Arma 3 Articles RSS Feed | Arma 3 RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network ARMA 3 Contact Review: Occasional Aliens Wed, 31 Jul 2019 11:23:12 -0400 John Schutt

There is no widely-known military simulation game quite like ARMA, and despite a large portion of its fame coming from its DayZ mod, the series nonetheless has a core contingent of fans. Whether they came for the zombies and decided to stay or wanted something more tactical and freeform, the ARMA playerbase remains dedicated to the game after many years, iterations, and DLCs.

Contact is the latest downloadable content to hit ARMA 3. Though it comes with a new map and plenty of new assets for hardcore players to dig into, the real draw here is the singleplayer campaign where an alien intelligence visits earth in a first-contact scenario.

Making a Playbook

Initially set as a large-scale military exercise in the fictional country of Livonia, you play as Specialist Aiden Rudwell, and it's your job to assist both the Livonian Defense Force (LDF) and their American allies in a mock invasion by the Russians. 

Things start innocently enough, as the entire first mission of the DLC is nothing more than a failed attempt to steal fake data from a terminal behind enemy lines. You learn a little bit about the world you're inhabiting (it's not particularly interesting), the people you'll be working with (a fairly standard bunch), and the equipment you'll be spending a lot of time using (it's ARMA, so it's awkward). 

Then, events begin to spiral downward, and they do so quickly. An explosion rocks the base where Rudwell and his team are stationed, revealing a strange structure that defies description.

Two weeks pass without much news, at which point one of Rudwell's buddies — and his immediate superior — Corporal Stype starts to get a little paranoid. Through a series of increasingly silly shenanigans, a darker story nonetheless starts to tell itself.

It's typical science-fiction fare. Someone's trying to cover something up, there are unknown figures and voices in places they shouldn't be, and Stype, ever the not-conspiracy-theorist-but, only finds his paranoia rewarded with each passing moment.

Rudwell, for his part, wants nothing to do with any of it, but partly because he's the protagonist and partly out of curiosity, he goes along with Stype's plans. 

Or he does until every piece of electronic gear in the country gets knocked offline, everyone panics, and a giant blue-black space ship shows up to some unknown purpose.

Finding Answers

It's not a terribly paced first act if I'm honest. While predictable and marred by voice acting that leaves much to be desired, the story is told well enough. 

Once the aliens actually arrive, however, everything starts to go sideways. Stype does something stupid, of course, which leads the LDF to have shoot-on-sight orders for any Americans they see. Comms and equipment not shielded against electronic warfare are inoperable, and the chain of command, while intact, is shaky at best. 

Oh, and there's a couple of weird dudes from overseas who know exactly what the plot needs them to know, and no more.

At this point, there's a huge shift in gameplay style and the quality of the storytelling. No longer a war simulation, Contact now asks the player to go into stealth mode.

You're forced to rely almost exclusively on the Spectrum device, a frequency transmitter/receiver that has as many applications as the developers need to make the plot move along. The device can: send and receive enemy transmissions, send and receive orders to enemy squads so you can sneak by them, pick up and "talk" to alien entities, plus a few other minor features that make these primary tasks easier. 

The reliance on stealth and subterfuge does several things to make ARMA 3 Contact a lesser experience.

First, it highlights the glaring flaws in the game's AI. From its inhuman ability to detect the player to aim that would give a Stormtrooper a run for their money, the AI foibles you would usually solve with a gun are all too plain to see. 

Second, you won't be firing a single bullet for hours. And yes, I know that makes sense in the context of the story, but the game goes out of its way to give you a new weapon with every mission, even when it knows you won't need one. You're incentivized from the beginning to distract and deceive, not to kill, as the people you'd be shooting are technically your allies. That the game eventually throws this out notwithstanding, I found it irksome that I had access to so many different pieces of gear that served no purpose beyond window dressing.

Third, half of the ARMA experience doesn't existThere's very little squad play, even with your NPC allies. Almost everything you do is done solo with only said NPCs on the radio to keep you company. You don't have access to many vehicles, either, as the need for stealth makes such noisy machines a hindrance. And because you're walking everywhere, it takes several minutes just to get to your next objective, seemingly just to pad out gameplay time.

Last, is the "Danger Zone" mechanic, which prevents you from saving as long as you're inside the red circle, forcing you to rely on the game's awful autosave system. Checkpoints are few and far between and with such droll voice acting and mission variety, a single death can cost almost 15 minutes. 

The game did have its moments, infrequent though they sometimes seemed. Duping the AI never got old, simply because they were so eager to follow fake orders. Using the map and topography to place yourself effectively was also incredibly satisfying, and I would be lying if I said there were genuine moments of awe at some of the alien designs. They weren't anything revolutionary, but I still found their presence menacing, strange, and fascinating.

The Occasional Alien

Despite its claim to be primarily a "First Contact" scenario, the Contact DLC doesn't focus on the aliens themselves much. They are a presence, something beyond our understanding and control, the kind of force we can only hope to avoid or redirect than face head-on.

I think that's my favorite part about Contact, as well. Stories of alien contact shouldn't answer too many questions, and I've always felt that aliens that take too much of the spotlight do a disservice to the human stories that we can actually relate to.

Mystery is essential when it comes to crafting an extraterrestrial narrative, and Contact makes no attempt to truly understand The Visitors, as they come to be called. They are as strange and incomprehensible at the beginning as they are at the end, and though I would have loved to see what kind of creatures they were in the flesh, I am nonetheless satisfied with their presence in the ARMA universe. 

  • Interesting aliens that perfectly straddle the line between threatening and mysterious
  • A vast, well-constructed map to explore 
  • A serviceable narrative that doesn't break new ground and gives its players seven or eight hours of pleasant diversion
  • An almost complete disregard for what makes ARMA the franchise it is
  • Poor performance even on good hardware
  • Baffling design choices that cost players time for a single mistake

ARMA 3 Contact is a valiant attempt to tell a unique and engaging science-fiction story in a realistic setting. It spends a little too much time getting in its own way, and there are moments where it seems a little too inside its own head. However, it remains a serviceable narrative regardless of its other shortcomings.

ARMA veterans will find something to like in Contact, if only as a pleasant distraction from the standard gameplay loop of the core game. The new map and assets are likely to be much appreciated, but for someone not already enthralled by the military-simulation genre, there's little here to convince them to jump in and see what the fuss is about.

[Note: A copy of ARMA 3: Contact was provided by Bohemia Interactive for the purpose of this review.]

The 10 Horror Mods That Will Have You Screaming Through Halloween Sun, 01 Oct 2017 09:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur


Hopefully, you've got enough mods on hand now to transform any game in your Steam library into its scariest version!


Of course, there's a whole lot more available out there than just the 10 listed here, with plenty more creepy add-ons for all your favorite games available through services like Nexus Mods or the Steam Workshop. If you can't get enough mods to try out this autumn season, check out last year's roundup of horror mods here!


What did you think our of Halloween modding picks, and what other scary expansions and overhauls should we try out? Be sure to leave us a comment below.


Minecraft: P.T. Silent Hills Map


Download the P.T. Silent Hills Map Mod Here


Five months of painstaking work went into creating this map, and man does it ever show! Some insane Minecraft fanatic recreated the legendary Silent Hills P.T. playable demo to inject some serious horror into the block building, open world phenomena.


The pounding on the doors. The radio text. Absolutely everything from the (sadly) canceled Silent Hills demo has been lovingly recreated in pixelated form here. We might not ever get the full game, but this mashup experience is a nice consolation prize.


If you're looking for other scary Minecraft experiences or just want to spice up your gameplay, make sure to head over to our Minecraft mods page


Goat Simulator: Slender Survival


Download the Slender Survival Mod Here


Somehow, Slenderman has even managed to sink his fingers into the already-insane world of Goat Simulator, everybody's favorite dumb, time waster of a buggy tech demo.


This mod puts you in a dark survival mode, with a Slendergoat chasing close behind. Couple it with the Goat Simulator first-person mod and you're basically playing Slender: The Arrival, just with a moronic goat who has no bones and can fly.


Garry's Mod: FNAF And Beyond!


Considering the whole point of Garry's Mod is to change and add in new things, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that there is a horde of horror-themed Steam Workshop add-ons for the game.


Seriously, just hit the Workshop and randomly search for the name of any horror movie or game you can think of and something is almost certain to pop up.


Some of the best mods available include Five Nights At Freddy's, SOMA, Amnesia, and even Alien: Isolation, where modders have worked hard to make the models behave much like they do in their original games. Get ready to be terrified of a fast running Foxy all over again!


Arma III: Baphomet


Download the Baphomet Mod Here


We recently took a look at the best all-time mods for the hyper-difficult military shooter Arma III, and Baphomet proudly stands among them -- whether it's Halloween or any other time of year.


