ArmA: The RTS

By Alec Meer on May 22nd, 2008 at 1:04 pm.

It's war!

I don’t play Armed Assault, bar a disastrous tinker with the demo, which resulted in me holding my head in my hands, rocking, sobbing gently and begging that a passing member of PC Gamer help me, oh God won’t they please help me. I very much feel as though I should, and I’ve been told or sent links to any number of incredible tales of high heroism and astonishing accomplishment that sound impossible in any other game. Unfortunately, I am scared and stupid and all-too-brief of attention-span, so I shall leave the game to men of greater resolve than I.

Nevertheless, I remain fascinated to hear about it, and the new mode in its just-released latest free update certainly sounds fairly remarkable. It’s shaking off the shackles of first-person shooter oppression and running for the real-time strategy hills.

400 square kilometres of real-time strategy hills, specifically.

“WARFARE blends tactical, team-based multiplayer missions with deep realtime strategy. Two sides fight for control of the entire 400 sq km map in titanic battles over air land and sea. Players must capture whole cities to gain resources that can be channelled into manufacturing even more weapons of war. Each side has one commander, who can build factories and defensive structures in and around their base. As long as they have enough money and resources, players can use these factories to build units, weapons and vehicles. Defensive structures can be used to defend bases and the units stationed there. Players must take account of logistical considerations outside their bases and cities too as truck convoys ferrying supplies between settlements are vulnerable to attack. Players on each side are divided into a maximum of 16 teams. The commander can give these teams side missions and specify tasks or objectives, coordinating the entire side to ensure victory. This is war on a unprecedented scale, even for ARMA!”

Which all sounds rather good. I was initially annoyed that they’d used capital letters for the name, but the sort of scope this is on about really does suggest there’s a none-more-perfect title than WARFARE.
WARFARE!

The update also includes an editing suite, further cementing ArmA’s reasonably unique status as a game in which its players shape its course as much as its developers do (EVE is the closest analogy that springs to mind – it certainly inspires similar obsession amongst its players). It’s fascinating to have witnessed from afar ArmA’s progression from slightly scoffed at bugarama into this silently unstoppable titan. There’s really nothing quite like it. Hooray for it!

More details and a downloady-linky here.

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25 Comments »

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  1. Albides says:

    I’ve drunk a bit and thought Armed Assault was the American military recruitment tool one. No, not that one. Yes, that one, America’s Army. Am I the only one for whom these military FPS just sort of blur together, and therefore don’t bother?

    Wikipedia says stuff that makes this game seem fabulous to this alcohol-addled mind. Which means either some pedantic Wiki-git hasn’t bothered to slap a not-neutral tag on the thing, or it’s actually pretty good and deserves a look even though the name of the title is so unremarkable I’m likely to forget it when it counts.

  2. phuzz says:

    I played waaay too much Operation Flashpoint (which ArmA is the successor to) back in the day. I guess my PC would be able to cope with this now so maybe I should give it a shot (ha!), that is once I’ve finished Stalker (which reminds me a bit of OpF, apart from the rpg elements).
    I still have a fear reaction to Mi-24s because of OpF, dunno what I’d do if I spotted one in real life, probably run for the nearest cover…

  3. dishwasherlove says:

    Not quite the successor to OFP that many hoped, but still worth a look. Especially since that those system requirements from 2006 don’t look so daunting now. The gamemode mentioned was a very popular mod for OFP called Capture the Island (CTI). Good to see the devs making the effort to get it into ArmA.

  4. Tim E says:

    Everything that was wrong with ArmA at launch has been fixed now – other than the mostly shit single player campaign. It’s become quite the game, though.

  5. Larington says:

    They really ought to go back and fix that single player campaign, and the training missions. For the helicopter training mission, I kept accidentally killing my instructor who was too stupid to climb in the damned thing.

    Then theres a difficulty I’ve had finding the right command to get a medic to heal myself or a squad mate (I haven’t so far, and its unlikely I’ll be trying again anytime soon)…

    Thing is, I like to complete the single player campaign of a game before going online but the difficulty and occasional bugginess of the single player campaign make that err, troublesome.

  6. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    I’m definitely going to pick this up at some point during the summer – if like TIMMY says they’ve fixed it all up I can’t pass on having a go at the successor to Operation Flashpoint – one of the best games ever, surely.

  7. Janek says:

    Oh God I miss playing CTI cooperatively against the AI with the folks from State, on the original OFP.

    I probably spent way too long tinkering with the innards of the CTI scripting, trying to crowbar in the British. You can’t imagine the disproportionate amount of pride I felt when I finally got the union jack to work in captured cities.

    And of course, nukes. For when the game is taking too damned long and you’ve all got to go soon.

