Hello and welcome to a new dev diary about Tanoa – a new terrain for an upcoming expansion for Arma 3 apex. Today we’d like to share a little bit about the motivations for picking the setting, talk about where we are in development right now, and share our objectives for the design of the terrain itself. Terrains are hugely important to the Arma series. They provide the canvas on which we, and also the community, create our content for many, many years. They’re authentic places, they provide really interesting experiences for the gameplay, and they inspire people to go and explore them, and make their own content. Tanoa is a fictional South Pacific island terrain.
It’s few small islands, with the one central main island in the middle. It’s something like a 100 km² of tropical, jungly terrain, and it represents sort of a new frontier in our series. We’ve never explored this kind of setting before, and, yeah, we’re excited to share a few more details about it now. We started the process by thinking about what our basic goal was. And that, in short, was to create a fresh new type of setting. With that in mind, our Environment guys made three prototypes: we had a Nordic terrain, a slightly dry Australian arid terrain, and then Tanoa, sort of a lush South Pacific island setting. After the whole team had the chance to play around in these locations, we allowed them to vote and discuss all the options, and, ultimately, the vast majority voted for the Pacific terrain.
We actually considered the Pacific setting for several, unfortunately cancelled projects in the past. So we’re very happy that we finally get to explore it now. We call Tanoa a “green hell”, and that’s because it’s not just a vacation paradise, but there are many elements of industry and militarization. Some of the key points of Tanoa are of course the volcano, which you’ve seen in the Reveal Trailer, as well as a rare earth mineral mine, and there’s an industrial port, but of course there are many more key points that we want players to explore.
Tanoa has this exploited history for hundreds of years. Human settlements have taken away from the island. So we can see that in, for example, the sugar cane factory and the sugar cane fields, but we also have something more modern. I think diversity maybe is the key characteristic of the terrain. We also think this terrain is going to be very cool and suitable for all types of different community creations, whether that is a military experience or anything crazy you can imagine. Two of our Environment designers actually went to Fiji, which is very similar to the type of atmosphere that we want to recreate. Our Fiji field expedition focused on gathering photo references of ground services, of vegetation, flora, fauna, structures – all these type of things. Tanoa is what we call geo-typical Fiji, which means it’s not an exact recreation, but the atmosphere, the vegetation, the type of structures are very similar to it. Aside from this, we discussed with the team the kind of games we’ve played that are similar to this setting, what kind of films, what kind of books.
Basically, pieced together this authentic setting, and tried to translate those ideas into representing it in-game. With gameplay in mind, I think it was really important for us to recognize that Tanoa must support a whole variety of different gameplay types, from authentic military, to more civilian or casual modes, to everything in between. Tanoa passed its first real milestone. It’s the basic layout, the basic shape, the structure of the terrain is in place, and now we’re moving into production of the structures, of the vegetation, populating the world. Now in this phase we also bring in the content designers. So we start to think about the locations, the areas that we want to have in our official content.
Now we’re focusing on some audio-visual improvements. We have things like the new lighting config, the new ocean shader, the screen space reflections, the ambient audio. So a whole bunch of stuff which really makes the world feel a bit more Splendid™. Besides Tanoa, the expansion will contain more vehicles, weapons, characters, as well as playable content. It is important to point out that any new engine feature or technology will be free to everyone and also apply to our previous terrains.
Our current plans are to release the expansion in the first half of 2016. Along the way, we have a roadmap of updates planned. Maybe the standout new addition is a 3D Editor. It’s something that we ourselves are really looking forward to, and we know also the community are keen to get their hands on it as well. I cannot wait to load up the new 3D Editor and make a scenario where you’re airlifting boats to shore, driving them through the mangrove swamps, patrolling to the jungle, and then raiding an enemy camp before you’re extracting again. It’s been a lot of fun play-testing Tanoa multiplayer already, and we’re eager to welcome you there. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about Tanoa.
We’re looking forward to sharing a few more details about our roadmap and the expansion in the next few weeks and months, but, as always, we hope you’ve enjoyed watching. Thank you very much for your support,
As found on Youtube