Melding together the tactical shooter genre with a storyline akin to Hellgate: London, Baphomet has your squad battling demons and zombies in a fiery hellscape as the denizens of the pit have spilled onto Earth. It's legitimately creepy and a whole new way to experience the Arma franchise.


Want to see what else is up in Arma III modding? Check out the full list of Arma III mods over here.


Crysis: The Worry Of Newport


Download The Worry of Newport Mod Here


This one deserves major kudos for drastically changing the Crysis base game, shifting it from a sci-fi action shooter to an atmospheric Lovecraftian horror game that's slow moving and all about investigation rather than running and gunning.


The Worry Of Newport mod is much more focused on narrative and horror overtones than fast-paced gameplay, so if you dig the idea of playing through a book (or enjoy games like Myst and the 7th Guest, just scarier), this is definitely one to try out.


Skyrim: Freddy Krueger


Download the Freddy Krueger Mod Here


The illustrious Skyrim modding community has added in characters from so many other franchises that I doubt I could even find them all in a full day of searching -- let alone download and install even a fraction of them.


But that means that horror- and Halloween-themed characters most definitely have not been left out, with the Headless Horseman and many other figures from myth and legend added to this open world fantasy game.


However, one of the most bizarre (and kind of amazing) has got to be Freddy Krueger. I mean, someone clearly put a lot of work into this mod, even if it doesn't fit the game at all. It has nothing to do with Skyrim and is beyond lore breaking, but it's also pretty awesome. Go ahead and kill Freddy, loot his dream chest, and become the clawed nightmare yourself!


And if you're looking for more ways to spice up your Skyrim experience, make sure to check out our Skyrim mods page


Skyrim: The Evil Mansion


Download The Evil Mansion Mod Here


Every time I think I've seen the pinnacle of what the modding community can accomplish, I'm consistently proven wrong by something even bigger and better than what's come before.


This latest jaw-droppingly awesome mod for a Bethesda game recreates the first Resident Evil inside Skyrim. Yep, all of it -- even the dogs jumping through the window in the hallway.


Although changes have had to be made to fit within the Skyrim framework, even some of the puzzles and traps have been recreated. Seriously, just get to downloading this one already.


Skyrim: Epic Halloween Overhaul


Download the Epic Halloween Overhaul Mod Here


If you only get one Halloween-themed Skyrim mod this year, this is unquestionably the one to get. It's got everything all in one bundle: new quests, new locations, and new skins. To top it all off, there are even pumpkin and Halloween light decorations placed everywhere to complete the vibe. 


Sadly, this mod isn't compatible with Skyrim: Special Edition, and it takes a little elbow grease to get working in the vanilla game because it's actually three different mod install files instead of one. But the results are well worth the work.


On the plus side, more content and updates are added every year, with the 2017 additions being worked on as we speak.


Fallout New Vegas: Obscurum Pandemic


Download the Obscurum Pandemic Mod Here


One-half survival simulator in the vein of PUBG or Battle Royale and one-half post-apocalyptic horror game, Obscurum Pandemic is a total overhaul of Fallout: New Vegas in the truest sense of the term.


This is an entirely different experience than what you normally get playing as the courier. The character creation and leveling processes have been radically altered, all the vanilla NPCs are gone, new warring factions are added, and monsters galore have now invaded the New Vegas wasteland.


This mod will make you wish you'd never left the Vault. 


Fallout 4: Pilgrim -- Dread The Commonwealth


Download This Scary Fallout 4 Mod Here


The only appropriate response to this overhaul mod is a simple Keanu-Reeves-inspired, "Woah." Pilgrim -- Dread the Commonwealth drastically changes Fallout 4's tone by changing up the game's color filters and weather, creating a dreary and gritty atmosphere inspired by horror flick The Witch.


But that's not all. Everything gets a creepy remake here, from the terrain to faithful hound companion Dogmeat (who, for now, is just a bit scarier version of his current self. However, in a future update, he will be replaced entirely with the Satanic goat Black Phillip).


For the best scary Fallout 4 experience, combine Pilgrim with the smallest setting on the Pip Boy Flashlight mod and install the Commonwealth Connifers Redux mod for a more forested feel in line with the movie.


Pilgrim is just one of dozens of Fallout 4 horror recreations! Want even more? Check out our full list of Fallout 4 horror mods here.


The glory of autumn has finally arrived, which for my family means an unrelenting onslaught of 31 solid days of horror! That's right, we only watch scary flicks, read horror novels, and play creepy renditions of video games for all 31 days of October.


Sometimes that's a tall order on the gaming front considering the relative dearth of horror games in the gaming world, but those who are willing to try diving into the mod community will find that nearly any game you can think of will have some kind of Halloween recreation or scary mod attached to it.


From truly scary total overhauls that add in completely new storylines to silly pumpkin skins simply added for aesthetics, there's something for everyone when it comes to Halloween mods. 


Over the next 10 slides we'll show you some of the best Halloween and horror themed mods currently available for the likes of Fallout 4, New Vegas, Skyrim, Arma III, Crysis, Garry's Mod, Goat Simulator, and even Minecraft!

10 Best Arma III Mods For A Whole New Experience Tue, 12 Sep 2017 13:17:41 -0400 Ty Arthur


There you have it -- from new uniforms to entirely different game modes, these are some of the very best mods available at the moment. But remember -- a mere 10 out of 40,000+ mods doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what's available if you want a whole new Arma 3 experience.


What did you think of our picks, and what top tier mods would you recommend for players who want to shake up their Arma matches with new dynamics? Let us know down in the comments!


Zombies And Demons


Download This Mod


If modding has taught us anything, its that people want zombies added to everything. Another entry in a long line of mods that throw hordes of the walking dead into a shooter, Zombies And Demons shines by being customizable -- letting you decide just how strong those zombies are (from barely standing shambling dead to super powered hellish monstrosities).


Sure, we've left realism behind at this point, but who doesn't want to skip the typical warfare to gun down some walkers every now and again?


Apex Species Sharks


Download This Mod


This mod really shows the dedication (and sometimes oddity) of the Arma modding community. Does this military shooter really need hyper-realistic sharks based on extensive research by the Australian Institute of Marine Science? I can't say that it particularly does, but we got it anyway.


The mod adds in male and female sharks that swim around, hunt, bleed, behave differently in night and day, and only become aggressive if there aren't any other large fish food sources around. If you want to take time off from war to study marine biology, then have it my friend!


Jurassic Props


Download This Mod


Unlike a lot of other mods, this one doesn't radically change the whole game, except perhaps in tone. Yes, that's the gateway to Jurassic Park you see there. While rather limited at the moment (the gate doesn't actually open and there are no dinos), the mod does add in a bunch of JP themed objects that will definitely alter the feel of any given Arma 3 match.


I can't wait to see where this one goes, and hopefully someone will pick up the torch and carry us to the finish line with a dinosaur total overhaul in the same vein as all those zombie mods.


VSM Uniforms


Download This Mod


There are more uniform and decal mods for Arma 3 than a single person could probably count -- so if you just want one with tons of options, go for this VSM addition that has it all in one place.


If what you are looking for isn't in this particular pack, just hit the Steam Workshop and search for "VSM" to find about a hundred other high quality mods that add in new camo, vests, helmets, accessories, and just about any other type of gear.


CUP Weapons


Download This Mod


With more than 40k mods available, obviously there's been a lot of collaboration between community members -- and that's where the CUP (Community Upgrade Project) mods come in.


The Weapons version of these mod packs strives to bring in extra content (specifically from the previous Arma titles) into the third main entry, extending out the number of weapons available and tweaking those new arms to match the game's functionality.


Machine guns, shotguns, rifles, grenade launchers, pistols, sniper rifles, and a host of attachments are all added here. 


Extended Fortifications 


Download This Mod


While a few of the additions are a bit wonky, overall this is a killer mod that drastically extends your fortification possibilities. A whopping 94 different modular base elements are featured -- from steel barriers and wood panels to staircases, support beams, concrete pylons, and a whole lot more.


RHS: Armed Forces Of The Russian Federation


Download This Mod


This one actually took home a pretty hefty monetary prize for winning Bohemia's "Make Arma Not War" modding contest. There are several different mods in this line, all adding in realistic infantry and vehicles from the Russian Federation, United States, and more.


Accurate uniforms, headgear, backpacks, are all included, in addition to a whole new fire control system for vehicles. Its basically a whole new Arma 3.


Battle Royale


Download This Mod


An oldie but goodie, Battle Royale is all about free-for-all survival on a massive scale. You will always be on the hunt for equipment and ammo as the player count drops and you end up stalking the remaining survivors until there's only one winner standing. If this sounds a lot like PUBG, that's because it's designed by the same guy.




