ArmA 2: Operation Arrowhead

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The Mod of the Year 2012: DayZ

Evan Lahti at

If XCOM reminded us of the value of loss in 2012, DayZ was a valuable lesson in hardship. The Arma 2 mod was one of the least-forgiving and most intimidating games of the year. It was a shooter that you entered without a gun. Arma’s control scheme made actions such as inventory management a hassle; its 225km2 landscape asked you to run mini-marathons to get around, often without a map. Permadeath and persistency lent consequence to every action. And in its alpha state, DayZ was buggy and vulnerable to hackers.

1.3 million people played it.


The War Z interview: Sergey Titov responds to backlash, sale removal from Steam

Evan Lahti at

On Monday, zombie survival shooter-MMO The War Z became available on Steam as a "Foundation Release." The same day, complaints began to arise that the game's page in the Steam store misrepresented and exaggerated its content by mentioning features that weren't yet integrated. This morning, Valve took the game off sale, admitting that a mistake was made in "prematurely" making The War Z available for purchase. Valve has extended an invitation to refund purchases through Steam Support, an exception to Valve's usually-rigid refund rules. Those who bought the game through Steam are still able to play it, and The War Z remains for sale on its website.

Following these events, I contacted executive producer Sergey Titov via email to ask about The War Z's troubled release on Steam, if he agrees with Valve's decision to take the game off sale, and what he expects the game's immediate future to be.


Military simulation sizzle reel: Watch ShackTac's Year In Review video

Evan Lahti at

We've celebrated the realistic fake war-waging of Arma 2 community ShackTac in our Realism Theater posts this year. We admire ShackTac's "Serious Fun" approach to playing Arma 2: even outside the context of mil-simming, it's inspiring to watch a bunch of people invested in each others' fun and to see them express that through mods, missions, and videos they create themselves.

ShackTac founder and documenteur Dslyecxi has put up his annual "Year In Review" video, a six-minute cut that represents thousands of collective man-hours of organized Arma 2.


Arma 3 delayed after "an eventful year"

Phil Savage at

Bohemia Interactive have today announced that they will be postponing the release of Arma 3 after what they, as kings of understatement, describe as "an eventful year".

They are, of course, referring to the arrest and detainment of Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, Bohemia employees who were charged on suspicion of espionage while on holiday in Greece.


PC Gamer community screenshots of the year

Tom Senior at

We're getting perilously close to the end of the year, which means it's time to start gathering up our PC gaming experiences and forging them into great big lists. YES. Our game of the year awards are coming up, but before all the arguing starts we thought it'd be nice to reflect some of your most picturesque PC gaming moments.

So here it is, The PC Gamer Community Screenshots of the Year 2012 [ta-da!]. I've picked out ten favourites from the official screenshots thread on our forums. Read on for a chance to admire some lovely images, rediscover some of the year's prettiest games and find out exactly how Mario and Luigi managed to sneak in. Those crazy plumbers. There is no limit to their cunning.


Imprisoned Arma 3 developers release letter: "Your effort makes it easier to handle."

Evan Lahti at

In a handwritten letter addressed to their supporters, Arma 3 Creative Director Ivan Buchta and artist Martin Pezlar say “we are treated well, but we feel we should rather be with our families rather than here.” This is the first public statement from the pair of Bohemia Interactive developers, who have been jailed in Greece for now 80 days after being charged with espionage in September.

The letter is dated November 22, and is printed in full within.


Detained Bohemia developers denied appeal, must stand trial

Omri Petitte at

The end date for Greece's strike within its justice system has come and gone, but Bohemia Interactive developers Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar remain jailed in what the studio called "an unmitigated disaster" after both men were charged with espionage while on the Greek island of Lemnos. In a report by Czech news site Rozhlas, a Greek court dismissed Buchta and Pezlar's petition to appeal and denied bail, effectively sealing a required trial with a sentence up to 20 years for a guilty verdict.


DayZ 2017 mod aims to make the zombie apocalypse less military, more hobo

Evan Lahti at

Bohemia is hustling on the standalone version of DayZ, hoping to have an initial version of the game out by the end of the year. In the meanwhile, modders continue to tinker with the DayZ mod code, either by adding new maps, questionable gambling metagames, or wholesale mods within the mod. This practice of modception, for the record, is something we endorse.

DayZ 2017 is one of these, a work-in-progress from modder "shinkicker," aka Luke Hinds. Hinds hopes to reintroduce the feeling of item scarcity to the mod by eliminating military equipment, in a setting a half-decade after DayZ. "I went for ragged and worn, hobo-like survivors," says Hinds.


What do we think of the The War Z alpha?

Evan Lahti at

We've been playing the The War Z alpha on and off for a few weeks—long enough to collect some initial thoughts on the open-world zombie survival game and how it compares to the genre's progenitor, DayZ.


Giveaway: Win The War Z

PC Gamer at

Our generosity continues. Non-profit gaming clan service and community Gamersplatoon.net is helping us give away 50 full-version "Pioneer" keys for The War Z. Want one?


