Update 3-31-2017

If you leave your ARMA 3 set to keep program updated it certainly will.  If you build missions yourself and have third party addons sooner or later you will find that some of the missions you have worked on for months won't load!  Some of your addons have been "updated" and some of them have been removed!

I usually work and play offline.  I might update once a week.  A few days ago I logged in to update and it said critical update.  It downloaded the 64 bit version of ARMA 3.  I was so thrilled until I realized some of my addons had changed, some were missing and two of the ones I still had were causing the game to crash on boot up!  I was not happy!

One or two of the third party updates had items in them where the name either changed or the item was removed from the addon PBO making anything that was used in it to cause the error we who build missions dread!  Item missing, has been removed, mission can not be loaded or edited!  When we work for a month on a mission that we can't load I don't have to tell you that's not a good thing.

I began sorting and working and spent the entire day sorting through PBO files and one called BreakingLife.fr had 5 or 6 files out of over 930 that caused ARMA 3 to crash on boot!  Not only that it had been removed from Steam and when I went to find it on Armoholic it was gone form there as well!  Yes I had copied it from Steam to a local file so I still have it.  Sorting through 930 PBO files in a single addon to find the bad ones is very time consuming.  Then asked myself why did both sites remove that addon?  As I sorted the files I saw names I recognized like ACE and CUP addons that should not have been in there in the first place!  The entire addon was made up of copyrighted things from other developers!  Not only that if you are loading this one and still running the other addons you are running duplicate addons and you are going to have game problems.  So whoever put that one together like they did shouldn't have.

The reason I used it was because it has all kinds of fun things in it that can be applied to soldiers using the change loadout command in ARMA 3.  It has more than just cloths, it has two Predators, Zombies, Babes, and other things that can literally be put right over your soldier.  So I started using them.  The good news is once I removed the things causing problems from that pack I renamed it and the Predator wasn't one of the problem items.  The bad thing is I can't release my Predator missions now because of the way that addon was put together and how it was removed from the two locations where players could get them.

Update 3-25-2013

The problems with the new ARMA 3 Alpha LITE and Steam continue.

For a few days I've worked to learn the difference in ARMA 3 mission building.  I worked all day yesterday so I would have missions to play today over the LAN with a friend.  When I powered up on the i7 it said there was an update and I powered up the X4 and it updated automatically.  I did the update on the i7 not thinking anything about it.  I powered up the game and tried to play the 6 missions I had made and only one of them would work.
All the others said there was a file that had been deleted and the missions could not be played or edited.  All my hard work was gone!  All thanks to an ARMA 3 Alpha update!

What's the point spending days to build a mission that won't be there tomorrow?  I can't begin to tell you how ARMA 3 and Steam have pissed on my fun with this game.  What's the point adding downloadable content when you know at the next update it may all be gone?  By the way I hadn't added any content yet, that thing they deleted was one of their own things they removed.  I'm so mad right now I can't see straight and see no reason why I should continue to fight with this game or with Steam.

If you can't get Steam in off line mode you can't play over the LAN because if Steam won't run neither will the game!  After many reboots I finally got one of my computers to run Steam in off line mode.  The other computer will not run in off line mode as it says there's no logon information in that computer.  There must because it logs into Steam without me doing anything, it just won't run in offline mode.  No Steam no game no play!

I've jumped into a sniper put him prone took a few shots at enemy left him there returned to my commander only to find that previous soldier now slither's around on his belly like a snake and will not stand up.

While walking along a hillside one of my men spotted an enemy soldier 700 meters on the far side of a mountain!  I couldn't even see him as I was below the ridge myself and he was further down than I was yet he saw enemy that literally couldn't be seen by either of us.  I went to the top of the mountain and looked and sure enough there were two enemy standing there about 700 meters out.

Hold off on the applause please!  The BiStudio / Bohemia website store is screwed up!  And that's not all!  Difficult to resist the urge to write and say "If you can't handle the job hire some professionals."

The good news is I finally heard back from BiStudio about ARMA 3 and website screwups.  The bad news is they don't intend to change or fix anything!