Download This Mod


At this point, you don't really need to download anything for Wasteland, since there are so many servers running it without the need to personally install any mod resources.


This is the big sandbox mod for Arma 3, frequently referred to as "DayZ minus the undead". And that assessment is not far off base. Camp somewhere, find loot where you can, and get ready to die a lot.


Unsung: Vietnam War Mod


Download This Mod


Before Rising Storm 2 finally arrived, this was the place to go for a crazy Vietnam war experience. The amount of work that went into this mod is sort of ridiculous -- new terrains and maps, a crop of ground and air vehicles, authentically-equipped units from the time period, and 80 new period-specific weapons all arrive to throw you straight into the action.




Download This Mod


What the heck... Hellgate London meets the realism of Arma? This is a mod you wouldn't expect to see, but it definitely exists. Baphoment changes the game into an alternate future timeline where the earth is under assault via portals to hell.


Custom ambient music and the dark red color tone make this one pretty legitimately chilling to play as you tackle missions to roll back the zombie and demon hordes!


While hyper-realistic and extremely difficult shooters are all the rage now with games like Squad and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, the critically acclaimed Arma has the main tent pole of that sub-genre for a long time.


Offering more than just a gritty and difficult military experience, Arma is a franchise that's also always been known for its stellar mods, with titans like DayZ arriving in earlier series entries.


The game's third installment is no exception -- and there's a reason why four years after its release, Arma 3 is still going strong on the mod front. Currently, players have access to more than 40,000 various map, item, scenario, and overhaul mods across the Steam Workshop and various modding sites.


It's impossible to go through all of these independently, so we've done some of the leg work and curated 10 of the top-notch mods for Arma 3 that show off what's possible with a little bit of modding know-how and a lot of ingenuity.

9 Games with the Best Artificial Intelligence Sun, 05 Mar 2017 09:20:12 -0500 Sergey_3847




Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Release date: September 12, 2013
Platforms: PC


ARMA 3 is known for a super precise enemy AI. Ever heard of clear shots on 300 or 400 meter distances? Yep, that’s ARMA 3. But many people don’t know that the best thing about the AI in ARMA 3 is that it is fully customizable.


If you know how to edit “.ini” files, then you can easily set up the game’s AI to your liking. On the other hand, you could just download and install one of the many AI mods that are freely distributed for the game.


However, most players have adapted to the default settings, and show no mercy for their enemies.


What other games do you know of that possess a great AI? Share their titles and leave your opinions on why you think so in the comments.


Alien: Isolation


Developer: Creative Assembly
Release date: October 7, 2014
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One


You would think that the true star of the game is the main character, in this case Amanda Ripley… but no -- it’s the Xenomorph. This creepy alien and its constant, looming presence throughout the entire game makes it a particularly interesting case for an enemy AI study.


This kind of prolonged interaction between the protagonist and the antagonist is unprecedented in the world of gaming. It probably took a lot of effort to program the complex behavior of the creature that would jump out of the most unexpected places.


Clive Gratton, technical director on Alien: Isolation, said the following about the multi-layered AI system (read the full interview here):


“Our basic premise for the AI was ‘not to cheat’. The level is pre-processed to find interesting places for the Alien to search. We then drop it in with a few parameters to say how fast to search, where and what size radius. If the Alien hasn’t spotted the player then it’ll do a leisurely search of a large area. If you can hear the Alien in the vents close to you then there’s more chance that it can hear you and will come down. It is actually traversing through the vent network.”


StarCraft II


Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Release date: July 27, 2010
Platforms: PC


Long-time SarCraft players may laugh at this suggestion, because even the Hard and Elite AI in StarCraft II is not too impressive. But again, this is the case if you’re an experienced player. However, if you’re just starting out in the StarCraft universe, playing against AI is your best option, and it is built exactly for that reason.


The AI in StarCraft II follows the same sequence every time, which is perfect for learning and developing your first strategy against it. Later, when you know what you’re doing, you can start playing against real players.


And the last cool thing to mention is the upcoming StarCraft II challenge offered by the British AI developer -- DeepMind. It’s the one that beat the Go world champion last year, and it would be really interesting to see how this intelligence will fair against Blizzard’s own AI sometime in 2017.


Far Cry 2


Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release date: October 21, 2008
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360


It is a sad thing to say, but the Far Cry series doesn’t get any better with every new installment. Ubisoft tries to appeal to a more casual player these days, but at one point, Far Cry was one of the most unforgiving games ever made.


The first one was developed by Crytek, and then Ubisoft helmed the second one, and the rest of them followed. Far Cry 2 was so challenging that people went as far as calling it “sadistic”… and it was for a reason. The enemy AI was simply brutal, and there were no friendly NPCs -- everybody was hostile.


There was no real system to the AI’s behavior -- it was just incredibly chaotic and unpredictable. This alone made the game super hard, even for veteran gamers.


Halo: Reach


Developer: Bungie
Release date: September 14, 2010
Platforms: Xbox 360


Halo: Reach stands out from the rest of the games in the cult series from Microsoft due to its staggering AI. This statement regards the Elites, who are some of the smartest and most aggressive enemies you will ever encounter in a video game.


One could re-play the campaign over and over again without ever getting bored because the AI would behave differently every time. When the fans figured this out, they decided to push the AI in the game to its limits. And thus, in 2011, a team called “Termacious Trickocity” recorded more than 150 hours of gameplay in an attempt to show just how good the AI is in Halo: Reach.


The result can be seen in the video above, which is a 10-minute montage of the best moments from the entire Termacious Trickocity run. One of the members of the said team, Aaron Sekela, stated the following:


“Our hardest trick though would probably be the ‘Exodus Marine Collection.’ That’s the trick that starts around the 5:48 mark and ends at the 6:29 mark. We were in that game for 7 hours, getting the marines to cooperate was extremely annoying, we had to make sure they didn’t get killed by enemies or being launched over the river. Once over the river we need to drive 10 minute to get the marines, to the top of a huge mountain. We had to go back and forth about 4 or 5 times. Lack of check points didn’t help either.”


XCOM: Enemy Unknown


Developer: Firaxis Games
Release date: October 9, 2012
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360


Alien AI is the reason why the reboot of the XCOM series succeeded back in 2012. And the person responsible for that AI was Alex Cheng, who decided to make the AI not just distinctive, but also entertaining.

This effect was achieved “by means of a utility-based system -- a system that gave a measure of 'usefulness' to every possible action.” 


And this is what XCOM is known for: its limited system of movement that requires the AI to calculate the most efficient way of action for each of its turns. It would consider everything, such as the distance to the closest objective, proximity to other aliens, the number of enemies, the behavior of the enemies, and more.


This approach to AI is truly groundbreaking and should be taken into consideration by other aspiring video game developers.


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist


Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
Release date: August 20, 2013
Platforms: PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360


The objectives in all missions of Blacklist are basically the same -- avoid guards at all costs. You got it right -- it’s a hard stealth game. The guard AI is truly something here, and generally speaking, the AI in the Splinter Cell series has always been a subject of fascination.


It reminds me a lot of a chess game. You enter an area, detect all the guards, figure out the plan of evasion, and move forward to a complete execution of the mission. But it’s not as easy to do as it sounds. The guards are programmed to detect and react to the smallest things -- not just visual cues, but audible ones as well.


On top of that, they have dogs that prowl in the most unexpected corners, forcing you to reveal your position. It’s really something, and people have been writing entire essays on just how good the AI is in Splinter Cell: Blacklist -- you can read one of them here.


The Last of Us


Developer: Naughty Dog
Release date: June 14, 2013
Platforms: PS3


If you’re wondering what this game is doing here (since the enemy AI in TLOU isn’t much to write home about) it’s really not about enemies this time, but instead about a companion AI -- Ellie. The teenage girl, the key to the survival of all humanity, is the star of the game, and it’s mainly because of an excellent AI.


Did you know that the release of TLOU was initially delayed for five months? The director of the game decided to overwrite the entire companion AI from scratch. Well, it’s a good thing that he did, because Ellie has become a true friend and not just another burden on your hands.


Here’s what Naughty Dog's Max Dyckhoff said about Ellie’s AI at GDC 2014 (watch the full presentation here):


“Much of this was built on simple ideas, such as how to decide where Ellie should stand: the basic mechanics decide a zone she can inhabit, then draws a series of lines between her and Joel, the direction she's looking in, and where she could potentially move to. If any of those lines hit a wall or obstacle, then Ellie can't stand there.”




Developer: Monolith Productions
Release date: October 17, 2005
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360


If there was ever a good AI in any FPS game, it was definitely the one in F.E.A.R. The enemies would never act in the same way, but they would react to each other’s situations and would never repeat the same mistakes. This prompted players to constantly change tactics and never sit in the same position.


