ArmA 2


DayZ patch adds new weapons, bloodborne infection, bacon

Evan Lahti at

When the Patch Notes Fairy visits, she often provides precious accidental humor. The Sims 3 has consistently delivered this (version 1.4, from 2009: “Sims can no longer 'Try for Baby' with the Grim Reaper”), but today’s DayZ patch notes produced a few incidental laughs at the PC Gamer office. In addition to adding complexity to DayZ’s infection system, includes gems like “Cutting down trees now attracts zeds,” a change that may endanger the livelihoods of apocalyptic lumberjacks everywhere.

Really, though, this is a great-looking and fairly comprehensive update. There’s new content, new or modified mechanics in play, and fixes to long-standing issues. All of these only affect the mod version of the game, but some of the improvements made may creep into the retail version.

Arma 3 renames main island to avoid "undesired real-life connotations"

Phil Savage at

Bohemia Interactive are renaming the main island of Arma 3 to Altis. According to their press release, Bohemia hope that the new name will reflect the Mediterranean identity of the island, but, "distinguishes it from the real-world Greek island of Lemnos, which has served as the main source of inspiration."

"In view of recent events, the team no longer feels passionate about using the previous name, 'Limnos', and hopes that the new identity, ‘Altis’, will help emphasize the fictional nature of the game." Those recent events, of course, being the 129 day detainment of Bohemia employees Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, now released on bail.

Dean Hall on DayZ Origins mod: "There are some awesome ideas"

Omri Petitte at

DayZ creator Dean "Rocket" Hall has shared his reaction with Eurogamer over the DayZ Origins mod for Arma 2 and its "inspiration" from Rocket's original zombie-survival creation. Though calling the naming similarities between the two mods "a bit problematic," he commended the GamersPlatoon community for "some awesome ideas."

DayZ Origins: a new Arma 2 zombie survival mod "inspired" by DayZ

Phil Savage at

The War Z may have ended up a rushed mess of a game, but people looking for DayZ style zombie survival action (yet inexplicably unwilling to just play DayZ) could now have a new title to try. Despite the name, DayZ Origins has nothing to do with Dean "Rocket" Hall's original, but instead is an Arma 2 mod "inspired" by DayZ. It also claims to give an ultimate end goal to the game of running around an open world, trying not to be eaten by the dead.

DayZ Standalone update: improved lighting, anti-hack measures, and closed testing

Phil Savage at

Dean "Rocket" Hall has posted another development update on the status of the DayZ Standalone release, and by the sound of things, the team have been busy. "This is the first update when I have sat down and thought “where do I start?” There has been so much going on with the development this month that it is hard to fit it all in a post here."

Face Off: Are modern games difficult enough?

PC Gamer at

Are hard-as-hell indie games enough to satiate our hunger for a challenge, or should mainstream developers quit trying to appease everyone and start really testing us? In this Face Off from our archives (originally published October 2012), Executive Editor Evan Lahti gives former Senior Editor Josh Augustine a hard time for his willingness to take it easy.

Bailed Bohemia developers return home after nearly 130 days in jail

Omri Petitte at

Bohemia Interactive developers Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, both of who were detained and jailed in Greece for nearly four months on charges of espionage, have returned to the Czech Republic today after posting a €5,000 bail ($6,672).

Arma 3's imprisoned developers free on bail

Phil Savage at

Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, the two Bohemia Interactive developers detained and imprisoned on suspicion of espionage during a holiday to Greece, have been freed on bail this morning. Once paid, the pair will be free to return to the Czech Republic.

DayZ Standalone delay explained, engine improvements detailed

Phil Savage at

The standalone release of DayZ was supposed to be out before the end of 2012. With 2013 now upon us, and no sight of the open-world survival horror, you'd be forgiven for thinking that zombies had pounced on it while it was trying to vault over the ArmA 2 engine. Not so, according to Dean "Rocket" Hall, who has updated the DayZ development blog with info on the status of the project.

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.

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.

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.