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ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

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  • ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

    As seen on the ArmA forum

    This topic will be covering the upcoming 1.09 patch for ArmA, as experienced by myself and some fellow ShackTac members. I'll post some info and videos and then answer general questions about the patch for anyone who's interested. Bear in mind that I will not do the following:
    a) Post the entire changelog (as it's still WIP)
    b) Get into very fine detail about anything other than VOIP

    With that being said, my impressions of the 1.09 patch at this stage are that it's going to be a very good one for this community. I think the most telling aspect of 1.09 testing is how frequently our players want to "test" it. The amount of depth and fun that is brought on by the enhanced VOIP is incredible - it has been awhile since I have had so much fun, or laughed so hard, as when testing 1.09 VOIP.

    Moving away from the VOIP briefly, I'll touch on a few of the other changes in 1.09 that are particularly significant.

    - Framerate has improved a good deal, especially in North Sahrani.
    - Ballistics have been enhanced.
    - Recoil has been tweaked to be more responsive (you can see this clearly in my videos)
    - Vehicle damage models have been tweaked for better gameplay (more survivable).
    - AI has been improved in several ways (ie: they do not zero in on your so accurately based upon sound, their dispersion is related to their skill more clearly now, and a few other things). The best way to sum it up is that the AI is more fun to play against now.
    - NetStats difficulty option. This allows you to disable the scoreboard during a mission, and see it when the mission actually ends. ShackTac has been running a mod that totally removes the scoreboard for awhile, and this actually ends up being better than that - you prevent people from seeing their scores during the mission, but still allow for the possibility for people to see those scores when the mission has ended.
    - Kill message difficulty option. Another favorite of ours - now, instead of having to use a stringtable mod to disable the death messages, you can disable them server-side.

    There are a bunch of other changes in 1.09 - BIS has been very responsive to suggestions and comments on it. As I said, I'm not going to go into the full changelog. There has to be an element of surprise, after all.

    And now... moving back to VOIP.

    VOIP in 1.09 is amazingly cool. We've been testing it extensively, oftentimes going through five builds in a week, with each one addressing issues noticed and implementing feature requests or tweaks that we've suggested after our test sessions.

    The pride and joy of VOIP for me is that we finally have a "Who's Speaking" indication :love:. You will not see this in the videos (afaik) because it was literally just added, but our initial testing of it has revealed it to be very, very handy. This is set as a server-side difficulty option in case any groups don't think it's "realistic" to have an indication of who's talking over VOIP.

    The indicator works like this:
    - When someone speaks on Direct Speaking (locational chat), their name does not show up. You can hear their voice coming from their body instead.
    - If someone speaks on Global, Side, Group, or Vehicle chat you will see their name display at the bottom of the "chat" bar. When they stop speaking, their name will linger for one second and then disappear. The name is color-coded based on what chat channel they're speaking over - white for global, blue for side, green for group, yellow for vehicle. If more than one person is talking at once, you will have their names appear to the right side of the first speaker, in the order that they started talking. Because of this, you can have many people talking at once and still be able to figure out who's who, while screen real estate is preserved due to the fact that it lists them horizontally instead of vertically.

    Think "Teamspeak Overlay", except integrated into the game by default. It's an awesome feature. :D

    Oh yeah - when you die, you can speak in VOIP with the dead players, without the living players hearing you. The same thing happens with text - dead people's text cannot be seen by the living. Admins can still transmit to all players, though, if they choose.

    Here are some videos of us testing VOIP. Bear in mind that this is obviously prerelease test footage and that there are elements in the behavior of VOIP that are still being tweaked and addressed.

    The first video is a simple "Battle Drill" mission of ours that is meant to train MOUT fighting and movement through urban areas. This mission shines with VOIP - the amount of communication fluidity that is present now due to the VOIP is fantastic. This is the video you should probably check out first - I went through after the mission and subtitled what I was saying, due to the fact that (as is to be expected) my voice was not recorded via FRAPs.
    Hires: http://dslyecxi.com/videos/dec10_voip_mout_bd.wmv
    Lores: http://dslyecxi.com/videos/dec10_voi..._bd_lowres.wmv