Here’s how the designers of the AI have described their approach to F.E.A.R. (read full statement):


“In F.E.A.R., A.I. use(s) cover more tactically, coordinating with squad members to lay suppression fire while others advance. A.I. only leave cover when threatened, and blind fire if they have no better position.”


On top of that, enemy AI always applies pressure -- at times, you don’t even have the time to heal. The harder the difficulty you choose to play, the better the AI behaves.


That's not to mention the weapons physics and movement animations in this game were groundbreaking for its time.


Many game developers intentionally make the AI in their games easy to deal with. Only a few choose the hard way and try to challenge their fanbase by making AI behave in more inventive ways than just duck, dodge, fire. 


And of course, every gamer has his or her own favorite titles, but these nine games are universally praised for offering something new in the department of artificial intelligence. Each case has its own peculiar approach, and each shows just how deep one can dive into the possibilities of machine psychology.


Different genres of games utilize different algorithms when it comes to programming AI. For example, FPS games implement the layered structure of the artificial intelligence system, while RTS games have several modules, such as effective path-finding, economic structuring, game map analysis, and more.


You will learn about all these different algorithms in the list that follows. Let's get started. 

Four Amazing FPS Streamers of 2016 Sun, 06 Nov 2016 02:00:02 -0500 Timothy J. Ralston (TehMadCatter)


2016 was a great year for streamers and YouTubers, but just remember, as the years go by, so much more talent emerges from these social media outputs. There are millions that use both, and more users are made every day.


If you want to see more, check out GameSkinny for everything gaming!

1. Syndicate

Syndicate is one of the most well known names in Twitch, and in all honesty, he deserves it all. Tom “Syndicate” Cassell has been around for quite sometime, but it seems as the years continue on, Tom just gets better and better with his streams, videos, and any content he puts out anywhere.


Caring to fans, sensitive and very humorous, Syndicate cares completely about his fans and would give them the world if he could. Tom also has almost ten million subscribers on YouTube and 2.5 million followers on Twitch, earning and deserving every single viewer and subscriber.


With his amazing accent, fantastic skills of Call of Duty, and humor that puts a smile on anyone's face, Syndicate deserves his spot here, and I hope to see more of him in the future.

2. TimTheTatman

Tim “TimTheTatman” is a Twitch Streamer who mostly plays Overwatch, while also keeping up with the increasing fanbase he had gained over the years. While not as well known as some of the other entries on the list, TimTheTatman does deserve all the recognition he can get.


Tim is energetic and slightly offensive to those who are sensitive to certain phrases or words, but really gives his viewers an amazing 


Streaming almost every day and night, Tim connects with his fans, and even has a section for his “Kings and Gods” for subscribing to him. Like I said before, he isn’t as well known compared to others, but still has over three fourths of a million followers on his twitch account. Tim is recommended for anyone who is a fan of Overwatch, and just a fan of good, funny, savage commentary.

3. Swiftor

Mostly known for his Swiftor Says videos on YouTube, Joseph “Swiftor” Alminawi spends his time streaming on multiple consoles and his PC, mostly playing games like Call of Duty and Gears of War. Swiftor was also a user before the site went down, moving over to Twitch to stream.


Swiftor streams everyday, and has a “Gold Level Unibro” list which gives his viewers a chance on being on the list by buying Bits in the chat. Swiftor is well known in the Call of Duty fandom, and has almost a million followers on Twitch.


Along with a podcast he does on the side, D Pad Podcast, Swiftor is of interest to anyone who loves watching Call of Duty players, and deserves all of his fans.

4. SovietWomble

SovietWomble has been around both Twitch and YouTube for quite sometime, mainly being known for his excellent acting for betraying two players during a Rust stream. Womble is also known for his Bullshitery series when he highlights the best twitch moments with his clan, the ZF.


Womble streams almost every week day, and sometimes on the weekends, where he picks a few games to play with friends and streams for a few hours, getting content for his videos on YouTube. While only having 282 thousand followers on Twitch, Womble makes up for his follows with his YouTube subscribers, reaching a million subscribers just recently.


Accompanied by close friends such as Cyanide, Edberg, Kaffle and Nep, Womble gives his viewers endless entertainment no matter what he plays, be it horror, FPS, or even simulation games like Kerbal Space Program. If you are searching for a great stream with amazing people, then check out SovietWomble!


The great thing about Twitch are the million faces you see streaming. Whether it’s for comedy, or just to see the skill players have, Twitch had given us an opportunity to show off what we are capable of, and actually create a living on something gamers love to do.


As we get closer to the end of 2016, I believe it is time to look back and look at the top four best FPS Streamers of 2016!

Arma 3: Apex release date announced at the E3 PC Gaming Show 2016 Mon, 13 Jun 2016 14:12:12 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

During the PC Gaming Show at E3 2016, Bohemia Interactive's creative director, Jay Crowe, tactically made his way onto the stage to talk about the Arma 3: Apex update. Apex is releasing on July 11th, but anyone who pre-ordered can jump into the dev branch and try it out now.

Apex features 13 new weapons, like the fan favourite AK47, and fan hated RPG7, along with a M4A1 like rifle depicted in the trailer. Ten new vehicles, like a series first AWD jeep, multiple armoured transports, a RHIB making it's way back to the Arma series, and VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) craft capable of transporting another vehicles are being included. In addition to this, is a new 100 square km map set in a southern Pacific archipelago, called Tanoa. Lastly, the Apex update gives Arma players a 4-player co-op campaign set on Tanoa, with a story revolving around a new French speaking rebel faction, Syndikat, causing chaos on the island.

The Apex expansion brings ideas from the modding community, and ideas from the developers themselves together into one cohesive package.

Massive Arma 3 Overhaul Upsets Some Players Tue, 31 May 2016 04:51:39 -0400 Ray Hachey

Bohemia Interactive, the developer of Arma 3, has released update 1.60 as a giant step towards their next DLC, Apex. This 3.2 GB patch makes a number of improvements, fixes, and tweaks to the game, the most significant being user-friendly options on the Respawn Screen.

The new screen is less cluttered -- it allows an easy view of potential locations to rejoin the battle, and has the countdown timer large and in charge in the center of your screen. Moreover, choosing a role and viewing the associated loadout is done from the same tidy screen.

Other major changes include improvements to the multiplayer experience such as simplification of the Score/Stats display, and separation of the VON and Chat channels.

As is the case with updates of this size, some players are expressing dissatisfaction, especially on Steam where campaign progress has been lost and skies have turned black as night. On the official Twitter feed, however, the reaction is overwhelmingly positive.

With such a dedicated and numerous player base, the pain of a major update will soon be forgotten amidst the crash and boom of the big guns and the crackle of the radio calling in the artillery support. 

The best of gaming April Fool's pranks 2016 Fri, 01 Apr 2016 12:08:40 -0400 Ty Arthur

Forget Christmas or Halloween or Mass Effect 3's release date: April Fools is the best day of the year!

You can't trust anything you see today, and there have been some amazing zingers already from across the world of gaming on this much-loved holiday (OK, not everybody is a fan...but frankly seeing the rage of those who fall for the pranks is a significant portion of the fun.).

If you've been hiding underneath the digital covers to avoid getting trolled, we've rounded up the best of the best in today's bout of tomfoolery.

The Hearthstone MMO

Blizzard has a long and hallowed tradition of pissing people off by announcing MMOs that aren't actually happening on April 1st (remember that Starcraft one that had the world enraged?).

This year we've hit some sort of universe-shattering recursive paradigm, however. Hearthstone – a CCG based on the World Of Warcraft MMO – is apparently getting its own MMO, so would that just be World Of Warcraft or did a whole new dimension just pop into existence? Like, woah.


Google's Cardboard Plastic

Forget the Oculus Rift, because Google just gave us the most completely immersive headset experience you can possibly get. Amazing 360 degree view field, perfect audio, and it works with ALL apps!

What's more real than actual reality? (Probably the Hearthstone MMO, which I'm convinced is now seeping into our universe and overtaking this reality).

Dark Souls III The Movie

If you thought that animated short from Eli Roth was all the Dark Souls movie action you were getting this week, boy were you wrong. As it turns out, Far Cry isn't the only franchise that can go VHS retro. We can only hope that, much like Blood Dragon, this actually ends up being a real thing one day.

The Rage Quit Bot

Are you tired of having to actually rage quit a match by yourself? I mean, you've already thrown your controller across the room or bashed your keyboard into your monitor, so why should you then have to go through all the trouble of actually clicking a button to leave the match?

Rocket League has got you covered, with a patented new Rage Quit Bot that does all the work for you!

Project Bread Winner

Known for crafting high quality peripherals, Razer is finally giving gamers a tool they really want: the first gaming-grade kitchen appliance, so you can spend more time at your computer! Have a slice of ownage in the morning with this desperately long-overdue piece of hardware.

Wubba-Lubba Dub Dub!

