We've all thought, Arma looks great apart from that bit stretching from where the clutter ends to where the resolution of the satmap is sufficiently dense to appear photographic. We hoped BI would improve it with A3 but unfortunately that didn't transpire. Aside from looking bad (like it's 1999) it exacerbates issues with detecting units at range, with no clutter and very little noise in the terrain enemy units are all too easy to pick-out at these distances.
The issue is that A3's terrain only implements a single, decorative repeating overlay in this region which can be used to introduce noise by darkening the satmap but as the same texture is tiled throughout the entire terrain BI opted to use it only a very lightly (for reasons that should be clear below).
Early on in A3's life Bad Benson illustrated (http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?150645-midrange-terrain-texture-replacement) how much more effective a heavier mid-detail overlay could be, turning 'OFP-nude';
...into something that almost began to look vaguely 'current-gen' (if you squint);
And that's the solution most of us who care enough about it probably use (if any). The huge drawback is you get the same heavy application in all the areas you don't want it, in towns, piers and compounds, on roads and on runways (at the distance beyond where they're rendered as actual objects). So instead of concrete...
...you get something that looks more like carpet;
Subsequently a proposal was made (http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?149905-Sophisticated-considerations-on-how-to-get-rid-of-the-blurry-mid-range-textures) that this mid-detail texture should have it's own layer or be applied according to an additional whole-terrain mask. It's still the 6th most voted for issue (http://feedback.arma3.com/view.php?id=4635) on the FT but over 2 years on still not acted on. I never thought they'd go for it. Aside from having to make a fundamental change to terrain rendering (and court potential performance costs), I couldn't see them wanting to make whole new layers for the two released islands.
I've an idea that could yield a big improvement with next to no development cost.
The thing about concrete and roads and runways is that they're all some shade of *grey* and those organic areas where you do want noise added are all greens and browns[/B]. So if the shader that additively applies this overlay did so on the basis of each pixel's colour we might get to have our cake and eat it too. Here's the mask I made for the above scene, there's no whole frame evaluation required, it's just each pixel's hue 'dodged' with itself multiple times in my graphics program. It's the sort of manipulation a pixel shader should eat with just a few extra instructions;
And here's the result of using this mask to combine the light and heavy mid-detail texture.
I would guess somewhere at BI there's some HLSL source that could incorporate this change very, very easily.
A further possible improvement would be to allow map makers to config a single RGB value that influenced the weighting to be used in evaluation of the RGB. So if you're doing a desert map where you want smooth sands you could weight the yellow components such that the mid-detail was applied only lightly (and really go to town noise-wise on your green belt).
If I use the same process to create a hue-based mask for the first scene you can see that it preserves almost all of the organic detail added by Benson's mid-detail;