ArmA 2: Private Military Company

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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.


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.


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.


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.

Bohemia Interactive devs arrested for "spying"

Marsh Davies at

Greek news sites are reporting that two Czechs have been arrested on Lemnos, after taking photographs and video of military installations. The two claim to be developers working for Bohemia Interactive, out gathering reference material for Arma 3, which takes place on the Greek island. This hasn't yet washed with the Greek authorities who've slapped them with espionage charges.


Arma 2: Army of the Czech Republic released

Tom Hatfield at

You know DayZ? Did you know it also has an awesome military shooter called Arma 2 bundled in? Well today the suspiciously zombie free war sim has released a new batch of DLC: Army of the Czech Republic, which, as you might have guessed, focuses on the forces of the Czech Republic.


ArmA 3 demos show off vehicles, diving and and night ops

Tom Hatfield at

Over the last few days, Bohemia have been posting videos to their youtube channel showing off different aspects of their E3 demo for Arma 3. There's three so far, covering vehicles, night fighting and underwater action, and they're all totally gorgeous. The underwater video in particular is incredible. Imagine a version of DayZ working in this engine. You could flee from zombies by hiding under the sea, there's no way they'd get you there! Right Rocket? Are you listening?


10 awesome DayZ moments: freaky stalkers, blood fountains, tractor rampages and more

Andy Kelly at

If you don’t know what DayZ is, and you’re wondering why three year-old military sim Arma 2 is currently the best-selling game on Steam, you can read all about it here. It’s a game unlike anything I’ve ever played: freeform, terrifying, and utterly infuriating. You might have spent an hour crawling through the wilderness to get that M1014 shotgun and ALICE pack, but the bandit who just sniped you from the bushes doesn’t care. He wants your beans. What’s really special about DayZ, though, is how it can create memorable moments without set-pieces or scripted events. It’s the players that create the drama.


ARMA 2: Army of the Czech Republic DLC will add new army, new guns, new missions

Tom Senior at

As attendees stumble shell-shocked away from the underwhelming assault of godless noise that was the Microsoft E3 2012 press conference, Bohemia quietly announce that they're preparing a new expansion pack for ARMA 2. It's called Army of the Czech Republic, which will add said army, along with an armoury of "authentic weapons," new weapons and some summery new environments in the invented regions of Bystrica and Bukovina. It's due out Autumn this year, requires Operation Arrowhead or Combined Forces to run, and is available to pre-order now from the Bohemia Interactive store.

Get an early peak with these lovely new screenshots, in an aspect ratio that time forgot. Click to see them become relatively enormous and peruse the feature list below, at your leisure.


Buy a paper map of Day Z's horrifying world, Chernarus, for $15

Evan Lahti at

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.

DayZ update adds hatchets, firewood, women

Tom Senior at

With the cold, wet slap of a slab of dead meat hitting the asphalt, another DayZ update landed yesterday. It adds hatchets, firewood and the missing half of the human race to this punishing and incredibly tense zombie survival mod for ARMA 2. In the latest version, every game key gets ONE SINGLE CHANCE to change their player gender. Once you've used it, that's it. Hatchets can now be used to chop firewood and heat packs have been added when you really need to heat up fast.

We've been enjoying DayZ a lot, if you hadn't guessed. Check out Evan's DayZ photo diary and Craig's DayZ account for some DayZ adventuring. If you fancy trying it, take a look at our DayZ installation guide, too. Here are this update's patch notes from the DayZ forums.


Now playing: Arma 2 mod Day Z

Craig Pearson at

Most people will die from starvation, hunger, zombie-ism, or by Will Smith in an apocalypse. I died of naivety and gunshots. Day Z Mod for Arma II reworks the 225km island of Chernarus into a terrifying survivalist nightmare: you're dropped alone, with meagre supplies, somewhere in the wilderness. There is no goal, no end-game. You just need to stay alive. There are zombie NPCs and other players. With the undead you know where you stand, but other players pose the greatest threat.

With no map or compass, all I had to go on are the road signs and landmarks. It was midnight when I logged in, and the server has a real-time day and night cycle so the only light was the moon filtering through the high clouds. Removed of all context, I went with my instincts: I found a road and walked along it, crouching-walking and scanning left and right for signs of life. This is how you'll spend most of Day Z: isolated and paranoid. I strolled for half-an-hour, not seeing anyone or hearing the telltale grunt of the undead before I came up on some buildings, darker squares against the grey night sky.


How to install ArmA 2's Day Z mod

Craig Pearson at

Don't install DayZ. Go outside into the sunshine and enjoy life. Fill your lungs, breathe deeply and be happy that you avoided brutality of a zombie-filled, PvP ARMA II. It's tough, it's wholly unfair, it's incredibly buggy and the chances of you getting into a server are pretty low. Why is it tough to get a game? Because it's incredible: a mix of Stalker and ARMA II. While your eternal happiness depends on not playing it, you really should.

First up you need to own ARMA II: Combined Operations, that's both ARMA II and Operation Arrowhead. It's easy to find: the mod's so popular that it's launched Bohemia's mil-sim into the Steam top ten.


Day Z interview -- how zombies + Arma 2 created gaming's best story machine

Evan Lahti at

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.

Arma 2 montage is a love letter to cooperative military simulation

Evan Lahti at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFco6q4XzO0

Shack Tactical is a particularly wonderful Arma 2 hardcore community. Its guide-manual is probably the best resource for Armaers that want to play seriously. Above, I'm sharing Shack's nine-minute distillation of a year's worth of Arma: ambushes, missions-gone-FUBAR, heroism, and concentrated realism. Even if Arma or mil sims offend you, watch the hell out of this and delight in what PC gaming lets us do.

God, that Carl Gustav shot at 1:50 is nuts.


Arma 2 patched with 158 tweaks

Henry Winchester at

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.


Media regulator investigating ITV Arma 2 blunder

Tom Senior at

Remember the ITV documentary that claimed ARMA 2 footage to be a secret IRA film? The Guardian report that the slip is getting the broadcaster into trouble with the british media regulator, Ofcom, who today announced that they will be launching an investigation into the incident to see if the mis-labelling of the documentary footage constitutes a breach of its broadcasting codes.

The scene showed a helicopter being shot down by a soldier taking cover near an armoured vehicle, and was instantly recognised by Arma fans on the Bohemia Interactive forums. The documentary was the first in ITV's new Exposure series, which hoped to expose links between Muammar Gadaffi and arms supplied to the IRA. ITV ended up issuing an apology instead.


Arma X: Anniversary Edition review

Craig Pearson at

Arma is not like other shooters. You’re playing soldiers in a game that begat a military training simulator. You can move your head independently to your body. You can see for kilometres. You have to worry about bullet drop, squad positioning, light conditions and goats.

Arma has been like this for ten years. Its developers, Bohemia, have always resisted the urge to smooth out the experience, instead adding more layers of complexity.


Arma 3 website goes live with Gamescom presentation videos

Tom Senior at

One week ago I got a press release telling me that in one week's time, ARMA 3 would get a brand new website. Excited, I set my WAR CLOCK OF DOOM to T-minus 7 days, turned all the lights off and lay in wait. Now, that time has come. The Arma 3 site is live, with eight new videos of the Gamescom presentation. You don't even have to go to the new Arma 3 website to watch them, because I've nabbed them and hidden them under the camo net below. Don't tell anyone.


Arma 3 screenshots show tank column and stratospheric jet

Tom Senior at

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.