The support agent said it was clearly marked on their website that ARMA 3 Alpha was the only version of the game being released now.
Let me clarify that a bit, the only version being released is Arma 3 Alpha LITE which is a stripped down version of Alpha.

He said it was clearly marked the game I bought ran on Steam.  Yes I saw that but I didn't know what it was when I bought it.  If I had known I wouldn't have bought it.

He said there will be a boxed version but it will also run on Steam.

In a second message he said when the game is released I will receive addons that will update mine to the full version of the game.  The only message I've seen to give me some idea of the timeline said sometime late Fall this year.  The only update I've received so far cost me all but one of my home made ARMA 3 missions!  I'm so not happy!

Their idea of clearly marked is that hidden link to download Steam.

My idea of clearly marked is having it in bold, a different color and "clearly marked."

BiStudio has no idea how many customers they will lose as a result of their decisions to remain exclusive to Steam.  Makes me wonder what kind of deal they made with the devil to make them so devoted to it.  I will explain.

Totally Non Profit
I've seen them come, I've seen them go.  I've seen them rise to the top then vanish leaving people to wonder what happened.  My ability to predict the success of certain products and companies has been higher than 90%.  When it comes to game software companies it's higher than that.  How many of you have heard of Jane's or Nova Logic?  If they had listened to my advice they might still be around.  I'll predict that BiStudio / Bohemia / ARMA 3 development will regret the day they ever signed a deal with Valve / Steam. I know I can predict this because their formerly happy customers are no longer happy.  Former supporters of the popular ARMA series are closing down their support websites all because of Steam and ARMA 3 screw-ups thanks to the development team.

Years ago I was the director of the Independent Software Consultants
.  We were a team kinda like the consumer reports people.  We bought, tested software and wrote reviews completely from a consumer standpoint without monitory influence from any of the companies marketing the software.  We would put the software thorough every test we could think of and then some and share our findings with the public. I would literally get the VP of the company on the phone and have a chat which includes the former Nova Logic company VP.  It was shocking to discover how many of these VP and company heads had no idea what was going on in game development until after a bad product was released and all the flack came back on them. Sad thing was if they had listened and followed our advice they might still be in business.  They could be the ones making an ARMA like game today.

When we tested software that was crap we told everyone with details and the software companies hated us for telling the truth.  It really hurt when that software company had paid someone to give them an award.  Or won an award simply for the lack of competition.

Company reps stopped talking with us.  Most of them wouldn't take our advice on how to fix the problem anyway and often the problem was simple to resolve.  A few hours at the editing computers could have taken it from a loser game to a GREAT game.  A few tweeks in service, tech or on the website could have made a positive difference.  I also told them what we wanted was a PC game that allowed the player full freedom to use anything in the game field and a mission builder so we could build our own missions.  They didn't listen but BiStudio's Bohemia ARMA team got the idea and went with it.  I said "good for you!" And in no time ARMA with all of its flaws became the most popular PC battle game in the world with the largest user supported FREE STUFF of any game EVER!

Who would have thought that giving stuff away to your customers would make tons of sales?  It's completely unheard of but it works like magic!  Why aren't more software companies following this concept?  Now's the time we say "when you find something that works you stay with it!"  You don't change by hooking up with a third party that can destroy your success!  That's just what they've done.

The Nature of PC Gaming
You may have noticed the trend of software companies moving from PC's to gaming platforms.  You may have even noticed the software companies who are still writing for PC's have mostly migrated toward the arcade style game.  Ghost Recon 1 and 2 were fantastic despite the fact they had no mission builder or user options to speak of.  I played those missions over and over on the LAN with my friends.  I couldn't wait for Ghost Recon Future Soldier to come out.  I put money down on it almost two years before it was finally released.  Couldn't wait to get it installed and try it only to discover it was an arcade game!  A few stages into it and I was done, heart broken and sick over it.  I've not played it since.  The Ghost Recon development people have no idea what a mistake they have made and how gamers like myself won't ever buy their products again.

The point I'm making is this.  You generally have the software company, the software and your own computer to deal with when you buy and use a game
.  If the game works you have no problems but the PC is the most difficult of all gaming platforms to write for.  The variables are many and the things that can cause problems are to.  This is why so many game software companies are moving to the game platforms, which leave the players no real options, no mission builders, nothing but arcade type games to play.  Let's face it, the idea sucks
The only platform that allows real player options is still the PC.