Can't get enough Pocket Mortys? It's time to upgrade the Plumbus in your home! Everybody's got a Plumbus, but I bet you bought 'em low quality by the dozen at the local big box store.

Thankfully, Think Geek has decided to craft only the highest quality artistan Plumbuses (Plumusi?), made only using extra-virgin schleem. Pick yours up right here today.

Eau De Combat

A new fragrance exclusively for you hardcore Arma players has finally arrived! A press release about this already sold-out new perfume proclaims:

“Offering an unapologetic blend of florals, with a touch of soft gunpowder aroma, topped off with fresh notes of wood, mosses, and dirt, Arma Eau De Combat captures the heat of the moment and boosts your chances of victory in the trenches of seduction.”


Black Desert Online Adds Butt Poses

Angry soccer moms on the Internet might make Blizzard back down, but developer Pearl Abyss is made of stronger stuff. All new “butt pose” victory animations are being added into Black Desert Online's Crimson Battlefield PvP mode this week.

This is exactly what gaming needs more of these days

The Witcher 3 – Roach

In an interview with CD Projekt Red's head of the Bug Creation department, we finally discover why Roach behaved as she did in The Witcher 3 – and what's in store for her in future expansions.

Smite's New-ish God, Manticore

Long thought deleted from the practice match, the Manticore returns to offer nothing of real value, except for this hilarious video featuring dueling announcers:

Chocogo App

This would seriously make a lot of dreams come true. Which chocobo would you ride to work, and how many greens would you tip it?

Corn Hub

We all know what you pervs do the second you're done reading GameSkinny, so we thought this minor change to the PornHub website would interest you...

Well, my weekend's ruined...

What was your favorite April Fool's gaming prank this year that should have made our list?

April Fool's Day is Only for Fools Fri, 01 Apr 2016 05:26:46 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

April Fool's day is the worst. It's a day when everyone can say something stupid, and exclaim, "but it's April Fool's." That's like saying you were just joking, after saying something racist, offensive, or down right hurtful. It doesn't make it ok, it's just foolish. There are some times where April Fool's jokes are actually funny and creative, but most are someone saying, "hey, lol it's April 1st, so lets say this stupid thing and we will get away with it." Here's some of the dumb stuff that developers, and journalists, do for this awful holiday:

'Adding' random things to a game, or pretending to

Saying you are going to add something to a game isn't funny, because adding things to a game is a real thing. Doing this is just lying, some of them are actually genuinely good ideas, but they are just "lolz, April fools gotcha" bait. This isn't entertaining, it's just lying. April fools is about having some fun with jokes, not leading people on.

Optimus Prime in Titanfall? Would actually be something nice to have, as a special bonus every so often, or having a Transformers themed mode. But no "lulz April fools."

optimus prime titan fall

Call of Duty: Ghosts had some 'joke' names added to the match names. With "YOLO" being Search and Destroy, "PEW PEW" being Team Death Match, there was even a mode renamed to "new s**t" which appears to be a sector control mode, but I'm unsure of the original name. The worst offense is "bro, do you even cap?" Why is this funny? It's not even clever -- merely adding some random internet slang isn't intelligent or satirical. Being the thing isn't funny, it's just being the thing.

The few times I've found this funny is with the Pandaren race being added to World of Warcraft. While it was initially an April Fool's joke, it has actually been added to the game. That's the part I find strange. The initial idea was humorous, but why add it to the game? Why is that a good idea? Pandas are great, and Kung Fu Panda probably made people want it, I just don't see why it was needed as a paid expansion.

Fake announcements

Ever hear of the PlayStation Flow? While it may be a joke on peripherals, there is no subtlety in the jokes. It's an idea which is an ok joke for the first 20 seconds, and keeps going, and going. It just screams, this is the worst.

Knights of the Old Republic 3 is supposedly coming to Xbox One and PS4, this isn't funny, or a good prank. It's just annoying, confusing, and upsetting.

Kickstarter dropped the "e" to make it Kickstartr and acting like it's real. April Fool's isn't about making people angry or confused, but about making them laugh. And what about dropping the "e" is actually funny? It's not.

kickstarter kickstartr

I'm not all scrooge, I can laugh... seriously.

We all remember Arma 3's "Karts DLC". You don't? Oh... well let me remind you. The first piece of DLC for Arma 3 initially started as a joke. While funny at first, the fun quickly wore off. And then karts were added to Arma 3. This is an example of something being jokingly added, and then actually charged for. Unlike Blizzard with Mists of Pandaria, all proceeds were very kindly donated to charity by Bohemia Interactive -- something I respect them for, as they aren't taking it too seriously, and giving back. This year, Bohemia has gone a step further by selling a new fragrance, Eau De Combat, in a genuinely funny satirical take on perfume adverts.

We all know Roach, the horse from The Witcher 3, has some odd bugs. Well, turns out they were put there on purpose, because the horse simulation was just too good. Bugs are a way to remind players that the game world isn't the real world, so they aren't really bugs, are they? This is April Fool's done right, where someone is taking something and parodying it. It's an obvious joke, and not just there "for the views, but mostly lulz."

Another great example came from 2014, when CD Projekt Red showed that the Igni sign is real. This received a clap from me.

For another (and final) April Fool's joke done right, we can look to Tom Francis, the creator of Gunpoint who's currently working on Heat Signature. He has changed all the art and music for Heat Signature, due to legal trouble with John Roberts, the artist. Why is this good satire? Because it says "[untrue]" in the title. There is no confusion, you know it's a joke from the outset, so you can laugh at everything.

Fools of April isn't always a total bust

Those are just some examples of why April 1st has been renamed to "fools of April". There is, thankfully, some light at the end of the tunnel, with some spoofs, laughs, and good gags to be had. But why can't we all just be a bit more creative? And please stop selling these so called 'jokes', because that isn't funny. I would go watch a comedian if I wanted to buy humor.

Do you like, hate, or otherwise feel ambivalent about April 1st? Let me know in the comments below.

PC Gaming Show at E3: A PC Conference By PC Gamer and AMD Fri, 01 May 2015 06:34:37 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

PC gaming had a slump toward the end of the PS2 and Original Xbox era of consoles, and it stayed around the same until a few years ago. Now PC gaming has gone to new heights, buying a system that is capable of gaming is now more affordable than ever.

PC gaming is now getting its very own E3 conference called the PC Gaming Show, it will feature game reveals, updates to already loved games, and "key PC developers" will share their perspectives.

PC Gaming Show is brought to us by the sponsors:

  • AMD
  • PC Gamer
  • Bohemia Interactive
  • Twitch
  • Tripwire Interactive
  • Digital Storm

Who, What, Where, When?

Hosting the event will be Sean 'Day[9]' Plott of StarCraft fame, and will take place at the Belasco Theater, in Los Angeles, on Tuesday June 16th, 2015.

So who is going to be speaking? Because PC isn't a brand and doesn't have any corporation to tie its name too, it must be harder to find people to speak at an event like this, right? Well, not really, the already confirmed presenters are:

  • AMD - of hardware fame.
  • Blizzard Entertainment - of StarCraft and WoW fame.
  • Bohemia Interactive - of Arma fame
  • Cliff Bleszinski - of Boss Key Productions fame.
  • Cloud Imperium Games - of Star Citizen fame.
  • Dean 'Rocket' Hall - of DayZ fame.
  • Devolver Digital - of Hotline Miami fame.
  • Humble Bundle - of amazing indie game deals fame.
  • Heart Machine - of Hyper Light Drifter fame.
  • Paradox Interactive - of Europa Universalis and Magicka fame.
  • Square Enix - of Final Fantasy fame.
  • Tripwire Interactive - of Killing Floor and Red Orchestra fame.
  • And more to be announced.

Twitch is going to handle the live streaming of the event.

In the meantime, I'm wondering why Valve isn't already confirmed to be at the show, this is the best time to announce Half-Life 3.

3 Things I Want to See in Arma 3's Big Expansion Sat, 28 Feb 2015 07:38:34 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

Arma 3 is pretty much as close as we are ever going to get to real warfare (until Arma 4 comes out). It improved a lot of the series' core mechanics, from driving to animations, from weapon handling to stamina, from adding more stances to adding the ability to heal in prone. And a host of other additions. But like everything, it is far from perfect, so let's take some time and pin down what the Arma 3 expansion should add to enhance the experience that is Arma 3.

1. More locations and settings

Arma 2 improved from Operation Flashpoint to no end, adding amazing new locations, new guns, and new vehicles, but it kept the setting in the past. Whereas Arma 3 opted for the near future. But why not bring back the past with Arma 3's engine? And I don't just mean modding. (There is already a Community Upgrade Project which is porting all Arma 2 assets, including Operation Arrowhead into the Arma 3 engine.) But I'd like to see the team at Bohemia Interactive Studios create some more locations. Maybe Afghanistan, Iraq, or even Syria. Not going as far back as the Cold War, but the near past. That way all the modern weaponry and vehicles currently used can also be added.

