Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a fun game with some design problems and technical issues. This mod aims to improve the game as much as possible.

Post news RSS April 2019 Status Update

It has been approximately two years since the game released, and four months since the mod's last update. With the release of 0.51.0, I decided to look at the past, present, and future of both this mod and the series.

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What's New?:

The April 2019 update brings a nice selection of bug fixes and Improvement Project changes. I am particularly proud that I was able to finally squash the phantom gadget icon bug.

(General)
Mitigated phantom gadget icon bug after player death.
Mitigated problem where removing gadgets from player inside weapon cache did not in fact remove them from the inventory.
Fixed missing menu description for magnum rounds.
Fixed Darya Kuznetsov cowering and looping the same line of dialogue over and over like a broken record.
Changed "generic" torso damage from 10x to 1.1x to match general behavior, made arrow damage match other body types.
Fix for falling through terrain at fast travel point in Dam region.
Removed broken arrow trail effect. Instead of creating an arrow trail, it was creating a glitchy looking white flash upon impact.
Removed misaligned Herrwalt 99 muzzle smoke.
Improved installer script to fix some oversights and make it easier for people to understand.

(Improvement Project Only)
Made Police Truck driveable. (Only appears in dam region, used by 23 Society.)
Tentatively implemented drivable Patrol Boat in Mining Town.
Fixed misc bugs with drivable vehicles.
Reduced ammo/gadget/medkits player can carry to be closer to vanilla.
Removed ammo bonus on first acquisition, since it created situations where players could easily gain a large number of bullets.
Increased amount of "food" gained from some animals to help with medkit crafting.
Slightly increased crafting cost for barbed arrows.
Moved sawn-off shotgun from secondary to sidearm category. The sawn-off was originally a sidearm, but was changed in an official patch. The sawn-off is more tactically useful as a sidearm.
Increased health of war criminals to make them more challenging.
New starting loadout for Sabotage DLC will no longer trigger fullscreen weapon acquired messages.


Download SGW3 Improvement Project 0.51.2 - Mod DB

The Phantom Menace:

SGW3 has a bug that has irritated me since I first played the game. When you die, your inventory is not correctly reset. You no longer have your gadget equipped, but the HUD icon doesn't reflect that. For a long time, I thought fixing this would be impossible. However, a few weeks ago, I finally hit upon an idea. After a week or so of experimentation and debugging, I finally managed to craft a hack that does a satisfactory job of solving the issue.

In the process, I also created a second hack that similarly destroys and repopulates the player's inventory after they use the weapon cache. This fixes a bug where removing gadgets from the inventory didn't in fact remove them from the inventory -- they were still accessible by pressing O to cycle through the gadgets. The second hack is unfortunately less elegant but I think it's a worthy tradeoff.

It is essential that when players see a gadget icon, and they press the use gadget button, the gadget works correctly. Players need to be able to trust their instruments, so to speak. If there's no icon, no gadget is equipped. If there is an icon, that gadget is equipped. If players can't trust that gadgets are actually equipped without second guessing themselves, they're less likely to use gadgets when they most need them.

Boom-Boom Shakalaka:

When SGW3 was released, the sawn-off shotgun was a side-arm. It was changed to a secondary weapon in one of the patches. I never liked this change. The problem with the sawn-off as a secondary weapon is that it holds two shotgun shells, has a long-ish reload, and... has no real practical advantages over the other shotguns that hold 8 or so shells. But as a side-arm the sawn-off serves a valuable niche. A close quarters weapon where accuracy isn't a priority. For example, if you have a sniper rifle, a bow, and a sawn-off, you are equipped to handle enemies at long, medium, and short range. For this reason, in the Improvement Project, I have moved the sawn-off back to the side-arm slot. The sawn-off is unlocked relatively late in the game. I have contemplated overhauling the weapon unlock system, but I'm undecided.

