Category: Dslyecxi On…

ShackTac’s usage of crosshairs


Update, Nov 2015:

My decisions about crosshairs in Arma were formed in Arma 2 and prior games, and after quite a bit of Arma 3 time and developmental efforts, I wanted to take another look at the viability of no-crosshair for our sessions. After weighing the pros & cons of Arma 3’s rather significant changes in this area, I’ve switched crosshairs off on our server. The basic technical reasons are as follows:

  • Arma 3’s weapons handling and general mechanics are much better than A2’s ever were. Better mouse control, smoother sights, faster zooming, better mechanics such as sway, sight misalignment, recoil, proper collimated optics, resting/deployment, etc. Having swappable sights also makes it less likely to end up with a ‘broken’ optic as could happen in A2’s mod set.
  • The scripting requests that were made in the past about things that could be used to make a less-precise/gamey crosshair were not implemented, taking that away as an option for toning down their usefulness or introducing more interesting mechanics.

While this isn’t a perfect situation, the only significant feature we’re currently lacking is that of both-eyes-open translucent weapon visualization. I made a mock-up of this here – I hope that some day we see this appear in Arma as an option, as it’s about as close as you can get to representing real-world capabilities without needing to use something like a VR setup.

So, TLDR: A3 weapon handling and mechanics are good enough that we can disable the crosshair and live with opaque weapons for now.

The prior post about my A2-era crosshair stance from Aug 6th of 2012 can be found below.


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Eby, the miracle kitty

Tell us about your awesome cat, Eby.

Oh boy, Eby time!

For those unaware, almost exactly a year ago I posted a video titled Eby, the three-legged miracle kitty. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely recommended.

Since then, Eby has grown into a big dude and is an incredibly entertaining and affectionate cat. He has some rather interesting preferences, too – he goes crazy for lettuce and will snatch mini pretzels from you if you’re not paying attention. He still bounds through the house like a bat out of hell when the mood strikes, and his 3-legged mobility remains astonishing to see.

All in all, Eby’s an awesome cat. Thinking back on how we came to find him, it really does astound me how many things had to happen in a very specific order to land us where we are today. Every day of your life is no doubt filled with such unnoticed complexity, but it’s only at certain times that you’re really able to sit down and even begin to grasp the magnitude of it all. It’ll definitely get you thinking.

A year later and I can still clearly see Eby’s eyes slowly focusing back from the brink of death. I have no doubt that that memory will remain in crystal clarity for as long as I live – to say it was moving would be a tremendous understatement.

Take On Helicopters flight model

What are some of your thoughts on the differences in the flight models of Arma 2 and Take On Helicopters? Also how do you feel about the possible inclusion of the Take On Helicopters flight model in Arma 3?

Take On Helicopters’ flight model is something I’m sure people looking for true helicopter simulation are going to enjoy. Personally, that’s not what I play ArmA for. If I wanted to play hardcore flight sims, you’d see me in DCS, IL-2, TKOH more often.

Considering ArmA’s scope and focus on the infantry side of things, I find the ArmA FM to be a pretty much perfect blend of authenticity and accessibility. It is more ‘hardcore’ than games like Battlefield 3, less forgiving, and while most anyone can hop into a helo and with a short period of practice be capable of basic take-off/flight/landing, it takes a great amount of time to truly master. The dynamics of ArmA’s flight model work extremely well in the context of the game, and the accessibility means that anyone can become a decent pilot with a bit of practice, capable of landing in hairy situations with competence. If you took the TKOH FM and injected it into ArmA, I think you’d find it to ultimately weaken the multiplayer experience.

Personally, if A3 has TKOH’s FM as an option, I plan to never use it. I’ve told ShackTac already that we won’t be adopting that FM, and given my reasons why (basically an expanded version of this post).

I also think it would be a mistake to make the ArmA3 FM TKOH from the start – part of what attracted me to this series in the beginning was the accessible helo flight model, and I’d hate to see aspiring ArmA pilots shy away from it after having a bad encounter with the TKOH FM, without realizing that there’s a more accessible one available. Having the option of either is fine, whatever, to each his own – but the default should be the ArmA-style version.

We’ll see what actually happens though. There’s more to be said re: the difficulty of making TKOH helicopter configs for mods, for example, but that’s drifting a bit from the core issues.

The Littlebird

I see that you like the littlebird variants of helicopters why is that?

‘Like’ is too modest of a word, I love the Littlebirds. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Very vulnerable/light. This, in turn, makes them more challenging to fly in a hostile environment – which makes success that much more satisfying.
  • Extremely maneuverable. Flying a bus like the Mi-17 or Chinook is boring. Zipping a Littlebird through trees and down streets, on the other hand, is a hell of a good time.
  • Fixed-forward armaments and single-man crewable. Anyone can kill things with a rotating turret, a dedicated gunner, and laser- or wire-guided missiles. It takes a different kind of skill to kill with fixed-forward miniguns and a small quantity of ‘dumb’ rockets.
  • Transport version is awesome. When you add my Littlebird mod and the fire from vehicles aspect of it, you end up with an incredibly entertaining way of transporting troops. Being able to land in tiny areas on a moment’s notice makes for thrilling insertions and much greater potential for “hot LZ” situations.

Getting to the level of piloting that I’m at these days took me years and years of practice with and against the competent members of ShackTac. It’s one thing to pull off a nice insertion in a calm mission against AI – something else entirely to put five guys on the ground in a few moments in the midst of the enemy without taking fire.

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