Nearly three years after it was first announced, Bohemia Interactive is shutting down the Arma 2 Free servers, the free-to-play version of the military simulation game. If you were one of its dedicated players, there's good news: Bohemia is trying to soften the blow with a sale on the Arma 2 franchise.
Arma 2: Free
Day Z is played on Arma 2's main map, Chernarus. It's a 225 km² foresty facsimile of the Czech Republic, and it's easy to get lost in (literally and figuratively). You don't spawn with a map or a compass, so you're left to use landmarks and road signs to orient yourself.
There's already a handy virtual Day Z map online, but Bohemia has put a wall-worthy paper map of Chernarus up for sale. Also included are hard copies of Operation Arrowhead areas Sahrani, Takistan, Shapur and Proving Grounds and eight Arma 2 postcards. Click over here to buy a Chernarus map.
I've been using mine (Bohemia was handing them out at E3 2011) throughout my Day Z diary. It beats asking bandits for directions.
Diablo 3 happened this week. We gathered to talk about the server frustrations, our characters (Josh's Witch Doctor build is best described as "throwing animals at people"), our favorite abilities, and what we aren't liking. We also brainstorm what new character class we'd like to see in a Diablo 3 expansion.
After that, Evan gushes about Day Z, the open-world zombie survival mod for Arma 2.
PC Gamer US Podcast 316: Diablo 3, Day Z
Day Z will be one of the most important things to happen in gaming this year. It's an open-world, persistent, PvP and PvE zombie survival mod built atop a hardcore military simulator. And despite its harsh mechanics, permadeath, and absence of instruction, it's spreading like wildfire. More than 48,000 unique players are in the alpha, and the thing you need to play it, Arma 2: Combined Operations, hovered at the top of Steam top sellers this week.
I spoke the mod's creator, Dean "Rocket" Hall, over Skype. We chatted for an hour about player emotions, AI programming, Minecraft, and what features to expect next in Day Z—like dog companions. Hall joined Bohemia Interactive in January as a Game Designer on Arma 3.
Read, and be shaken by your shoulders: the open-world zombie game you’ve probably always wanted exists. It’s called Day Z.
It runs as a mod for Arma 2: Combined Operations, in a haunted version of Arma’s 225 km² imitation of the Czech Republic, Chernarus. It isn’t perfect. The servers are usually full. But it is an incredible adaptation of the things Arma does well: emergent gameplay, making you feel vulnerable and powerful, decision making, managing supplies, and tense teamwork.
Maybe I'm getting mushy about a game I tend to not shut up about, but this clip captures so much of the uncertainty, fun panic, on-the-fly decision-making and teamwork that I love about Arma.
It doesn't feature sick headshots set to this song. There're a few lulls. There's no flashy camera work. But it does showcase real communication, spatial awareness, patience, improvisation, and a little bravery. Stuff unique to the multiplayer we're privy to on PC. Listen closely, and you can distinguish between the proximity-based and simulated radio voice chatter.
Okay, a guy does get trapped inside level geometry at one point. We cannot pretend to understand war.
Realistic military sim ARMA 2 has been updated to version 1.60 by developers Bohemia. The patch covers Operation Arrowhead, the British Armed Forces and Private Military Contractors DLC, the original Arma 2 and Arma 2: Free. Among the whopping 158 changes are a new anti-aliasing mode, new scripting commands, smoother multiplayer, netcode fixes and improved AI. More important fixes include, “AI no longer considering a car horn as a threat,” and “Dead body temperature was not saved.”
The Bohemians have also created a Christmas message for all their fans, which is so incredibly festive we’re about to explode in a shower of tinsel and fake snow.
Changelog highlights after the break.
Four new Arma 3 screenshots have appeared on the Bohemia Interactive forums, spotted by VG247. They show some more of Arma 3's vehicles, including a column of tanks and a jet flying so high we swear it's possible to spot PC Gamer towers somewhere below.
For more Arma 3, check out the E3 screenshots, the recent tech demo video showing the improved physics engine, and make a note of the system requirements. The new Arma will need a beast of a machine to run when it comes out next year.
This video demonstration for German mag, GameStar, spied by RPS, gives us our first look at Arma 3 in motion. Bohemia designer Ivan Buchta takes us through some of the improved physics, grenade effects, vehicle interiors and underwater sections that will feature in Arma 3, though the astonishing vistas threaten to steal the show.
Those impressive draw distances will require a hefty machine to render. Bohemia released the game's system specifications when they announced Arma 3 at E3. you can find full details in our Arma 3 announcement post, and get closer to those landscapes in the E3 Arma 3 screenshots.
Arma 3 was announced at E3 this year with talk of an "open-ended" single player campaign and "sandbox-oriented combat gameplay." In a recent interview with Everyeye, spotted by Blues News, Bohemia designer Ivan Buchta expanded on this, revealing that Arma 3 single player will let you take quests form NPCs in an open-ended environment, and even pursue side missions to get hold of better equipment, support or new vehicles.
A quiet week for free PC games - pretty much all I could find was something called an ArmA 2 and some sort of war-themed hat simulator. Team Fortress 2 mean anything to you? Apparently that's free now. Luckily, the lineup is bolstered by some gorgeous indie gems.
One of the biggest surprise announcements of E3 this year was that Arma 2 would be going free to play. Just a few weeks after that announcement, Arma 2 is now free to play. You can grab the 960MB download right here. Thanks to RPS for the heads up.
The free version will let you play the full game, including multiplayer, but locks off the highest graphics settings and cuts out mod support and the single player campaigns. Full map editing tools are present in the free version. If you've always been tempted to try a hyper-realistic war sim, this is one you have to try. We'll see you on the battlefield.
It's been a very busy year for PC news at E3. All last week we were bombarded with new trailers, announcements, screenshots and interviews from LA. We got to see some of the most exciting games of the next few years demoed right before our eyes. You can find all of our E3 2011 posts right here. If you don't fancy clicking through five days of madness, we've compiled the biggest stories of this year's conference into one post with links to all the best trailers, screens and stories of the show.