameplay mechanics, modding tools, backend services, multiplayer scenarios, and new terrains, all created with new workflows and pipelines. It's been a challenge for all of us, especially in terms of organization. As you can imagine, we've discovered a lot of moving parts, and it's no exaggeration to say this might be the most ambitious undertaking we have ever attempted as a studio.
Still, we're very pleased with some of our recent successes. For one, our Workshop technology is working well. This has been a great success, especially because replacing the Steam Workshop with our own technology was a big risk. Arma Reforger is the first open-world tactical shooter game to support both crossplay and user-generated content, as well as community server hosting and our very own, in-house development tools. Obviously, this bodes very well for Arma 4, and we're looking forward to redeploying and extending these features in the future.
Of course, we have a long way to go. But it's encouraging to see your modded content. There are already some ambitious and exciting additions to the game's sandbox; all good signs that we're moving in the right direction!
Updates, Community Content, and Tutorials
We released numerous updates throughout the year that enhanced and fixed the state of the game. These included Minor Updates, as well as our first Major Update 0.9.6 and our stable and Milestone Update, Ground Support.
We started to release Dev Reports, which discuss our ongoing development plans, strategy, and additions. We will continue to inform you about the progress of our development as we did before. Matters that can be interesting or impactful to the community will also be addressed.
Our Community Radar (COMRAD) serves as a showroom for all the amazing community art and creative contributions we see every day. The sheer number and quality of the artwork, videos, mods, and overall content is astonishing. We are looking forward to another year of unique creations.
#ArmaReforger #COMRAD #7!📡— Arma Platform (@ArmaPlatform) January 5, 2023
A new year brings a new set of splendid community content for players to admire. See what's new in the latest edition of our Community Radar.
Discover more here 👇https://t.co/hHttrLPSpH pic.twitter.com/7rLFVniYSH
Starting with Cinematic & VFX Tutorial, we started to release tutorials for you to learn from and create new things with. We have also continued to embellish our Terrain Guide, explaining how to create terrains, step-by-step, in fantastic detail. Finally, we also released an Audio Editor Tutorial to guide you. We will continue bringing you tutorials and documentation because we understand the value it brings to modders and players alike.
Bumps in the Road
Arma Reforger is a complex project with a completely different level of intricacy compared to previous Arma titles. At the same time, it is the most compact Arma project - it includes its own backend solution, Workshop, modern toolset, etc. The game itself is being developed from scratch, in tangent with all supporting technologies, all at once. In addition to that, it’s a community-based, collaborative endeavor. That’s the main reason we decided to release it in Early Access and share the progress with you as soon as possible. We needed to start making decisions based on the evaluation of your feedback and our own analytics. And not just for issues relating to gameplay – we had to know about everything that related to the game. Unfortunately, no matter how good our intentions were, the game was not up to our technical standards on release – which has caused a lot of justified disappointment. We hope the toughest period of development is behind us. We've gathered a lot of your feedback during the last half of the year, and this has massively benefited development. It has changed our priorities, processes, and even the release strategy. Currently, the player base is rising, issues are being resolved, and we are adding more and more features, so we're on track and making excellent progress. We are going to make the foundation of Arma 4 strong. Together.
Gathering Community Feedback
Arma Reforger was released in Early Access with some needed fixes, as well as hopes for immediate feedback, which we could use to resolve some known issues. Going further without constructive input would have been less than ideal. After the launch in May, you will remember that we immediately began an intensive cycle of collecting bug reports, fixes, and stable build updates. This will continue through 2023.
Now, we are making major progress and are gradually reorienting ourselves toward our milestones. That means responding to your call for more sandbox assets!
As always, your feedback has been incredibly valuable. Thank you!
We'd also like to extend our thanks to all of you who have contributed to our Arma platforms. We've seen a wonderful level of engagement – not only with the pragmatic messages aimed at us but with friendly posts shared for the benefit of others. There are a lot of modding and troubleshooting discussions that newcomers to the Arma series have found helpful. It's genuinely inspiring to see our community learning and growing together with our veterans, sharing their expertise!
The Future of Arma
To minimize the risk of introducing new bugs, we are first focusing our efforts on testing. This has to be our number one priority. Only once we're on top of this can we dedicate ourselves to adding new content. But make no mistake, we are committed to everything on our Roadmap.
In practical terms, this means we will no longer be releasing updates as soon as we possibly can. Instead, we will be adding fewer features more often. In other words, quality over quantity. Or rather, quality and quantity over time. Consequently, Milestone Updates will become development stages. They will deliver new features, fixes, and content quite frequently – just in smaller chunks. Again, we will not be cutting anything we've promised. Quite the contrary! We actually hope to include a few nice surprises here and there, such as assets and features.
But let us once again stress, our main objective is to systematically fix all critical issues in the game. Next to this, we want to fix and improve Arma Reforger's existing features. For Arma 4 to succeed, we have to work from solid foundations – and to ensure we're on good ground, we have to stop and take a breath. Right now, we aren't ready to provide a date for when Arma Reforger will leave Early Access. Obviously, we wish this were not the case and regret having to revise our original schedule. But it's better than a wrong turn. The road ahead is long enough already, and we have to keep our eye on our destination.
Rest assured, every day we're inching a little closer to Arma 4, and throughout 2023 we'll have lots more to share! On behalf of our Arma Reforger team, thank you for your support. There would be no Arma without you, our community.