If the game works great if it doesn't then you get to deal with the software support team and some of these aren't very good at what they do and sometimes put the customer in an even worse mood.  For every factor you add you add the potential for more problems.  More problems = more unhappy customers.  So what does the ARMA people do now but add another problem.  Now you can't run ARMA 3 without a third party system called Steam! Which is run by Valve!  The more I learn about it and try to use it the more I hate it!  This thing can completely prevent your game from running all by itself.  The list of complaints on their's and other sites is in the thousands.  Now we have the game company who's selling a game that's not even finished.  The software which is buggy enough, the PC and now Steam to keep our game from working.  This problem has become evident enough it deserves an entire page all of it's own.

Steam Hazard!
Don't get burned!
I've spent a little time trying to learn what Steam is about and I can see it has some advantages but I also found out it's a HUGE spy system.  This software can read everything about your computer and inside your computer!  They don't even try to hide it there's a button and you can click it and ask to get your system details and it does!  I went down the list and yes it displays every single thing about my computer and every program that I have on it!

We know they access this software from their main system.
We know they can activate anything they want from there and if they want something from your computer they can take it and you won't ever know what they did.  Holy Shit Batman!  And this is one of my work computers!  We don't know who's at the controls over there!  We don't know if they are hackers or if some hacker might use their systems to invade our computers!  We don't know just how secure their system is but we do know even the government systems can't keep every hacker out.  Makes you feel kinda naked doesn't it?  Brace yourselves people this is the wave of the future.

This is the new home invasion especially if you have a camera and microphone on your computer!  At the moment I'm a member in good standing just trying to learn more about this THING but when they read my review they can turn my entire game off if they want.  Who knows what else they can turn off?

If I could find a way to turn it off I would but the problem now is the only way I can get the full deluxe update for my ARMA 3 is through Steam!  Makes me wonder if Obama is leading this invasion or if China or Russia is.

I know people who would never allow this kind of software on their computer but they love ARMA 1 and 2.  The loss in sales isn't a few it's in the hundreds of thousands.  As a business man myself I wouldn't risk losing the faithful.  They not only buy the game they tell their friends.  Best darn battle game in existence but then came Steam now everything's fogged up!

Sure I can see the advantages but I don't know who's running that thing!  I don't know who will be running it tomorrow either!  Who watches these people for us?

From the moment I fell in love with the ARMA series and bought 4 copies of ARMA I and 3 copies of ARMA 2 I've been pawing the ground for ARMA 3!

It came out on May 5th and people who bought ARMA 3 Alpha couldn't get their keys and those who did get their keys couldn't download their game!

I bought ARMA 3 Deluxe full version of the game for $50 and it's the STEAM version of the game.  I had no idea what Steam was and I was in for an education!  I had to search for the link to download STEAM first and belive me that wasn't easy since they said "use the link here" and there was no visible link!  After sending them a message about that I went back several times trying to find the link!  I finally took my mouse pointer and scanned every word in that line that says "Use this link", every word was the same color, white and over the word link it indicated there was a link!  NO SHIT!  There it was!

No self respecting webmaster would ever do that especially if they are making their living selling something.  I run 11 websites and I'm not even a professional webmaster but I know a link must be clearly different than the rest of the text.

I finally downloaded and installed Steam and when I got my key I entered it into their Add New Game and it gave me a download button, for what?  For ARMA 3 Alpha!  The $30 version of ARMA3 that's completely stripped down and almost useless!  It only has a few vehicles and weapons and comes with a handful of missions.

I have AT&T Uverse fiber optics network, one of the fastest available today.  According to their site it should have taken me about 2 hours to download the ARMA 3 Alpha version of the game.  Thinking perhaps their site was advertising the wrong game and that by chance I might actually get ARMA 3 Deluxe I hit the button.  I spent a full 6 hours downloading the wrong version of the game!