    Next up we have a mission where our squad is moving through a forested area to try to locate two captured pilots. My voice isn't subbed one this one, but you can see where I'm talking (due to the VOIP transmit indicator showing up). This is a pretty neat video as well and is fairly typical of our VOIP experiences thus far.
    Hires: http://dslyecxi.com/videos/dec8_voip_Forest.wmv
    Lores: http://dslyecxi.com/videos/dec8_voip_Forest_lores.wmv

    And, finally, some stupid outtakes and such from our testing. Things can't always be serious, after all. If you have sensitive ears or no sense of humor, you might want to avoid these.
    http://dslyecxi.com/videos/dec11_madcows_breakdown.wmv
    http://dslyecxi.com/videos/dec12_lazy_sunday.wmv
    http://dslyecxi.com/videos/dec8_boss_battle_outtake.wmv :rofl:

    Here is some further information I posted at SimHQ which some of you might find interesting:
    Here's how ShackTac will be running TS/ArmA VOIP integration. We do things at the platoon level, but it applies to squad-level procedures as well.

    We will utilize TS for the following:
    - Command chat, using the "Channel Commander" functionality. This will include:
    x. Platoon Commander
    x. Squad Leaders
    x. Leaders of any special elements (ie air, armor, etc)

    - Squad chat. This will be where the entire squad is in the same TS channel. This is to be used for the Squad Leader to communicate to his squad members, or for a squad member to talk to the entire squad. There will be an emphasis on not using this unless you're a squad leader or fireteam leader.

    We will utilize ArmA VOIP for the following:
    - Fireteam chat. Because of how our organization breaks down in mission terms, each "group" is actually a fireteam. Because of this, speaking on the "Group" VOIP channel means that you're talking to just the members of your fireteam. I believe that the SimHQ template you guys use is very similar to this. "Group" chat can be potentially used to maintain control over your fireteam when you're spread particularly thin for whatever reason, or when things are loud enough that you can't rely on the direct-speaking channel. We will be experimenting with this channel a lot to see how best to utilize it in the future.

    - Vehicle chat. The "Vehicle" channel will be used for, you guessed it, vehicle-based chat. This will allow vehicle crews to be much more communicative than they have been able to be in the past, and should really help us out and make certain types of missions a lot more feasible (ie a mission where there are 10+ vehicles on our side) and less of a headache in terms of TS.

    - Direct Speaking. This is the big one. Direct Speaking is used to communicate verbally with anyone around you. This is where we have been restricted with TS - there are only a few ways to organize TS, and we basically have the best compromise possible, with things broken down to the squad level. However, that means you have 14 people in the TS channel for a squad, and since a squad can be distributed over a several hundred meter area in some situations, it can make for confusing communications if everyone is trying to talk (even in moderation). We have restricted a squad TS channel to mostly the SL and FTLs in 1.08, and 1.09 will open it up and allow us to have fireteam members talking as much as they want to anyone around them. This is huge - the significance cannot be emphasized enough.

    Situations that have stood out to me in our recent VOIP test sessions (we do them almost on a daily basis to provide feedback to BIS), with regards to Direct Speaking, are:

    1. Me, as a medic, hearing a burst of gunfire, a burst of return fire, and then, from about 50 meters away, someone shouting "Medic! We need a medic over here!"
    2. Hearing people shout insults back and forth in the darkness of an adversarial mission in between bursts of flare light and exchanges of fire.
    3. A squad advancing on line through some woods takes fire. Up and down the line, you hear people shouting "Contact front!" as everyone goes to ground and dives behind trees. There are a few tense moments, and you can hear people asking "Where's that coming from? Where are they at?". After a second you hear, from further down the line, someone shout "It's a dshka, left side of the road up ahead!". The contact report is repeated verbally up and down the line, the dshka's engaged, and the person who kills the gunner shouts "Dshka down!", followed by that call being verbally passed up and down the line.
    So, there you have it. That's the basic story of 1.09.

    I will try to answer questions to the best of my ability, keeping in mind the caveats made above and my own schedule.

  • #2
    Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

    Oh, you crazy ArmAholics!;)
    playing off the TG server feels like we're playing 2142 on easy mode~Fehmart

    I'm going to close my eyes until it's over~Experiment, commenting on my driving

    "Get it up quickly and beat it hard."~Jonan
    I don't get a bonus DVD? My life has lost all meaning.~Zoopy_T

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    • #3
      Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

      Great Write up Dslyex.... and it's good to hear the VOIP is performing so well...
      |TG|ARMA Pathfinder
      ..now where did I put my keys?