The Installer:

I gave some consideration to utilizing a more professional exe-based installer for the mod. That is definitely something I might implement at a later date, but the batch script does a remarkably decent job, and I took the opportunity to improve it a bit. The installer now performs a write permissions check since administrative rights probably aren't needed in a lot of cases, and the installer now comes with an explanation of the various install options to help people decide.

Second Anniversary:

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 was released approximately two years ago, on the 25th of April, 2017. It goes without saying that the game should not have been released in April 2017. The beta in February 2017 had demonstrated that the game simply wasn't ready for release. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 had a turbulent development cycle involving immense ambition clashing with poor management.

One developers who worked on SGW3 until around 2016 created multiple maps as large as 16x16 kilometers, and none of their work made it into the final product. It is depressing to consider how much effort and skill was pissed up the wall because the game lacked direction and cohesion for literally years of its development cycle. The beta for SGW3 had traffic on the roads. The final game doesn't. The reason for this is that the traffic system was extremely prone to pile-ups and vehicles getting stuck. That a rather fundamental "living breathing world" mechanic was broken a month or two before release, and had to be scrapped, is a rather damning indication of how badly SGW3 was off the rails.

Also, the cripplingly low NPC spawn distances which this mod was originally created to fix were introduced relatively late in development in an attempt to get the game running at a playable framerate on consoles. Even with such compromises the game ran rather poorly, at least at launch.

Paul Robinson:

The game's plot was drastically altered late in development. SGW3 was originally written by the late Paul Robinson, a military consultant who worked on games like Full Spectrum Warrior. I have been told that Robinson was loved by the team making the game, and they wanted to help bring a deeply personal narrative to life, but a certain member of the company's management had a falling out with him, and he was fired.
Paul Robinson

Looking back at footage from 2015 and 2016 and interviews with the narrative director, Jess Lebow (I have no hard evidence but I suspect Jess Lebow was also fired considering the final game bears little resemblance to the one he demoed and spoke of in interviews, and he got pushed into Special Thanks instead of being credited as the Narrative Director), SGW3 was originally a dark, gritty game that called to mind Far Cry 2. The player would work for both sides of the Georgian conflict, and come to appreciate the nuances and understand why the people involved fought on the side they did. Players would question why they had to follow orders from the American military to kill people they had worked alongside, who had put their trust in the player.

It Took Actual Effort to Write a Plot this Bad:

Speaking as someone who has spent a great deal of time fixing SGW3 out of an admiration for what the game does well, the final version of the plot is terrible. There is no way on earth Paul Robinson's story was worse than what we got. If the original concept was Far Cry 2 in Georgia, the final product is a bad Steven Seagal movie. I don't blame the actors, by the way. They very clearly tried to bring their characters to life, but were dealing with poor material and poor voice direction. I believe that the random NPC dialogue comes from the Paul Robinson version of the game. That's the only way I can explain the complete tonal disconnect. The sheer gulf in writing quality between a random villager movingly talking about burying their children and the plot that treats the revelation that Jon's missing brother Robert, aka the bestest sniper ever, and the mysterious Armazi, the bestest sniper ever, are the SAME PERSON as an actual plot twist. I'm sorry, but the key idea behind a twist is that the audience doesn't expect it. SGW3's approach to plot twists is like Owen's murder mystery from Throw Momma From the Train. Owen asks, "What gave it [the murderer's identity] away?" Larry answers, "You only had two characters! One of which was dead on page two!"

There are tatters of the original plot in the final game. I don't know the full picture, but for example, the strange scene where Jon meets Lydia at the hotel and then they... sleep? Or something? (The scene doesn't really make sense.) That was likely a sex scene originally. There are references in the entity archetypes to nude Jon and Lea models (Lydia's name was Lea during development.) Plus Lea models at various stages of pregnancy. Plus assets for Jon/Lea's baby.