DayZ Bounty wants to pay you real, actual money for killing zombies and fellow players

Evan Lahti at

Most of us have built up a reflex that makes us distrust anything that combines the phrases “make money” and “playing games.” Profit and play can’t coexist, and any program that says it can is a scam. A damn scam.

DayZ Bounty is such a program, but its founders promise that it isn’t a scam. After launching a website earlier this week, I talked to the creators to get a sense of their intentions and learn more about how they plan to implement such an unusual idea.


DayZ 1.7.3 releases, developed in partnership with the DayZ community

Evan Lahti at

Still hard at work on the standalone version of DayZ, Bohemia's collaborated with the DayZ community to release an update for the mod version of the game today. Patch 1.7.3 doesn't add new features ("While dogs are "in" there are some mechanics missing so they cannot currently be used," Rocket says on the DayZ forums), but the patch does address the vehicle repair system, zombie death animations, and removes Alt + F4 as an method of escaping from death. Politely: die, cowards.

Patch notes inside.


Video glimpse: DayZ's new map, Namalsk

Evan Lahti at

We mentioned earlier that modders were in the process of porting a snowy Arma 2 island called Namalsk into the DayZ. Last week, the map's creator published a pre-release version of Namalsk, which you can play by downloading it directly or through a utility like DayZ Commander. Fat with curiosity, I jumped into the chilly forest island to have a look around.


Will this winter wonderland be DayZ's next map?

Evan Lahti at

You knew that DayZ has custom maps, right? As Bohemia labors away on the standalone version of DayZ, modders have been busy porting user-made Arma 2 islands into the zombie survival mod. The varied biomes of Fallujah, Lingor Island, and Panthera are all playable on custom servers, and a click away from being installed through the handy, PCG-recommended DayZ Commander utility.

Joining these maps next could be Namalsk, an arctic forest covered in custom structures like reinforced defense towers.


Interview: Arma 3 developers' jailing is "a real nightmare for all involved," says Bohemia

Evan Lahti at

It's been 36 days since Bohemia Interactive confirmed that two of its developers had been arrested during their trip to the Greek island of Lemnos. Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar face up to 20 years in prison for charges of spying, which they continue to deny. And now, a strike in Greece's judicial system is impeding any progress in their case.

To get an update on Ivan and Martin, I spoke with Jay Crowe, Creative Director at Bohemia, about the imprisonment of two of his friends and colleagues.


Arma 2 machinima documents Russian invasion of Seattle, Red Dawn-style

Evan Lahti at

Arma's Real Virtuality engine is an underappreciated machinima canvas. What it lacks in physics is made up by scale and map detail, both of which are showcased in "The Beginning of Sorrows," a short released yesterday from BinaryOrchestra. The video mashes up Take On Helicopters' (another sim built on Real Virtuality) satellite-modeled, that's-where-the-houses-actually-are map of Seattle, Washington with Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead's military assets. The result is a grim and well-scripted spectacle of war in the American Northwest.


DayZ standalone will be out this year, "and it's going to be cheap"

Tom Senior at

DayZ developer Dean "Rocket" Hall has been going over his plans for DayZ at the Eurogamer Expo. "It has to be out before the end of the year," he said. "Not just because we've committed to it but in order to achieve what we have to do. It has to be. There's no 'we hope it is'; it has to be.

"And it's going to be cheap. We've decided that we don't need to sell a heap of units in order for us to be OK with where it's going. The more units we sell of it the more ambitious we get, because the project has the better resources."


Realism Theater: Convoy Shootout

Evan Lahti at

Dslyecxi is a guy we count on for glimpses into hardcore Arma 2. The master mil-simmer, former US Marine, and contractor/consultant for Bohemia Interactive is the founder of ShackTac, a long-standing A2 community.

His latest PvP video centers on a disabled UN convoy; Dslyecxi plays as one of the insurgents racing toward it—bringing IEDs and grenades to the fight. Meanwhile, a column of Humvees is streaking in to assist. Private military contractors are keeping guard. A helicopter circles overhead, vulture-like. Who'll get there first? Don't miss the surprise ending.

Arma community sets up support site for devs arrested on spying charges

Marsh Davies at

The ARMA community has rallied together and set up a site in support of the two Bohemia Interactive employees who were arrested last week after allegedly recording footage of military bases in Lemnos. The website, www.helpivanmartin.org houses a petition and an updated news feed relating to the case.


Arma 3 devs detained in Greece were tourists, espionage accusations "completely false" say BI

Tom Senior at

Two Bohemia Interactive employees were arrested by Greek authorities for espionage last week after recording footage of military bases in Limnos. BI have sent over a statement saying that reports claiming that they'd entered military installations and taken footage to support development of Arma 3 are "completely false and without substance."

"These employees - our friends, Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar - visited the island as tourists. Their holiday was a product of their interest in the island, triggered by their work on Arma 3 over the past two years of development," they say.