2. Fix the AI

Just like with Arma 2, the AI was simply too good. They could shoot you out of the sky, and knew where you were even when hiding behind a bush. This was all fixed in the Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead expansion, so I am expecting a fix for the AI in Arma 3 expansion also. Maybe some CPU usage needs freeing up? Why not use the AMD Mantle API? This may then allow for a slightly more seamless port over to DX12? It will also be a great way to bring a performance boost to the game, which, considering the scale, runs amazingly well on most configurations.

3. Action menu, be gone!

Oh, how I loathe the Arma 3 action menu. It's the one thing the series could do without.

The action menu, oh how I sometimes loathe the action menu. It's the one thing the Arma series could do without. If you've never played Arma, let me introduce you to the action menu. You know that one family member that you have to put up with every Christmas? They don't ruin Christmas, but every so often they do something outright stupid. That, in a nutshell, is the action menu. Perfectly sane about 70% of the time, the other 30%, it just doesn't do what you want. Take this as an example:

If the action button is pressed and nothing is interactable nothing should happen. Most games do it this way, so why shouldn't Arma?

Fixing the action menu is not an easy task, but add in a few tap-to-activate and hold-to-activate options would be greatly appreciated. Make sure that the focus point is what your gun is pointing at, as you can freely move your head around in Arma. You can look around and open a door in front of you in real life, so in Arma you should also be able to.

Take the weapon switching out of the action menu and bring it into a CTRL+(Number) system. Put it this way, if you click the action button, and there is nothing interactable then nothing should happen. Most games do it this way, so why shouldn't Arma? The action menu has been around since the first game. It's time for it to change, to adapt, and overcome.

The Arma 3 Marksman DLC is coming soon and with it, a new bipod system, weapon resting, recoil, and weapon sway enhancements for the free updates. If you pay, you will get the new weapons and showcase.

What are you hoping for in the expansion for Arma 3? Let me know in the comments below.

Dedicated Servers vs Peer-to-Peer Connections Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:50:25 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

I'm going to talk about dedicated servers, and peer-to-peer connections. What exactly they do, what they are good at, and draw backs for each. I accept this is not the most exciting topic, but I am going to keep it brief and basic. The best combination for both the understanding of this and removing boredom.

Key phrases to know before we start:

  • Peer - Is another system (Any Xbox, Any PlayStation, or even a PC) connected to the same network as you, this is over the internet (when talking about gaming). Think a chain where each link is connected by string, the string being the internet.
  • Client - The system which is at the end of the chain. Your phone, PC or console is a client when connecting online.
  • Host - The system which distributes the data out to the clients.
  • Ping - The time it takes for any messages sent by a client to reach the host and make it back to the client.

Dedicated Server? Peer-to-Peer? What are they?

In a broad sense dedicated servers only have one task, often to simply host a game, all players wanting to play connect to the dedicated server.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) is actually a misconception. In a P2P network the data sent round the network gets sent from one peer to the following peer. P2P networks are not commonly used in gaming anymore, and they do not have need for a server.

This is what a P2P network looks like.

The true term for what people mean when they say peer-to-peer, is a Listen Server. This is when a host gets randomly selected, often the selection pool is from the players with the best connections. All the other players then connect to this host, if the host leaves the game either crashes, or migrates to a different host. Listen server configurations do require a server, which is what is different from a P2P.

Now time for more detail.

Dedicated Servers

As said before these host the game. Home internet does not have high enough upload speeds to cope with more than a few players, so a dedicated server's internet connection has a very high upload speed to cope with many more players, in the case of some MMOs this will often be 100s of players.

This also means that a developer will need to have a server bank. This is just many dedicated servers in a large room. There are commonly multiple server banks around the world, and often multiple in countries. As you can guess this all makes the cost of dedicated servers high. You also need to maintain and run the servers for a long time.

The biggest advantage of dedicated servers is stability, these create a very stable connection for players, who are then equally matched due to ping often being very low.

Arma 3 is best run off a dedicated servers as it is a very complicated game, and very taxing on the system. There can also be high player counts in Arma 3. MMOs most fundamental system are their dedicated servers. MMOs need to handle hundreds, sometimes thousands, of concurrent users smoothly for players to have a good experience. 

This is a large server bank.

Listen Servers

Due to what we already know about home internet connections, these are often unstable or 'laggy'. Lag is when the ping is very low, however lag doesn't affect the host. As they are hosting they only need to connect to themselves, which gives them the host advantage, as they get the best connection.

This configuration is the cheapest, and the most stable when there is a high amount of concurrent users. It is less stable for each match, but can support higher user counts on the game as a whole. If Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 had 10 dedicated servers you would only be able to play on 10 different servers. This is where listen servers help, there is a theoretical limit of matches which is equal to the current number of online players, that could be 50 or 1 million matches.

The server comes in for matchmaking, the game lobby, and to recording player stats.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Halo 4 and PayDay 2 are just a few games which use listen servers. This is to keep server costs down to a minimum, as well as allowing many simultaneous matches on many maps.

The person in red is the host, everyone else are the gamers connected to the host.

I hope that gaves you a basic understanding of the different server types, the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as how each server type gets used and for what purpose.

Arma 3 Helicopters DLC Out Now Thu, 06 Nov 2014 03:36:55 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

A new DLC for Arma 3 called Helicopters DLC out now. The DLC includes new helicopters and has been released along side a free update full of new vehicle-related features.

The CH-67 Huron Helicopter

This is, in look and usage, similar to the currently used Chinook. It's primarily used for transportation of troops and equipment. This also means it has a tandem rotor system, each rotor with its own engine, making this a very powerful lifter but also very large. There are two variants in game - armed and transport versions.

The Mi-290 Taru Helicopter

This is also used for transportation of troops and equipment, but different from the CH-67 Huron it has a modular design. You are able to attach different modules to it changing the primary focus. When its troop carrying module is attached (see image here) your troops sit in a 8 seater platform suspended from the helicopters airframe. Which causes your troops to be more exposed, but will allow for quick loading and unloading. It has a coaxial rotor system, meaning that there is no tail rotor (or rear anti torque), instead each rotor spins in different directions to counter a helicopters tendency of spinning in place.

Other additions with the DLC include Time Trials for you to put your pilot skills to the test, and a Sling Loading Showcase. I will talk about sling loading later. 

Free platform update

Alongside the DLC is also included a free platform update, available to all owners of Arma 3 whether you buy the DLC or not.

The update includes:

  • A sling loading system, which was previously only available with mods. This system allows you to carry vehicles and objects (eg. ammo boxes). The two new helicopters available in the DLC are able to use this system.

The CH-67 Huron using the sling loading system on a container.

  • A whole new, and optional flight model, dubbed the RotorLib helicopter flight model. This is a similar model to Take on Helicopters, so expect much more realistic handling of all helicopters with this on.
  • A new VR training course for you to get to grips with the new RotorLib flight model.
  • New objects, including ropes, cranes and tool boxes. This is mostly for the Arma 3 content creation community more than the average player.
  • A new multiplayer mode called Support. In this mode you are tasked with transporting friendly units around the battlefield, for a sector control type game mode. Part of this mode also includes logistical support (transporting supplies or vehicles) and medevac.
  • You can now fire from vehicles. This means without getting out your helicopter or ground vehicle you can engage enemies. Of course not all vehicles will work with this, only ones which are you are outside, like in the back of the Off-road or when on the side of the MH-9 Hummingbird.

 Firing from the back of an Off-road.

Arma 3 Helicopters DLC will set you back €12.99, £10.99 or $15.99, buy it from the BIS Store, or from Steam. If you bought the DLC Bundle you will have all the extra content as well as the upcoming Marksmen DLC. Make sure to check if you have DLC before purchasing. If you are unsure how see, check here.

What do you think of the price of this DLC against the amount of content it offers? Is a good price, too much or not enough?

I would say that the price would cover all the free content as well as DLC, but is a little steep for just the DLC. Especially considering you can only use the sling loading system if you have the DLC.

A List of 10 Bang-For-Your-Buck Games to Watch for on the Steam Summer Sale Thu, 19 Jun 2014 18:44:13 -0400 Derek Paulus

The Steam Summer Sale is finally here. It is a celebrated time when gamers from all around abuse their wallets to purchase games they will play for 15 minutes before forgetting them forever to collect virtual dust on the Steam library shelf. 

It doesn't have to be this way, however, and with some research and a little willpower you can restrict your summer Steam purchases to games that will keep pulling you back time and time again. Here are my picks for games to keep tabs on in this year's Steam summer sale that could get you the most for your money. These are either games that allow extensive gameplay, gameplay variety, have strong modding communities, or a combination of the three, regardless of whether or not they have yet been discounted on the Steam summer sale.