Lydia was criminally underused in SGW3. I would like to see the SGW series shift away from generic all-American tough-guy protagonists to something like Lydia. Yes, SGW3 was originally written by a former American soldier Paul Robinson, and I respect that the game once reflected him, in a sense. But he got fired and his version of the plot got murdered. So if they were going to rewrite the plot, it should have been about a tough Georgian woman named Lydia fighting for what she believed in and sometimes drinking shots with an Israeli agent named Raquel that she disliked, not this tough-talking American dude with a grizzled beard who rampages around Georgia being the world's second best sniper. (Just putting it out there, though, Jon has MAGNIFICENT whiskers. SGW3's character models are sometimes really, really good.) In the final version's context, Jon felt like an attempt to make the game sell better with American audiences much like the American journalist protagonist in Enemy Front. (Why would we want to play a French or Polish protagonist when we could play an American. Again.) Lydia's narrative in the game, and in her ridiculously brief DLC was personal. Was deeply rooted in the Russian/Georgian conflict. There were stakes and nuances that could have been explored.

The Developers:

I've been asked several times whether I work for CI Games, or am a former employee. I am neither of those things. I'm just a modder with a fair bit of CryEngine modding experience who saw an opportunity to polish a rough gem of a game. I do enjoy game design, but I'm not sure I'd ever want to work on games professionally considering the terrible conditions in the games industry.

oneformyhomies

While I am not affiliated with CI Games, I'd like to take this opportunity to draw my reader's attention to the fact that in early 2018, a large portion of the development team at CI Games was fired. It is true that game development is tough. It is true that sometimes circumstances beyond anyone's control lead to companies having to fire people otherwise they'll go bankrupt. But CI Games have a history of poor management. Of creative conflicts between management and senior developers that result in said senior developer(s) being fired. The studio has a negative reputation in the Polish game development scene. It doesn't sit right with me that the people who worked so hard to bring SGW3 to life and who were likely at that point working hard on SGW: Contracts were the ones who lost their jobs, while the person, or even people, who demanded ill-conceived changes and trend chasing, forced the developers to crunch, and pushed for an unrealistic release date didn't suffer in the slightest.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior - Contracts:

SGWContracts 1200x628

I have heard that Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is going to be shown at E3 this year, aiming for a 2019 release. I am optimistic about the game. Despite the layoffs, I think that the studio has very talented people trying to make the best game they can. It's my hope that SGW Contracts is a truly good game. Not a good game with an asterisk. A game that isn't full of bugs. That isn't saddled with a terrible story after executive meddling. That isn't buckling under the weight of mismatched tech ambition. At its best, SGW3 is a thrilling experience with teeth that are missing from the extremely mass market Ubisoft branch of the Far Cry series. It's my hope that SGW:C can take the best elements of SGW3's outpost-based missions and distill them into something with strong replay value. It's my hope that SGW Contracts bites the bullet (boom-tish), and goes with a female protagonist. Failing that, have male and female character options. Perhaps have different characters with different skills. One character could pick locks, the other hack computers, stuff like that.

On a slight tangent, I've dislike how some of the female characters in SGW3 are portrayed. This kinda thing was just tasteless, you know?

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 201705042

The story was trying to paint these characters as tough, capable women, while frequently ogling them in cutscenes. If SGW: Contracts has a female lead, and the promotional art does feature a female sniper so it's definitely a possibility, I hope they've matured beyond this kind of thing.

I also hope that SGW: Contracts allows similar levels of modding to SGW3. Or even more. Official mod support would be absolutely wonderful. If Kingdom Come Deliverance can do it, why can't SGW: Contracts?

