It's been a while since I released something and altough work on my next big project is in progress (yeah, that coming soon on my website is actually not this update, nor DayZ: Namalsk (but be sure to check that!), there are few must do's for my currently released work.
My test island Namalsk once again had an opportunity to show its strength!
This time was my primary goal of this relatively quick release to test the experience from the better terrain grid, AI and objects and the overall AI interaction with the environment!
Namalsk got a lot of fine things, campaign got polished and some new things were added to the modification! (see below)
This is Namalsk Crisis, Update 2 aka "Pathfinder"!
First of all, this update is mainly focused on the improving gameplay and less on fancy stuff, anyway, few major things to talk about: Namalsk Crisis campaign, Namalsk island and Shadow of Namalsk features.
I will start with Namalsk Crisis campaign changes..
Because of changes made on Namalsk (will talk about it later), the whole campaign was made compatible with it (mainly objects positions and absolute positions in scripts). The next change is that I've tried to focus on the overall challenge vs crazyness of several missions and so several missions were a bit modified. There has been also changes in cooperation version of Namalsk Crisis campaign, making it a bit better again (but it is still highly experimental). Of course, while going through all missions, I took a look also on some spelling errors and improved some scripts to behave better. Hopefully these improvements and fixes will make the campaign even more solid. There has been several reports about difficulty or broken missions etc. caused by using some mods, which affect default AI behavior, as I said several times, I do not recommend playing the campaign with them. Campaign has been created and tested under vanilla versions and making the behavior same even with AI mods is almost impossible in some cases.
Then there are Namalsk island changes..
Improving Namalsk was my dream for a very long time.. Several broken, not compatible or older lowres things. The more I worked on my next map, the more I wanted to repair what I have left released. So finally, about a month ago, I simply started with redoing some major gamebreaking things on Namalsk! And results are here - I've totally changed the terrain grid, the old one from OFP Namalsk version is gone for good and replaced with the ultra detailed terrain grid, which makes Namalsk better in gameplay and it also change a lot its look! The next and very major things were bugs in objects. The most noticable is the addition of paths and positions for AI for all custom objects! No more running into building to take a cover against AI! With these objects changes, there was also a lot of objects improved by adding better collision geometries and more penetrations materials. But that is not all at all! Because we have nice flashlights on weapons, we should also have nice lights on the every objects! This was previously bugged or not working at all because objects did not have materials at all or they had simple shaders, but since this update all custom buildings (and even the older ones by BIS) on Namalsk have applied super shader materials and so lights from cars and flashlights are working awesomely! With the changes of all materials, I've also took a look on a repairing stupid looking normal maps and removing most of the specular maps. When the buildings got the fresh air, I've been going through the overall AI accessibility of the locations on the island. There has been several changes in it - changing positions or even removing some smaller objects. The results are quite good, altough my goal was not to redo the whole locations, so you still need to take in mind, that Namalsk simply does have a bit detailed locations and so you may not turn your tank squad there, nor your AI mates (but your squad actually should be able roam in the undeground now!). Next things, which kept me worried was the transitions between the snow and normal landscape, so I took a look on it and improved those parts, I think, you will like it! With this change came also change of satellitle texture and surface mask. Altough I did not have time for redoing the whole satellite texture (but it would be of course awesome.. well maybe sometimes later), I've improved it on the several places, including that snow transition, also coastline & sea and added shadows under vegetation. There is completely new more interresting surface mask generated, so the landscape is even more interresting now. With the 2d change of coastline comes also the 3d change of the terrain there, which I've tried to make a bit more normal than it was with the previous grid. Okay, se we've got some really nice changes to island's core. Now some new things.. there are completely new roads, paths and locations, for example extended Seraja base and new military base under Nitija. I took a quick look also on the objects, which could be made even better and choosed candidates for the enterable state. SO, there are some new awesome enterable objects, including buildings surrounding the Seraja transmitter, farm houses and industrial objects. When we are on the object topic, I've also upgraded some buildings to its Arma II versions (including railway tracks), randomized some vegetation objects, which were not randomized at all and upgraded all rock models by Arma II versions. I recommend you to visit changelog section to read more about all the changes, this is just a glimpse! Of course, all these changes can have a small impact on the missions made on the island before this update, so please test it if everything looks okay and working fine, believe me, this update is worth updating your missions!
Wall of text right?
Namalsk got an awesome gameplay boost, old terrain removed (50 meters between vertexes), new added (6.25 meters), tons of little details added to the new terrain, AI can now enter every corner of the map, flashlights are working everywhere, everything does look better, new locations and objects added and you can even enter more buildings than ever before!
Also, be sure you will scout every corner of this new Namalsk, I've prepared the whole new set of easter eggs, some of them are referencing on my next big project! Find out what some information before any official information release!
So that would be Namalsk, now to the news around Shadow of Namalsk..
I've described many changes, which are connected to the Shadow of Namalsk already when I was talking about Namalsk, but I can mention for example that during the upgrading materials and overall upgrading object templates on the map, I was able to partially clean data files, which results in much smaller size of the main data files for Namalsk island. I've also changed completely models of the vegetation (trees to be precise), and fixing some visual bugs on them. The long wanted thing for AII undeground module was also implemented - module now tracks player's position and in case of entering the underground object, it turns off the ambient sounds and start looping ambient of the underground object. Of course, upon exiting, it will turn back the normal ambient sounds.
As we always recommend use modfolders to seperate the custom content from the official game content to prevent problems. For different ways to set up your modfolders and use them please visit our FAQ.
When you are using the Steam version you can find a Steam mod installation and activation FAQ here.
Unfortunately with the problematic backward compatibility of model format, this update does not support Arma s standalone, sorry! But that does not mean you can't play Namalsk Crisis, check http://www.nightstalkers.cz/en_index_nc.php?menu=en_nc_down, main Namalsk Crisis thread on BI forums (http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?118731-Arma-2-Namalsk-Crisis) or any other community sites (http://www.armaholic.com/, http://armedassault.info/) for your options (version 1.10 is still supported) or https://store.bistudio.com/arma2-operation-arrowhead :)
There are two packages this time (one for the users, who already owns Namalsk Crisis and the second one for the users, who dont own Namalsk Crisis at all):
If you download the update package (nc_pathfinder_update.7z), then extract downloaded archive to your @NC\Addons\ folder (make sure it is properly updated on 1.10 version first)
And of course, after installation, you can run it under Arma II: Combined Operations!