ShackTac User Interface
ShackTack's primary Arma 3 interface mods are now wrapped up in a packaged known as “ShackTac UI”, which can be downloaded through the Steam Workshop or PlayWithSix. This compilation includes the following:
- 1 Fireteam HUD
- 2 Group Indicators
- 3 Name Tags
- 4 Stamina Bar
- 5 Map Autobrightness
- 6 Customization Through CBA Settings
- 7 Credits
The ShackTac Fireteam HUD was designed to do the following:
- Provide situational awareness on where your fireteam members are and what their orientation is. This is intended to represent both peripheral vision, as well as the extended awareness one has in reality. You only see your fireteam members relative to you – no terrain, no other players/units.
- Give you an always-visible way of seeing who your team members are
How it works
As long as you are in a group, and not inside of a vehicle, you will see the Fireteam HUD displaying at the bottom-center of your screen. There are three circles – the first one indicates a range of 15m, next is 30m, last is 50m.
The current group leader will display as a white icon. If you are not the group leader, you will display as a yellow icon. Other team members will show as green icons. Medics/Corpsmen, automatic riflemen, anti-tank troops, and leaders will show with special icons.
When a unit is in a vehicle, their unit role icon will be replaced by a vehicle role icon. This will icon will indicate whether they're a driver, gunner, commander, passenger, or a passenger in a fire-from-vehicle (FFV) seat.
Color-coding group members is supported – to use, simply use the in-game team assignment feature – the changes will be made to the HUD after a few moments.
The STHUD has a default compass overlaid into it. You can disable this through the fthud_usermenu feature. This compass is tied to your in-game compass item, so if you do not have one, it will not show.
When inside of a vehicle yourself, a compass bearing indicating your current view direction will be placed at the top of the STHUD. This is intended as a fail-safe, always-present UI element, allowing vehicle crews to use standardized communication without needing to rely on every vehicle being configured to have the same style of Arma compass.
Occlusion is taken into consideration when displaying units on the STHUD. If you do not have a valid line-of-sight on a unit, their marker will begin to fade away, becoming invisible after a few moments. Reestablishing line-of-sight will cause the marker to fade in again. Moving through dense terrain such as heavy woods or jungle thus makes keeping line of sight that much more important.
- The appearance of someone’s marker, or their name, does not necessarily mean that they are alive. If you move close enough to a dead group unit to see their STNT dead nametag, they'll be automatically removed from your STHUD. When you die, the HUD will automatically close.
- This has been designed to work with a “Small” or “Very Small” GUI size, so for best results, try it like that. The STHUD currently supports a max of twelve names displayed. Longer names will be truncated to prevent multi-line usage.
In previous iterations, the UserMenu allowed you to change a few different things from the UI directly. However, the UserMenu's only purpose in the current version is for resetting the HUD. The menu is brought up by pressing alt-shift-H in-game. For some of the other options that were allowed in previous versions of the UserMenu, see the customization through CBA Settings section.
- Allows you to restart the HUD. This is useful if you change into/out of window mode and the HUD distorts/disappears, but shouldn’t need to be used otherwise.
Squad Bar Hiding (minimalist mode, optional)
The HUD can be configured to convey the core information that is otherwise found in the Squad Bar of Arma, which typically looks like this:
To enable our hidden squad bar mode, set the bool STHud_NoSquadBarMode to true in a mission or mission framework. Alternatively, you can toggle this setting from the corresponding field in the CBA Settings menu.
When in this mode, the HUD will now indicate unit selections by a > in front of the name, as you see in this image.
When you select any unit, you will see numbers next to the names that correspond to the F-key required to select the unit. This is needed for situations where group members change in a fashion that alters what number they are, versus what number they are in the list.
Note that this does not support more than 12 members in a group currently. If that's important to you, keep the squad bar enabled.
STGI is designed to take the existing vanilla group icon concept and flesh it out into something more usable – instead of being a perfect representation of team members at any distance, we’ve made it a more interesting package that helps to preserve functionality while increasing depth.
- Group member coloring. As with STHUD, group colors will be reflected in the color of the group indicator. This helps to allow for easier buddy-team usage and less of a need to look at STHUD to determine that information.
- Transparency. STGI icons are less visible than the default ones and will fade to half of their normal brightness when night falls. This makes them viable for identification, but not distracting or intrusive.
- Distance fade. STGI icons will begin to fade out starting at 30m, becoming completely invisible at 60m range. This makes them useful for close-range coordination and identification, emphasizing team cohesion while making for more interesting identify friend/foe situations when people fall behind or get split up.