What's Next?:

Back in January 2017, I posted my thoughts on SGW3, along with a list of problems that I wanted to fix, but at the time had no clue how I would go about doing so, or even if fixing those problems was possible. To my great pleasure, I found solutions to most of the issues I raised, as well as many issues I didn't think to raise at the time. I got extremely lucky with SGW3. The game was built in a way that inadvertently facilitated modding. Partially because it used CryEngine, but also because of certain choices made by the developers. (Choices that helped modding, but also resulted in ramping cheating in the game's MP, to be fair.) Certain console commands were not locked down. The game's unserialized lua files were included. Commented versions of some xml files were included. I was able to figure out a great deal by carefully poking through the files, and also looking through plaintext left inside the executable. As an example, the command to read and write console commands through Lua files was discovered in a commented line inside the game's exe. If I had never found that, implementing an elegant fix for the broken day/night system would never have been possible. It took a huge amount of contemplation, and many hours of experimentation, but I found solutions to problems that I genuinely didn't think could be fixed at the time.

There is always room for improvement. I see avenues to further fix bugs, restore cut content, and generally refine the game. However, I can't make any promises. This could be the last update. Or there could be a hundred updates to come. Nothing is certain. I'm very pleased with what I've accomplished so far, and I am very grateful to everyone who has chosen to play SGW3 with my mod.

Comments
Cankler
Cankler

Thanks for making all of this.
Also thanks for that little storytelling.
At first i hated "City Interactive", they were this little company who delevoped all these ****** Shooter Games. But they got better and better in my opinion then the official "AAA" Companys. They really got me with "Alien Rage" (one of my most loved Games). And i really love "Ghost Warrior 3".
So thanks again for doing this.

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PRinceBhai
PRinceBhai

You're not a modder.

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Ambient_Malice Author
Ambient_Malice

When you say, "You're not a modder," what do you mean by that? The reason I understand how SGW3 (and other CryEngine games) work is because I was a Far Cry 1 modder once upon a time and released a variety of mods under different names. I've also created mods for other games.

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lowenz
lowenz

WOW!

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Tepp
Tepp

Thanx again for your work! And for the story. A'm also looking forward for a new version, but I'm a bit skeptical. If they didn't see this mod and won't implement what you did ... I don't know, man ... I don't know.

O, and for the speculation about female character in SGWC: what I can say is that she's not even looking where she is shooting! Look at the picture!!! ... :)

Probably she can't stand the sight of blood, probably she is thinking about what will she cook for dinner, or who will take her children from school. Look at her face, she's not there. Probably she doesn't like to kill people at all ... :) But, man, a good sniper should love his/her work ... :)))

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InnocentClarke
InnocentClarke

One thing I will say is that I'm glad the idea of Lea/Lydia becoming pregnant with your kid didn't make it in. That's... really not the sort of thing I would want in my game about a sniper going around sniping people. Maybe it would've worked in a different context, especially a book, but it feels more than a little out of place in an action video game.

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FernandoGuillmen
FernandoGuillmen

Hi. I started playing this game this week and I really enjoyed it. I have an question.

Can I continue my saved game after installing this patch or do you recommend starting a new game?

Congratulations and thank you for your effort and dedication in creating this pacth.

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brandao11
brandao11

Hey Fernando. Yes you can i just tryed it and it works with previeus save! Enjoy

Thanks alot Ambient_malice

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SnS-Reasons
SnS-Reasons

Hi! Awesome work that is happening, and CryEngine applicable to SGW 3 is available for free, not sure when it became free, but i downloaded it from the Official Site today..

Long story short, I am a mapper using 3ds max, Mudbox, and Unreal Engine (have also worked with Hammer and Radiant), but have good working knowledge of most terrain and asset placement systems, however never tied mapping for any CryEngine games (Dunia doesn't count,does it lol ;)).

Made a handful of Far Cry 3 maps but Assets cannot be custom in those games.

Hoping to make Very Interesting and Playable Multiplayer Maps and [i]possibly[/i] even a small-to-mid-size Campaign, like a DLC... The community would love it, and exposure on a game like this is great for the workers.

Please add me on Steam if interested in using CryEngine to build maps, lord knows i would need one heck of a kickstart to get custom models in the game unless youtube has good tutorial videos.

Thanks!

Steam Name: Nickelz

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