Why it matters: This week, Bohemia Interactive unveiled Enfusion, the game engine it plans to use for all future titles. The game engine boasts visual improvements, scalability, performance, flexibility, and user-friendliness. While the developer didn't explicitly say "Arma 4," it did confirm any future Arma game would use this engine.
Bohemia built Enfusion in C++ and implements the Enforce OOP scripting language. It carries support for Direct X 12 and uses HLSL shaders. It is a cross-platform engine supporting PC, PlayStation, and Xbox development. The Enfusion website extensively details its features and what they mean for creators and players.
When it comes to graphics, Enfusion will focus more on creating natural-looking, "believable" environments than "flexing with cutting-edge graphics technology." From there, Bohemia's description of the game engine reads like a laundry list of Arma's and DayZ's greatest strengths as well as all their flaws, which Enfusion promises to maintain and address.
The 2013 Arma 3 runs on the Real Virtuality engine, Bohemia has been iterating since the 1990s. Despite the game's age, its performance is still notoriously bad on modern computers due to poor CPU utilization. The Enforce engine website specifically mentions "16-core PC Master Race builds" when talking about performance while also saying it will run better across various PCs and consoles.
Bohemia games are known for complex sandbox simulation gameplay, so it decided to keep using in-house tech instead of something like Unreal. However, those games are also known for convoluted controls and user interfaces. Enfusion promises to maintain that complexity while streamlining the user experience and improving animations. The site includes a clip of a seamless transition into a vehicle---something Arma has never managed before.
Modding is arguably what Bohemia games are most well-known for, as Arma mods spawned the entire battle royale genre. Enfusion developers made the same tools they use in the game engine available to modders, including editors for maps, terrain, visual effects, animations, scripts, user interface, language, and audio. Modders can even bring in assets from Blender.
Unfortunately, Arma modders will have to relearn everything from scratch. Those used to creating for DayZ, on the contrary, will have a bit of a head start because that game already runs on pieces of the Enfusion engine. With a bit of effort, modders can port some existing 3D models into Enfusion, though anything in SQF script will need to be rebuilt.
The most significant change to modding with Enfusion is that Bohemia will use its own system for cross-platform mods, which sounds similar to how Bethesda lets modders publish Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition mods across PC and consoles. Arma and DayZ mods currently rely on Steam Workshop and independent sites like Armaholic. Bohemia doesn't plan to license out Enfusion or let users monetize Enfusion engine mods but hasn't entirely ruled it out.
Bohemia doesn't mention a release date and says work on Enfusion is far from over. "We are going to make it available as soon as we have a solid gameplay showcase."