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      • #4
        Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

        Thx for the info D. ;)
        Magnum |TG-18th|


        We stand between chaos and order, evil and good, despair and hope - we are the Thin Blue Line, and we will never be broken.

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        • #5
          Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

          I must say that sounds truly spectacular, it will add so much to the immersion of the game.

          I'm sure everyone asks this, and that you may not know, but is there a rough release date for the patch?
          "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, sweat and tears"




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          • #6
            Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

            Originally posted by GinSoakedBoy View Post
            I'm sure everyone asks this, and that you may not know, but is there a rough release date for the patch?
            :x

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            • #7
              Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

              The VOIP sounds like a gift from God. No need for TS overlay..yay!. The direct chat will revolutionize the game. The name identifier is also great for the broader channels. I cannot express my join of the dead vs living divide in chat and VOIP. The immersion level will jump. After the explosion, you start calling to your squad and get nothing but silence...priceless.
              |TG-12th| tHa_KhAn

              XBL GT: Khan58

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              • #8
                Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

                Aww, but I expected not to be told. I've watched the videos and they are really good. I have one question, if someone talks over the 'side' channel and you are near them, do you hear them over the side channel, and direct talk channel also as you're near them?

                The 'madcows breakdown' video is hilarious, and sounds amazing.
                "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, sweat and tears"




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                • #9
                  Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

                  Originally posted by GinSoakedBoy View Post
                  Aww, but I expected not to be told. I've watched the videos and they are really good. I have one question, if someone talks over the 'side' channel and you are near them, do you hear them over the side channel, and direct talk channel also as you're near them?

                  The 'madcows breakdown' video is hilarious, and sounds amazing.
                  Yes, the side/group channels broadcast the message and also have a locational effect. The locational speech of someone talking on side/group is significantly smaller in radius compared to someone talking in "Direct Speaking" mode, which simulates that they're talking more quietly due to them talking into a radio.

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                  • #10
                    Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

                    Dslyecxi, thank you very much for your explanation, I have a few questions and comments though.

                    1 Are there any specific reasons not to expand the group (fireteam) and add more levels (squad, command) to the VOIP itself as well? You say you'll keep using TS for that, but wouldn't be a huge missed opportunity to increase the ease of use of the VON communications system?

                    IRL, it's clear most of the time your direct leader is talking over comms. With split channels especially with both VON and TS, isn't there the risk of different channels/comm systems interrupting each other because the user can't be perfectly sure who is talking to who? If everything; direct comms, fireteam, squad, command and vehicle were integrated into the game you would have even more options to avoid interruption.

                    So for instance each time a person you can talk to is spoken to a clearly visible radio marker with the person(s) involved is showing. So for instance if a SL is talking to one of his FTL's everyone in the FTL's team, the SL's team, the other FTL's and SL as well as command will see a radio marker so they know if they starting talking to either this FTL or SL or start talking very loudly over direct comms they will be interrupting radio comms.



                    2 How easy is it to distinguish between direct VON and radio VON/TS, I mean IRL the difference would be immediately noticeable, how is this now for 1.09?
                    Last edited by Taxi; 12-14-2007, 03:38 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

                      1 Are there any specific reasons not to expand the group (fireteam) and add more levels (squad, command) to the VOIP itself as well? You say you'll keep using TS for that, but wouldn't be a huge missed opportunity to increase the ease of use of the VON communications system?
                      VOIP is based off of in-game organization (ie: text channel comm methods). Adding extra layers would require some significant rewrites to the engine, and that's not something you can expect in a patch for an already-released game.

                      IRL, it's clear most of the time your direct leader is talking over comms. With split channels especially with both VON and TS, isn't there the risk of different channels/comm systems interrupting each other because the user can't be perfectly sure who is talking to who? If everything; direct comms, fireteam, squad, command and vehicle were integrated into the game you would have even more options to avoid interruption.
                      Comm discipline works fine from what I've seen. The who's-speaking indicator covers the VOIP fine, and TS tends to sound different anyway (and you can adjust the volume to be louder if you want). I don't see any major issues with how it works now. Any improvements would require real serious rewrites that are almost certainly out of the scope of 1.09.

                      2 How easy is it to distinguish between direct VON and radio VON/TS, I mean IRL the difference would be immediately noticeable, how is this now for 1.09?
                      See above. It's pretty easy.

