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Arma 3 - CalmWater engine shader does not work as intended
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Given the recent bug quashing run by BI, Would it possible for BI/Arma3 devs to re-look at the calm-water shader?

This issue has been in existence since A3 Alpha (2013), firstly there was the issue where any "pond" objects would obliterate the player camera's view. Which thankfully you guys managed to fix in 2015 and we thank you for your efforts on that front.

Ever since that fix the ponds react as they should, albeit provided there is no volumetric fog in the environment.

As soon as any amount of volumetric fog is applied to the environment the engine shader used for these objects (CalmWater) glitches out and creates undesirable effects such as pixelation of the screen, darkening of the entire environment while looking towards pond objects and really strange shading on the pond object surfaces themselves.

I realise that the Arma 3 terrains - Stratis, Altis and Tanoa do not use these types of objects. But the test_ponds that still exist within the game pbo's also suffer from these effects, so obviously a fix of some sorts has been in the works at some stages of development by Bohemia.


Operating System
Windows 10 x64
Steps To Reproduce

Load up any terrain that utilises ponds or load into any terrain and place any object that uses the calmwater shader onto terrain.
Set the environments fog level to anything above 0 (zero).
Observe the strange artifacting on the pond objects.

This artifcating is also visible from great distances from the object using the CalmWater shader.

Additional Information

I have tried hundreds of different combinations of LODs, textures, materials and have even tried utilising the water shader used to render the ocean surface to create some sort of valid working as intended pond object. I did have some successes but nothing that resulted in any sort of realistic water effect for ponds / still water and certainly nothing with the visual fidelity associated with the Arma 3 engine.

I have tried DayzSA ponds (pre and post Enfusion) and get the same undesired results, yet they work fine in DayzSA.

I did highlight this issue in the Development Branch forum while the lighting upgrade was working its way through dev-branch.
Link -

I private messaged googlava the BI developer who seemed to be answering all the questions in the thread linked above, to ask if this issue was being looked at during the process of upgrading the engine lighting. I was told that it was not connected to the lighting upgrade development, but that if there was something wrong they would pass it on to the lead programmer.

A lot of time has since passed since the lighting upgrade and even more since this issue was first reported (2013 - 2017) and the CalmWater shader is still not working as intended.

So please could we finally get this nagging issue fixed?

You would make a lot of terrain authors and players of Arma 3 very happy to have fully functional non-ocean water environments once again in Arma.

Links to previous & relevant feedback tracker links below:


Event Timeline

Uro created this task.Jan 27 2017, 10:01 PM

Please for all that is sacred look into this Bis. We've managed to get the ponds actually working in game with the exception of the shader functioning with volumetric fog. You can have my first born if you fix the problem

Anixon added a subscriber: Anixon.Jan 28 2017, 5:54 AM
cring0 added a subscriber: cring0.Apr 18 2017, 6:25 PM
Foxone added a subscriber: Foxone.Apr 18 2017, 7:24 PM
Kepler added a subscriber: Kepler.Apr 19 2017, 9:29 AM
Uro added a comment.Aug 4 2017, 11:06 PM

No takers on this issue from BI yet? Ticket has been active for >7 months with no actions.

Please upgrade the calmwater shader to handle volumetric fog correctly.

If you want an easy repro load up the test ponds contained within /a3/map_altis/data/water/*.p3d in game and then turn on some fog.

Cre8or added a subscriber: Cre8or.Aug 5 2017, 12:27 AM
dedmen added a subscriber: dedmen.Dec 17 2017, 4:15 PM