10. Garry's Mod 

This is not a game for everyone but if you like a sandbox that allows you to create vehicles, flying machines, structures, and just about anything you can imagine, this is a game for you. Garry's Mod uses Valve's Source game engine to allow players to manipulate objects, meaning you can spend hours crafting and testing your builds.

Sharing items and downloading user-created props is made easy with the Steam Workshop. There are 342,165 entries in the Garry's Mod Workshop at the time of writing this article. If you get bored with the limits of your own imagination, you can always check out the imagination of someone else.

Additional multiplayer game modes are also available, with PropHunt currently being the top rated entry in the Workshop. "Trouble in Terrorist Town" is also a popular multiplayer mode that pits innocents against traitors, requiring social engineering to determine who is the traitor (or to convince others that you are not the traitor).


9. Fallout: New Vegas 

This title almost didn't make the list, but after hearing so much about the endless playability from others, I felt it had to be included.

New Vegas seems to have a strong modding community despite releasing back in 2010. The game ends after the main quest is completed, so to get the most for your money, you will want to be sure to download a mod that allows you to continue playing even after you've beat the game.

There are also six inexpensive DLCs available right from the Steam page that can add even more gameplay.


8. Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition 

What Borderlands 2 lacks in variety, it makes up for in length of gameplay. If you're looking for a roleplaying first-person shooter that provides lots of gameplay, this may be the game.

While the original Borderlands 2 provided under 100 hours of gameplay for some players, the Game of the Year edition has the potential to offer over 200 hours. With enough of a discount from Steam, this could be a no-brainer buy.


7. Total War Series 

Pick the time period that best suits your interest and you will find yourself playing this game for a long time. If you prefer, however, you can purchase the whole series and play even longer if Steam offers the right price.

From Gamespy

Total War offers a single player campaign mode that can continue as long as you want it to. Hours will be spent managing cities, recruiting troops, entering diplomatic negotiations with other nations, and of course, testing your military tactics on the battlefield. If you conquer the world with one nation you can always devise new tactics and conquer with another.

If you need more of a challenge, you can hop into multiplayer and battle one or more opponents to really put your skills to the test.

Moreover, Total War has a healthy modding community, with the Steam Workshop also available for Rome II and Shogun II, allowing players to continually alter their play to experience the game in new ways.


6. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 

This game is long. Mind you, the main quest can be completed in a relatively short period of time, but with the variety in character creation, the adventuring, the side quests, and the time you will spend just staring in awe at some of Skyrim's sight-seeing spots, it seems like this game could never be explored to its full extent. 

Many mods are also available that not only tweak various aspects of the game to fit individual preferences, but can also add news storylines and worlds to explore. 

If you want to take a step back in the series, Oblivion is also an excellent choice with huge amounts of gameplay for your money.


5. Arma 3 

Multiplayer is where you will likely find the most bang-for-your-buck in this game, though there are many player created missions that you can download if you want to increase your single player experience.

If you don't like putting in a lot of effort (what can sometimes feel like actual work) then this is likely not the game for you. If you're someone who doesn't mind coordinating with other players and traveling to your mission objective for 20 minutes before encountering the enemy, then you will find Arma 3 can keep you entertained for hours at a time. 


4. Don't Starve 

Don't Starve is a unique experience that seems to offer players new and strange encounters every time they open the game. 

As a survival game it is no surprise that Don't Starve has the potential to offer lengthy gameplay. What really keeps this game interesting, however, is that you never quite know what you will find. You're thrown into a world that you won't quite understand and seems to continually provide news discoveries, keeping the game fresh for a long time.

A free multiplayer expansion will be released this summer, further increasing the games bang-for-your-buck quality. It would be wise to purchase Don't Starve during this Steam summer sale, however, since the regular price of the game will increase once multiplayer is released.


3. X3 Series 

This is not a title I have experience with but from what I have heard, it has tons of replay value. Despite being a single player game with a campaign story, it takes place in an active world where you can expand your space empire through military and trading. This is a game I will likely be checking out.


2. Dark Souls 

Despite the second installment of this series being released only months ago, some players expressed the feeling that the original had more replay value, which is why this particular game makes the list. Even so, both games seemed to be praised for this aspect.

Steam offers the Prepare to Die Edition, which features an untold chapter in the story.


1. Mount & Blade: Warband 

Warband released in 2010, yet it still seems to be as popular as ever. Much of this has to do with the game's modding community constantly finding new ways to reinvent the game for both singleplayer and multiplayer modes.


The campaign has players take the role of an adventurer who starts with next to nothing and must build an army and income to slowly make a mark on the land, which by itself can go on without end. Singleplayer mode ends when you want it to. If you get bored with the original singeplayer, there are countless mods for you to download to enhance your experience

The game's multiplayer also has a wealth of mods with an active multiplayer community. With so many mods, it won't be surprising to find that many are no longer active, but you will find many that are. If you have a few friends, however, it can be fun to download a mod together and enter an abandoned mod to play by yourselves.

Additionally, a DLC is available titled Napoleonic Wars, which brings the muskets and cannonballs of the Napoleonic era to the multiplayer game. Spending a few extra bucks on this DLC will open you up to even more mods that can provide even more game experiences. 


No doubt many games did not make this list, so feel free to share your bang-for-your-buck picks in the comments. Enjoy the summer, and spend wisely.

Arma 3 Zeus DLC Sun, 16 Feb 2014 23:53:22 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

The Zeus DLC looks like the MMC mod, which simply allows one or more players to control, in real-time, the scenario. Along with players battling it out, playing the game. The Zeus player can do everything within a 3D editor, but there is a 2D editor for the quick and dirty edits.

And many trolls were made that day! Well that would be the case if there wasn't an area in which Zeus cannot place any units, but Zeus can place movement waypoints for the AI.

As you can see, you can set your own custom objectives on the fly. So, want to stop someone destroying your special tank, even though you told them to? Well, just cancel that objective, and make a new one, which would be to capture the tank.

Make your own stories, let players loose, and change the mission when it's too hard, or too easy.

Or if something is going wrong, make the objective fail and call a retreat.

This is why it's called Zeus; you get to rain down lighting strikes which will destroy anything they touch, if you have enough points.

Mega troll mode activate! Well, you can just use for atmosphere, please just use it for atmosphere!

Say bye-bye (see image above) to your evening. Bohemia Interactive did a livestream showing Zeus DLC gameplay, which during this they released on to the development build of the game.

See the exlivestream here.

What do you think of this type of DLC? Put your thoughts in the comments bellow.

Personally, I think it's great! As I have never been a dab-hand at using the 2D editor in Arma 3, and find 3D editors a lot easier, I hope this is still the case with Arma 3. I will be able to create scenarios, and make them nice and easy. Hey! I need to look good sometimes.

To the Rescue: How Gamers Are Saving the PC Market Wed, 04 Sep 2013 16:35:24 -0400 Andrew Wynans

In an increasingly Mobile / Tablet focused market, who will save the PC?

The rise of mobile devices and tablet computers had gobbled up chunks of the market, leaving the PC to struggle for relevance in a consistently more portable world. Back in May, the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicted that PC sales would drop by 7.8 percent in 2013, almost doubling its 4 percent drop in 2012.  

But as with all great epic tales, a band of heroes have arisen to protect the PC from the specter of insignificance. 

Who are these brave individuals holding strong to their PCs while the mobile world lays siege on all sides?  

Gamers, of course. 

A band of heroes have arisen to protect the PC from the specter of insignificance. Who are these brave individuals holding strong to their PCs while the mobile world lays siege on all sides?  Gamers, of course.

In a press release, Jon Peddie Research (JPR) predicted that the global market for PC gaming hardware would not decrease with the broader PC market, but rather would increase from about $17.8 billion in 2013 to over $20 billion by 2016.   JPR attributes this growth to the PC's ability to deliver better functionality than their mobile or cloud counterparts, specifically when it comes to graphics.  

Jon Peddie, President of JPR, said in a statement,

"Not only is gaming becoming an even more important purchasing influence of PC sales due to the offloading of more basic functionality to smart devices, but we are forecasting growth in the most expensive discrete graphics products.  We are also impressed with the embedded graphics offerings this generation and going forward."

JPR predicts that Bohemia Interactive's upcoming release of ARMA 3 will drive about $800 million in PC builds

This increased functionality, specifically in graphics, is important to gamers because of the increasing complexity of the games that gamers are playing.  For example, JPR predicts that Bohemia Interactive's upcoming release of ARMA 3 will drive about $800 million in PC builds.  According to JPR, because recent games are more demanding on the CPU, gamers are foregoing standard components, and instead building custom machines from the ground up. 