- Removal of the “stay in formation” indicator. This is a little caret that was intended to let you know where the AI expected you to be in a given formation – as it’s not relevant for player usage, it’s been removed.
- Occlusion system. When you don't have line of sight on a unit, their group indicator will not be visible.
The ShackTac Name Tags system – STNT – was designed to replace the existing Arma nametags in order to make them more usable and interesting. This is intended to be used alongside ShackTac HUD and the ShackTac Group Indicators.
STNT tags show two pieces of information – the player’s name and his group name, with the player’s name being slightly larger for clarity. The display of the group name is intended to give easy at-a-glance “What unit is this?” identification.
The tags will fade over distance, with the name being visible for twice as far as the group. The furthest you’ll see a name tag at is 40 meters, and this distance changes based on the lighting conditions. You’ll see the tags at shorter distances during dusk or dawn, and at much shorter ranges at night. If you have nightvision on, you’ll be able to see the tags better at night than otherwise, but still not at daytime distances.
If group colors are being used within a group, each member of the group will see people’s names displayed in the appropriate colors. This only happens within your own group – all other players will display with green names.
Dead friendly units will display name tags from a very close range, like so:
A few other notes:
- The group tags will be colored white for units within your own group, and pale green for people in other groups.
- Tags will appear instantly when moused over a player, but will fade away when you mouse away from them.
- Living enemies will never display name tags – only people on your own side will do so.
- If you move within range to see the dead name tag of a group member, they'll be automatically removed from the STHUD group.
The ShackTac Stamina Bar is a mod created to help give a subtle visualization of your current stamina level. This has no prerequisites.
This is a very simple way to maintain awareness of your stamina state. In reality it’s very easy to tell how tired you are, how long it will take to recover, etc – whereas in a game, having breathing or screen-dimming effects doesn’t convey the same detail of information. One of the concerns about any sort of stamina representation is that it could clutter the UI, and because of that, I’ve gone to extra effort to ensure this is a very subtle visualization.
The stamina bar appears in the lower-left of the screen, mostly translucent at the start. As fatigue increases, the bar becomes more visible and begins to fill up, changing color smoothly from green to red as you accumulate stamina.
A few other features:
- The stamina bar is disabled if driver, gunner, or commander of a vehicle. Passengers will still see their stamina. This is intended to allow an embarked infantryman to know how their stamina is recovering while in a vehicle, whereas it’s assumed that the driver, gunner, and commander are staying in their vehicle and don’t need to know that info.
- The stamina bar will disappear once the camera perspective and the player model are sufficiently far apart (~5 meters). This makes it usable in third-person, but if you go into a camera mode or similar, it will disappear in order to allow for easy cinematic shots without the UI element being there.
Put simply, the map will automatically darken when dusk/night falls, then brighten again at dawn/daytime. Map Autobrightness should disable if ACE3 map is loaded, since it has similar functionality
Customization Through CBA Settings
You can now customize a variety of settings directly from the CBA Settings menu. CBA Settings allow for easy configuration of the STUI for only your client, the server as a whole, or just for a specific mission. This system also has the benefit of allowing you as a server admin, or mission creator, to force settings being synced across all clients. For further information on how to force and sync settings across a mission, or server, see the server and mission settings portion on the CBA wiki.
To access the STUI settings you start by hitting Escape > Options > Game > Configure Addons > Choosing "STUI Settings" as the ADDON. After navigating to that screen you should see the following:
There are nine fonts available to chose from. The default font is "PuristaSemiBold".
The HUD Mode options from the dropdown are as follows:
- No HUD or Names
- Show Only HUD
- Show Only Names
- Show Both HUD and Names (default)
Icon occlusion can be enabled or disabled by checking the corresponding box. By default, it's enabled.
No Squad Bar
No Squad Bar can be enabled or disabled by checking the corresponding box. By default No Squad Bar is disabled, meaning the squad bar is visible. See the Squad Bar Hiding section for more information.
Remove Dead from Group when in Proximity
The feature of removing dead units from your group after you look at them from a short distance can be enabled or disabled by checking the corresponding box. By default, it's enabled.
Whether or not the text on the STHUD has a shadow can be controlled from the Text Shadow dropdown. The options are:
- No shadow
- Shadow (default)
Color Blind Mode (experimental)
There are nine color blind modes available. The default mode is "Normal".