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                      • #12
                        Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

                        Originally posted by Dslyecxi View Post
                        VOIP is based off of in-game organization (ie: text channel comm methods). Adding extra layers would require some significant rewrites to the engine, and that's not something you can expect in a patch for an already-released game.
                        Yes, you are right. Would you agree that increasing the sophistication of the in game organization infrastructure and thereby also the VON would be something useful to have for ArmA2? I don't want to dismiss the work you guys are doing for 1.09 of course everyone is very happy with it, just trying to think constructively what could be further improved.

                        Originally posted by Dslyecxi View Post
                        Comm discipline works fine from what I've seen. The who's-speaking indicator covers the VOIP fine, and TS tends to sound different anyway (and you can adjust the volume to be louder if you want). I don't see any major issues with how it works now. Any improvements would require real serious rewrites that are almost certainly out of the scope of 1.09.
                        I've had situations where I was receiving orders from command, but because I was the only one hearing it, my team mates didn't know they were interrupting my radio comms. That's what I would like to see avoided in the future, but I can agree with you that integrating squad and command level would be too much for 1.09.

                        Originally posted by Taxi View Post
                        2 How easy is it to distinguish between direct VON and radio VON/TS, I mean IRL the difference would be immediately noticeable, how is this now for 1.09?
                        Originally posted by Dslyecxi View Post
                        See above. It's pretty easy.
                        Ok, thanks. As you point out TS sounds different now as well, might be a good idea to keep some difference between direct and radio comms once it's all integrated into VON, say for ArmA2. Might also be handy for people with a less advanced speaker set up who don't get as much directional cues from the direct comms.

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                        • #13
                          Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

                          Originally posted by Dslyecxi View Post
                          Yes, the side/group channels broadcast the message and also have a locational effect. The locational speech of someone talking on side/group is significantly smaller in radius compared to someone talking in "Direct Speaking" mode, which simulates that they're talking more quietly due to them talking into a radio.
                          Nice, I heard it in one of the videos and it makes sense, if someone is talking over the radio next to you you'd hear them 'twice' as it were.

                          Originally posted by Taxi View Post
                          I've had situations where I was receiving orders from command, but because I was the only one hearing it, my team mates didn't know they were interrupting my radio comms. That's what I would like to see avoided in the future, but I can agree with you that integrating squad and command level would be too much for 1.09
                          I'd say you could easily work round this, if SLs and FTLs used 'SIDE' channel to talk to each other. Alternatively, if you're using Teamspeak you simply set up whispers to whole channels instead of the person in command, I've used this on a BF2 tournament and it saves the SL having to ask for radio silence.
                          "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, sweat and tears"




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                          • #14
                            Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

                            Yes, you are right. Would you agree that increasing the sophistication of the in game organization infrastructure and thereby also the VON would be something useful to have for ArmA2? I don't want to dismiss the work you guys are doing for 1.09 of course everyone is very happy with it, just trying to think constructively what could be further improved.
                            Of course it would be good to have. Is it likely to happen? Who knows.

                            I've had situations where I was receiving orders from command, but because I was the only one hearing it, my team mates didn't know they were interrupting my radio comms. That's what I would like to see avoided in the future, but I can agree with you that integrating squad and command level would be too much for 1.09.
                            "Command" is via command channel in TS. That's the only situation that fits what you're describing, so I'll go off of it.

                            If someone is talking over TS command chat, you can easily have the volume of that significantly higher than the ArmA VOIP, so that it doesn't matter if one of your teammates is using group chat at the time the commander is talking. So, in short - it doesn't matter right now. Maybe it will change in ArmA2. Maybe not. Either way works out to be about the same for most purposes.

                            Ok, thanks. As you point out TS sounds different now as well, might be a good idea to keep some difference between direct and radio comms once it's all integrated into VON, say for ArmA2. Might also be handy for people with a less advanced speaker set up who don't get as much directional cues from the direct comms.
                            I've made suggestions for ways that they can address this. I don't know when or if they'll show up, though.

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                            • #15
                              Re: ShackTac's experience with 1.09 thus far

                              Good info Dslyecxi. We appreciate you guys keeping us in on the loop on some of the changes that are forthcoming. It will definitely be more than welcome to see a patch that addresses such fixes.
                              "The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws." -Machiavelli

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