Dear Arma III Developers,
First of all thank you for all the effort you've put in to produce a game truly made for gamers looking for an accurate combat simulation experience. It is good to see a game that finally incorporates and views the feedback given by its gamers as an integral part of their game development.
Overall the Alpha release of Arma III plays well. There are some bugs and glitches that need smoothing over, most of which I see have already been reported by the gaming community. The combat gameplay itself runs smoothly, and the textures and rendering looks good.
Given that the aims of Arma III is, essentially, a super-realistic combat simulator, my primary suggestion is to "increase the level of reality" through more customisations and features:
- Combat Dress and Kitout.
In some ways how the player's character is able to customise the way they dress and kit out is a bit clumsy and not user-friendly. Mods so far in the Alpha release have written into the game a "Virtual Ammobox" (or something similar) to help with this but is glitchy and nonetheless still clumsy. What I think players are looking for is a proper staging area to prepare their gear. Where in this area you enter a separate screen, or "dimension", similar to that of driving games where players enter a 'mode' (which takes them to a garage or something) to customise their car: the ability to select, click and drag different fatigues, armour, etc... whilst simulatneously been able to preview their character offers a more accomodative feel to the gameplay.
Another thing that has been overlooked is that body armour is not the same as the webbing/harnesses. I found that I would like to have my character wear a certain harness to carry additional equipment but when I went to select it, it removed the body armour which would provide the necessary protection. The reality is that webbing/harnesses can be worn over the body armour vest. Scripting needs to be changed to recognise that overlapping is acceptable. Also, information on how much and what equipment has been stored on which harness/backpack is useful to players planning out what to bring on a patrol. There are also minor things that I noticed such as empty pistol holsters and canteen holders, which I'm sure have been picked-up by fellow players. As I said, just little things that need smoothing over.
- Wepaon Customisation & Armoury.
Further to what I said above about a 'mode' or change-room staging area to customise the player's dress and basic kit, I do believe a separate zone (next-door or near-by) should be created specific to kitting-out weapons. An armoury, which I do believe should be separate from the change-rooms. Having two separate 'modes' (1 for clothes and appearance, and 1 for weapons) may sound overkill, but I do believe it is not only realistic but practical for the gameplay.
The Armoury, similar to my change-room proposal, should be a 'mode' that allows the player to preview and customise his weponas at the same time. Similary to what they have done in Ghost Recon Future Soldier, the game visualises the field strip of the weapon and allows the player to handpick every single component of the weapon whilst displaying in the statistics how each change of the barrel length or muzzle, etc... has an impact on the weapons performance. (I encourage your developers to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKvVAbCaz_A). I do believe the weapon customisation needs some work to make appear and flow better for the player.
Firing ranges at base would be nice too. It will allow players to (after kitting out or whilst kititng out) to try out their gear in a safe area as to not kill friendly players but targets that are able to take damage. Noting that friendly-fire is a big issue at bases.
The physics is good. The graphical detail of the vehicles is great. But I found myself asking the question: There are so many buttons drawn into this vehicle, but why can't I push any of them? Maybe not so much for helicopters, since most of the players focus is on actually flying and not crashing, but the vehicles' dashboards lend themselves to more detailed exploration of features -- we drive with WASD keyboard that leaves the mouse free to look around and push button. It also releaves the overuse of the scroll function to select vehicle options. Food for thought.
Keep up the good work, will let you know if anything comes to mind,