When it was done a window opened that asked if I wanted to install it and I hit the button and it said "cannot install this software!"  Why not I asked and there was another window just like it and I hit the button and it said the same thing then closed.  I noticed STEAM had a button now that said "Play the game" and I hit that button and left the room since I had better things to do than deal with more problems.

Later I came back and ARMA 3 Alpha was running!  I opened it and stared at the opening window and clicking the buttons to see what was there for the next 29 min.  I know because Steam keeps track of every moment you have your game on the screen even if you aren't playing it!  Far as I'm concerned it's none of their damned business.  Like we need them telling us how long we play a game.

The following day I played with ARMA3 for 8 full hours testing the mission building features, flying and driving around their island and even having myself a few battles with the enemy forces.

The graphics are the most impressive I've seen in a game of this kind on a PC.

The game action is the most realistic that I've seen in the ARMA series.

Sounds, bullet action, most of it is much more realistic than previous versions.

The AI is considerably better than the AI in the previous two version of ARMA.  However the soldiers still suck at driving vehicles!  I put a guy behind the wheel of a vehicle and told him to drive to a certain location and he couldn't get there to save his life.  He ran over a friendly soldier backed up then ran straight into a building and that's where he stopped!  Dear God I hope the deluxe version of the game is better than this!  Just like the previous two versions of ARMA I had to take the wheel myself to get the vehicle where I wanted it.

The helicopters collective is seriously limited in the Alpha version of the game.  You can pull it all the way back and wait while it takes all day to get altitude.  You can push it all the way forward and wait while it loses altitude.  You can get shot down before you can lose altitude and you can fly into a mountain before you can gain altitude.  It's so slow in fact you can drop collective all the way and it will land safely!  All right, maybe it's the Alpha version of the game and maybe they fixed it in the full version of the game.  I don't know, they didn't give me what I paid for so I can't say.

I checked my messages and there were none from BiStudio to help me resolve the problem with the fact I bought the deluxe version and ended up being given the alpha version so I went to their website and to the forums to see if I could find help there.  I posted a message telling everyone what had happened to me and how I had not heard anything yet.  I saw others were having similar problems but I didn't see any messages where they described the same problem.

I tried to log back in there this morning and it won't accept my log on.  It kept saying my logon info was wrong.  I had it written down and I knew it wasn't wrong!  I tried to log on there until it finally locked me out.  Then I went over to the forgot password thing put my e-mail address in there and their site tells me they have no such E-mail address registered!  OH YEAH! My OneNote says different.  I have the conformation message that I joined them yesterday!  What happened ?  Did they nuke my membership?  If so why?  Are they just that screwed up?

I go back over there and read the last message posted by their El-Capation and it explains how BiStudio screwed up and how they now have hundreds of thousands of complaints from customers who didn't get what they paid for and how they shut down certain parts of their site while they try to resolve the flood of messages they are now receiving!  The guy said basically "please don't send us anymore messages we are trying to resolve this as fast as we can."

I went down the list and saw more complaints from customers and finally found one who hates Steam as much as I do.  In fact that outfit needs to have a review of their own posted to warn others about their operations.  In one of my messages to BiStudio I told them I will not do business with Steam and if there's any way I can get this game in another non Steam version please let me know.

With that in mind and knowing how ARMA 1 and 2 installed I went to find where Steam had hidden my ARMA 3 Alpha and I found it.  I also learned you can click on the ARMA3.exe file and create a shortcut to it that doesn't go through Steam!  HA!  Yeah and it runs the game without making you see the Steam ads.  Now I am starting to see a little hope but I have no use for Steam and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Backing up a bit when I find boxed software in the store or online I can be fairly sure what's on the cover is what's in the box.  More often than not when I find a store that sells download software I generally get what they sell me and installing it isn't hard and the game runs usually as well as the boxed version.  With Steam I wasn't sure if BiStudio gave me the wrong key or if Steam gave me the wrong software for the right key.  It's clear there's problems in their communications with each other and the infrastructure of their company.  Why they want another software company to market their software and further cause stress and problems for the customer I don't know.

There's no point holding my breath waiting for BiStudio to fix the mess because I'll be long dead before they do.  I'll just play with ARMA 3 Alpha LITE for awhile and hope they do get the problems resolved soon.