  8. Nny says:

    Guess it’s time to fire it up again, it might just run well on my current system now :)

  9. Dinger says:

    There were a couple things that just hurt in ArmA. The missions it comes with are made without love, and the AI is basically OFP’s, with none of the “realism” limitations that ArmA introduces to your player.
    Also all that fancy stuff introduced some instability, so that after a certain number of alt-tabs, it crashes, and in any case loading in all those textures takes quite a bit of time. (so rapid debugging of missions/addons is no longer possible)

    But what you have is a FPS that’ll support (well) about 30 players, a 20x20km map, any and all kinds of vehicles, and scripting to do whatever you like with ‘em. Warfare will just scratch the surface of what the engine can do.

    But if the game keeps developing for the hard core, they’re not going to get the volume of players necessary to bring these things to fruition. Here’s hopin’
    (because I am quite capable of wasting months of my life building the delivery systems to bring in the nukes Janek so dearly needs)

  10. Pod says:

    MY computer lets out tears just thinking about running this game. Therefore I haven’t played it. (OR HAVE I?!) I did love Operation Flashpoint though. Much fun.

    How does the “building” aspect fair in ArmA then? And what a stupid name that is. Is this game as much fun to play as those Half-Life mods of a similiar nature? (Natural Selection and Empires). Especialy when you factor in the fragility of players in these sorts of games… squishy squishy soliders.

  11. zima says:

    I’d be really glad to see some sort of chain of command. IMHO that’s really crucial missing element in such games…after initiall amazement at gfx/weapons/world I always felt that something was missing (this feeling was most profound in PlanetSide, I think…); why am I doing this? Who’s telling me what to do/what will happen if I won’t?
    Usually the mood was gone at this point, no matter how fun the game was initially…

  12. Deuteronomy says:

    People seriously need to stop mentioning how their computer will not play game X. I’m not interested in the fact you’re trying the equivalent of playing a PS3 game on a PS2. Spend a couple hundred bucks and shut up.

  13. Fat Zombie says:

    Well, Deuteronomy, I will respond by saying that even though my PC can’t play ArmA with all the bells and whistles YET, when I upgrade (and this will hopefully be soon), I will buy this. I’ve tried the demo, and it is certainly the awesomest.

    Thing is, I installed OFP earlier today, and immediately uninstalled it upon realising that the way ArmA handles everything is better, much so. So the ArmA demo spoiled OFP for me. Woo!

  14. ViscountGrizzley says:

    Please don’t judge the game by the demo. That was years ago and so very messed up. I play ArmA regularly with a good group and it’s something unique and incredible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIY0CVz6WXE

  15. Fat Zombie says:

    Well, I thought that the demo was good anyway. If it’s better, then boy howdy!

    (Is the game itself better performance-wise than the demo?)

  16. THELEIF! says:

    My computer can run it.

    My spiritual guide tells me that any Pc gamer with an inadequate rig are XBox owners that secretly wants to destroy the PC gaming reputation. He also tells me that he know this because his inner voice told him this so it must be true.

  17. ViscountGrizzley says:

    Oh, and here’s a 1.14 change summery.
    http://www.bistudio.com/armanews/arma-updated-to-version-1.14-2_en.html

  18. Leviticus says:

    Deuteronomy is such an angry young man. xx

  19. Fat Zombie says:

    Well my computer CAN run it, that’s fine; I’m actually impressed that my system can run it (Socket A AMD Athlon XP 2400+, AGP Radeon X1600Pro, 1GB DDR RAM), it just tends to go slowdown if there’s more than a few vehicles, or lots of soldiers, etc.

  20. phuzz says:

    Hey Deuteronomy, can I borrow a couple of hundred bucks? I’d like to upgrade my system ;)

  21. Fat Zombie says:

    Might need a bit more than that, phuzz. A couple of hundred bucks would convert to around a hundred quid; not much if you’re intending to upgrade your PC to anything special, I gather.

    Can I borrow a couple of thousand bucks, Deut?

  22. Erlam says:

    Damn, this looks good. Any comments on the building, such as “it works and is awesome” or “damn I hate it”?

    You know, any info at all really.

  23. Krulin says:

    Sweet, sweet game, love it to death, and my computer does cry at the thought of playing it as well, but they are tears of joy. :D But i love it mainly because it’s way more realistic, there is no one man army, unless you have a helicopter and they don’t :D. But one man, probably won’t take out 10 by himself, unless it’s night-time.

  24. teaCup says:

    Warfare is a joke.

    But ArmA is sort-of decent now, after few years of patching.

    For kickass gameplay, try tournaments like IC-ArmA or AToW. IC had as much as 148 people (European and North American) playing simultaneously. Now that was a battlefield!

  25. Jim says:

    Gone back to this lately and I have to say the WARFARE!!!! mode is fantastic, must improved over the earlier versions too now that the newer patches have fixed a lot. The lag is very minimal and playing it with mates on voice comms is a big laugh. For those wanting a more hardcore experience in a similar vein try Evolution where you need more teamwork.