July 30th, I dub thee International Patch Notes Day. We've already basked in the size and rigour of Elite: Dangerous's beta update change list, and now we get to do the same with another early access game. DayZ, the popular purveyor of zombies and internet jerks, has received a new stable update, adding a variety of features, items and animations. The big change is the introduction of persistent item support... or, at least, the promise of persistent item support. Currently the feature is disabled pending a hotfix due next week.
As DayZ slowly winds its way through alpha, we're finally beginning to see more updates to the early access zombie survival game, with new items and features being regularly added. Mechanics for hunting, fishing, crafting, and cooking means there are now new ways to thrive and survive in the post-apocalyptic landscape of Chernarus besides simply scrounging around in buildings for canned food or shooting and looting other players.
I thought I'd try surviving using some of these new tools. Instead of guns, I'd try to use a crossbow to take down some deer. Instead of peeling open canned tuna I'd try to pluck fish from ponds. No more cold beans: I'll cook my food over a roaring fire or gas-powered stove. Essentially, I'm going camping. Strap on a backpack and come along.
The Arma series is famous for its massive multiplayer battles, but there’s still fun to be had on the war-torn islands of Stratis and Altis by yourself. These missions can all be played solo, with a focus on small squads, infantry, or infiltration. They’ve all been created by Arma players using the game’s powerful built-in editing tools, and some are as impressive as anything in Bohemia’s own campaign.
For those not familiar with its particular brand of simulation, Arma 3 can be a daunting thing to approach. Don't let our recent, barely competent shenanigans fool you; there's a deep vein of realism at the heart of Bohemia's shooter and, with it, a level of complexity that can be difficult to parse. Hope comes in the form of the just released Bootcamp update. More than just a tutorial, it's designed to teach you the underlying principles powering the game. And all without R. Lee Ermey screaming in your face.
This afternoon, PC Gamer will be at the mercy of a vengeful, Scottish god. We'll be playing Zeus, ArmA III's on-the-fly adventure mode, where we'll be subjected to the trials and tribulations of our own Andy Kelly. The action kicks off at 2.30pm BST—check here for local times—and will run until we've experienced the full scope of Andy's twisted design.
GameSpy recently announced its surrender from the world of digital matchmaking, and, as with any wide-ranging defeat, there are bound to be casualties. Not Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead, though. Bohemia have airlifted their expansion to the safety of Steam. And clinging desperately to it is the DayZ Mod, which, as a dependent of Arma 2: OA, has also been secured.
You thought it was funny that Arma 3 now has kart racing, didn’t you? Well pull yourself together, because the April Fools gag-cum-actual feature has managed to raise a million Czech koruna for the country’s Red Cross. That’s nearly US$50 grand.
As promised in May, Bohemia Interactive will release a substantial Arma 3 update imminently. The Bootcamp update will introduce a range of modes and features designed to ease new players into the notoriously complicated military sim, and to prove that “Arma is far from impenetrable”. These include a Bootcamp campaign, a special Bootcamp multiplayer mode, Virtual Training and a Virtual Arsenal.
It's been a while since we last caught up with DayZ. Let's see how it's doing, and hope it's not one of those awkward meetings where we stand around and make small talk because nothing's really happened. Huh, well, it turns out the game does have some news. Its makers are in the process of moving it to a new engine, and, through that, fix many of the quirks and oddities of the current alpha build.
"I guess the big news that we’ve been telling here at E3 is that we’re actually moving to a new engine," Dean Hall explained during a Reddit AMA. "It is called [Enfusion]. So that is going to allow us to do DirectX 10 and 11. It is going to allow us to do dynamic lighting, which means no more flashlights going through walls, proper dynamic shadows, stuff like that."
While it offers an experience altogether different from the zombie violence of its sister-title DayZ, Arma 3 also looks to have struck a chord in the hearts and minds of PC gamers since its release last year. The military sim has sold one million copies, according to an announcement this week by Bohemia Interactive head Marek Spanel.
Arma 3 Karts began life as an April Fools' joke, but as sometimes happens, fans thought it was actually a pretty cool idea. So Bohemia Interactive decided to run with it, and the result is Arma 3 Karts, released today as an honest-to-goodness DLC pack for the famed military shooter, with a portion of sales going to charity.
Videogame war is fun. Real war is hell. It's a distinction that Arma 3 studio Bohemia Interactive seems anxious to make with the addition of a new and unique prize to its "Make Arma, Not War" content creation contest: the company will send a lucky winner to a conflict zone on a humanitarian mission providing aid to people displaced or harmed by the ravages of war.
Since its December release, the most complex and frightening encounters I've had in the DayZ Standalone have involved other human beings, not the survival sim's undead population. But with the recent expansion of its development team, the DayZ designers at Bohemia Interactive are now laying out a plan for a better-behaved zombie antagonist, according to a new post on the game's official dev blog.
Bohemia Interactive are 15 years old. And while I forgot to get them a present, they're going to give you one: a free weekend trial of Arma 3, and a free copy of ARMA: Cold War. In addition, the entirety of the Bohemia catalogue is now on sale on Steam. If you're a fan of military simulations—or of underwater puzzle games about secret agent fish—it's going to be a weekend to remember.
One of the benefits of a post-apocalypse is there's no more digitally vulnerable data. Unfortunately for Bohemia Interactive, they don't live in that after-world, only simulate it. And while DayZ is a game that's hosted more than it's fair share of jerks, normally it's at least in the spirit of anything-goes survival. Not this time, though: Bohemia have confirmed that their servers were attacked by hackers. The good news is that players, and the game's development, are apparently unaffected.
Don't bring an AK-47 or a fire ax to a rave, unless it's DayZ. With millions of players buying into the early-access, standalone alpha of the zombie survival sim, it's safe to say a DayZ flash mob group was bound to surface. Founded back in February, the Steam group has been releasing videos of its meetups in recent days. You can check out one example below.
"WARNING: THIS GAME IS EARLY ACCESS ALPHA," warns the DayZ Steam page. "Please do not purchase it unless you want to actively support development of the game and are prepared to handle with serious issues and possible interruptions of game functioning.
In fairness, if you're prepared to deal with a zombie-filled island, limited resources, and a near-psychotic horde of players, what's a few bugs? That may explain why more than 2 million people have chosen to take the game's warning in their stride since the survival FPS launched into Early Access last December, as revealed by developer Dean 'Rocket' Hall last night.
Bohemia Interactive did a great job of supporting previous Arma games after launch and it looks like Arma 3 will get just as much attention—if not more. Today, in a post to its official website, the studio outlined its plans for the rest of 2014 and 2015, promising better mod support, entirely new features, and vague details about a coming expansion.
Bohemia Interactive have released a whole series of community guides, focused on teaching the game's players to be better soldiers. This latest one is a little more ambitious: teaching how to be a better god. Specifically the god Zeus, who sits atop the battlefield as game master of troops, tanks and tactical assaults. The video is devoted entirely to Arma 3's new Zeus multiplayer mode, and features Shack Tactical's 'Dslyecxi' explaining how to get the most out of its birds-eye military management.
DayZ has received a new stable update, and one that introduces some significant features to the game. More importantly, it removes some significant features. So, as we welcome a new village, a recipe for bow crafting and the ability to melee attack with a frying pan, we also bid good riddance to mouse acceleration (or, to go by its scientific name, "weird floaty mouse times").