Arma 3 hails people of every flavor from all over the world. To get to know them a little better, we're hosting a series of mini-interviews with some of our amazing community members. These aim to give you a personal insight into their backgrounds, why they got into Arma, and how they typically experience the game. In this issue, we interview mharis001, creator of Zeus Enhanced and contributor to ACE3 and ACRE2.
Location: Ontario, Canada
Occupation: Graduate Student (Computer Science)
Can you provide us with one random fact about yourself?
I can speak three languages.
What's the first Arma game you played?
What is your current Arma 3 playtime?
What is your favorite game of all time?
Red Dead Redemption 2 is my favorite game of all time. I loved the original Red Dead Redemption and had high expectations for the sequel, and it surpassed them in every way. There is a certain magic to Red Dead Redemption 2 that no other game has. From the huge but very detailed open world, to the incredible story and fun gameplay, or the amazing graphics, the game does everything right. If anyone reading this has not played it yet, I highly recommend it..
Outside of video games, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
I enjoy watching F1 and other racing events. I also play chess, much less now but played almost everyday when I was younger.
Can you show us your PC setup?
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
How and why did you get into Arma?
I have always been into first-person shooters, especially those with a focus on tactics and realism. I got into Arma through some friends pushing me to try it and I fell in love with Arma 3 almost immediately. I loved the scale of the combat and variety of the roles you could play. Furthermore, as a person who has always been into creating and programming, the creative sandbox that Arma 3 provided was incredible. It quickly went from a game to play with friends to a full-time hobby.
How do you play or engage with Arma 3 nowadays?
I still actively play Arma 3 with a small group of friends that simulate a special operations realism unit. We have been playing together for several years and my favorite part is our focus on small unit tactics. From time to time, I play other Arma 3 content such as KOTH or, somewhat recently, the S.O.G. Prairie Fire co-op campaign. I am also engaged with Arma 3 as a modder, primarily through the ZEN, ACE3, and ACRE2 mods.
Can you tell us about the Zeus Enhanced (ZEN) project?
Zeus Enhanced is a project that I started because, at the time, there was no mod like it. While other mods that expanded the functionality of Zeus existed, I felt that they lacked features that I would want as a game master myself, did not push what is possible with a real-time editor, and often had poor quality codebases. ZEN was built with communities who use Zeus as their primary mission making tool in mind by enabling curators with powerful tools to create dynamic scenarios in an efficient manner. The goal was to completely change the level of control Zeus provided over a mission while never compromising on code quality, following the same standards as the ACE3 project. Looking back, I think we have accomplished that goal. With unique features like the context menu and the editor object preview images, ZEN is what I think Zeus was always meant to be.
What is your role within the ACE3 / ACRE2 team and how did you get involved in the project?
I am part of the ACE Team as a maintainer, which involves volunteering time to develop features, investigate issues, and review pull requests. Getting involved in the ACE3 project is how I got fully invested in Arma 3 modding. Originally, I would make missions and experiment with writing some small scripts for them, but never really made a mod. Some time later, I found out that ACE3 was open-source and started contributing things I wanted to share with the community as part of the mod. Through this work, I became proficient at Arma 3 modding and, eventually, was invited to join the ACE Team.
Do you have any other mod projects in the works that you could tell us about?
Unfortunately, there are no new mod projects that I am working on right now. Most of the work I do now is maintaining the mods I am already involved with.
What is your favorite piece of Arma 3 user-created content (mod, addon, scenario, game mode, tool) and why?
This might be a boring answer, but my favorite piece of Arma 3 content is the CBA_A3 mod. CBA has transformed Arma 3 modding and raised the bar for the quality of mods that are possible in Arma 3. I would never consider trying to do any non-trivial scripting without CBA.
Can you tell us about your most remarkable Arma moment?
As a player, my most memorable moment has been playing in 80+ player joint missions on the Reshmaan Province map as part of a multi-unit community based on JSOC. Being involved in such complex and large-scale missions was an amazing experience.
As a modder, my most memorable moment is finally releasing the Zeus Enhanced (ZEN) mod after consistently working on it for over a year. I was excited to share what I had worked on for a significant amount of time and receiving positive comments and support from the community was very rewarding.
Can you share your #1 pro-tip for any Arma 3 player?
Following from the previous question, I would suggest all modders use CBA and avoid the Scheduler (I recommend reading the BI Wiki page on this).
And for players, the pro-tip would be to remember "violence of action." Speed and aggression are often your most powerful weapon; so, don't be afraid to pull the trigger.
With the release of Arma Reforger and modding tools for Enfusion Engine, what are you looking forward to with the franchise as we move along the road to Arma 4?
I am looking forward to modding Arma as it moves to a truly modern game engine, although I am going to miss SQF and its beautiful simplicity. I think as the Enfusion scripting language and modding tools mature, we are going to see some amazing mods in future Arma games that just were not possible until now. Having played around with the Arma Reforger Game Master mode, I am excited to see what features we can bring from ZEN to Reforger and Arma 4, and what new powerful real-time editor functionality we can build.
BONUS: If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would be your very first expense?
A trip to Japan and buying a Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 in Bayside Blue.
To finish the interview, do you have anything you'd like to share with the Arma community?
I want to thank the amazing Arma community for many awesome years. The passion of the players, mission makers, content creators, and mod developers is at the core of what makes Arma great. Here’s to many more splendid years in Arma 3 and beyond.