Hardcore gamers will not be surprised by the consistent and even increasing demand for stronger PC components to keep up with the games they want to play.  But in a world that seems to be focused on mobility and the potential for the integration of computing into every aspect of our lives, it is refreshing to see gamers continuing to carry the torch for the traditional PC.  

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Arma 3 Will Not be Getting a Single Player Campaign at Launch Wed, 07 Aug 2013 07:02:47 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

It was recently announced that Arma 3 will not be getting a campaign at launch.

Evan Lahti of PC Gamer got in touch with Joris-Jan van’t Land (Project Lead) and Jay Crowe (Creative Director). This is the short and snappy version of what was said.

Evan first asked:

Arma 3 will launch with zero campaign episodes, but you’ll begin releasing them one per month for the three months following release. Is that accurate?

Jay Crowe replied with:

 ...of course, they’re free.

Followed by:

...we can gradually extend with free additions like the campaign episodes.

 Joris-Jan van’t Land said:

But, honestly, we will admit that this is not our originally planned release strategy. It is one borne from the problems the project faced over the past years, the insightful experiences of releasing public Alpha and Beta versions, and wanting to deliver a quality campaign.

So what is it about?


The player is a regular soldier, a Corporal who’s part of a NATO peacekeeping mission in the Mediterranean. Originally deployed in the wake of the total economic collapse of the Republic of Altis—a nation something like the size of Malta—a situation that flared up into a bloody civil war. It’s been a couple of years of uneasy peace following a cease-fire. This US-led force is now in the process of a staged drawdown, tasked to decommission the bases and coordinate the scrapping of military equipment and vehicles that they can’t afford to ship back home.

This withdrawal takes place in the context of decades of recession in the west and a rise in power and ambition of nations under the banner of CSAT, the Canton-Protocol Strategic Alliance Treaty. Stratis—the island where the player’s unit is based—is a key strategic position between east and west. But, with the US more concerned about its interests and influence in the Pacific and traditional European powers looking inwards at their flatlining economies and mass unemployment, it’s become something of an unaffordable operation.

The vacuum left by withdrawing NATO forces is being rapidly filled by CSAT, creating the conditions for, one might say, a flashpoint. The campaign follows the player from this point and examines his role across three distinct episodes: Survive, Adapt, Win.

Talking about the experiences you will get in the game, Crowe said:

Let’s take the most awkwardly named episode. I mean—”Survive,” “Adapt”—those themes immediately conjure up some sense of the experience, but “Win,” well, perhaps appears more two-dimensional. Smells a bit like tiger blood or something. So, here, we ask the designers to think about what “winning” actually means. There are the obvious things like, being part of a dominant force or striking serious blows against your enemy, but one might also consider things like the price of victory, winning at what cost, winning against the odds, despite friendly fire, etc. We want our game mechanics and features to be meaningful and, to do that, we want to put players in specific situations and challenge them to think about how to complete their objectives.

Further information about the campaign can be found here.

You can head over to PC Gamer and find the full interview there.

Arma 3 Game Update 0.72: Lets Get Some Beta Action Fri, 19 Jul 2013 05:58:39 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

Spotrep #00007

Game Update 0.72

There are a massive amount of updates in this one, as is usual with betas. This decently sized ~885MB update for the Arma 3 Beta is going to be adding a lot of new content.

As there is so much content being added I will outline the main updates for the beta, as well as how that has been improved in this update.

So what is beta in the beta? (reusable jokes are...sorry)

Remember that one mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 called The Pit? Yes, it's that one, where you shoot targets, or even that mission in its predecessor Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, F.N.G, yep the one where you storm a ship, except made of cardboard... Well you can now do that in Arma, except it is a lot more complex, and involves weapon switching, and leaning, also longer distance shooting of moving and static targets, with prone and crouch added for extra difficulty. Well they have now added a few improvements to this.

  • "For lazy Mr. Endstar" there is now an automatic reload and resupply added upon restart of the mission.
  • Ability to quit after finishing the CoF (Course of Fire), meaning you can now quit when you finish that Firing Drill Challenge, you can just quit if you're a Mr/Mrs Perfect.
  • The last change I will talk about is the addition of an audio cue when you are going over the another medal, just so you know you are being Mr/Mrs Slow Coach.
Now some changes on other things:
  • Helicopters are now more agile.
  • Parachutes have been added to light helicopters, and all passengers in all helicopters can now eject and paradrop on those pesky enemy lines. Hopefully not Band of Brothers style (scattered over half of the place you are landing in).
  • Cargo parachutes for supports are here too!
Staying with the vehicle theme:
  • You now cannot go from the cargo/flatbed of a Truck to the cabin, meaning getting out and stopping running around and getting it, realism can be a pain sometimes, but I like this one.
  • Collision damage is tweaked for vehicles, they will now be more resistance especially at lower speeds.
  • Wheels of APCs have now be moved from a flying vehicle, to actually being on the road.
  • The Zamak's wheels destruction has been tweaked, changing the radius of those destroyed wheels.
For some weapons:
  • OPFOR Recon should have its guns back (GUNZZ I SAY!).
  • Katiba has it's variants back.
  • Aiming of the ACP-C2 has been adjusted, and it now uses .45 magazines.
  • Also with the ACP-C2, but also the Vermin, they now have sound suppressors, for their .45 ammo.

Right--I think that is all with that, otherwise this will go on too long.

Let's talk about Engine updates.
  • Steam friend invites! Woop. Wait...does that mean I can invite my friends, with less effort, happy times for Lazies, that's the second Lazies fix.
  • Wind synchronisation is now in MP.
  • The body damage system has been improved, well at least the detection part of it.
  • AI use Thermal Imaging when available, so stay frosty.
  • You can now get into vehicles which cannot move, so shooting from a techne with no engine will be a good tactile option, if there is only 2 enemies, who are not looking at you, and do not have any sort of explosive weapons.
  • No copying backpacks, when trying to place a vest or uniform in there.

To see all the updates, check out the source.

For buying the game on Steam, or directly from Bohemia, click on the respective name, and when the beta ends, you get access to the full game.

For any other information about the beta, click here.

Bohemia Hacked, May Have Compromised User Information Fri, 12 Jul 2013 12:30:21 -0400 Cupcakecrisis

The developers behind Arma and Day Z have announced they were the victims of an “illegal attempt” to access personal usernames and information on their servers.  On July 11th hackers obtained “a database containing usernames, email addresses and encrypted passwords.”

 According to the security update on their interactive website...

“Please note due to the encryption of the passwords it is very unlikely that anything nefarious can be done with this information.”

Bohemia also ensures,

“No other information such as credit card details is stored by us and thus was not at any risk from this illegal breach.”

To take further precaution, the developers decided to reset all passwords on site--users cannot access any of their websites or forums until they create a new password.

No word yet on who is responsible party for the security breach.

ARMA 3 Open Beta is Now Live Tue, 25 Jun 2013 16:22:19 -0400 Lui Galletto

Bohemia Interactive has opened the beta to their newest game ARMA 3. Downloads are readily available for $19.99 on their official website and on Steam.

The game is a followup to the insanely popular 2009 hit ARMA 2. The title has seen millions of downloads, both paid and free, and has spawned multiple mods, most famously DayZ.

ARMA 3 Beta will be bringing new features to players in the 20 km² island of Stratis to explore. Rugged terrain, expansive forests, and military bases will make their return as a staple of ARMA gameplay.

New types of aircraft, watercraft, trucks, and tanks will be available to play over the new terrain. You can also customize load outs and pick new gear and weapons as you approach conflict in different ways.

You can play through 8 brand new showcase missions on the Island or run through the competitive firing drills to hone your skills.

If you don't feel like playing alone, squad based gameplay will is back in full force and you can team up with friends and strangers 4 co-operative multiplayer scenarios.

The in game engine has been revamped, which means smoother animations, better graphics, clearer sound, and improved physics. The scenario editor is back so people can create new and bigger mods. With such an active community, it will not be surprising to see some incredible mods over the coming months.

The specs to run the game are not incredible, but they still require some power behind them: 

OS: Windows Vista SP2/Windows 7 SP1 (Apple OS not supported) OS: Windows Vista SP2/Windows 7 SP1 (Apple OS not supported)
Processor: Intel Dual-Core 2.4 GHz/AMD Dual-Core Athlon 2.5 GHz 512MB Processor: Intel Core i5-2300/AMD Phenom II X4 940 1GB
Memory: 2 GB RAM Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT/ATI Radeon HD 3830/Intel HD Graphics 4000 Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 560/AMD Radeon HD 7750
Hard Drive: 15 GB free HDD space Hard Drive: 25 GB free HDD space
Audio: DirectX® compatible on-board Audio: DirectX® compatible soundcard

So, if you are interested, go sign up for the paid beta!