Far Cry 2: Death To The Trees

[EDIT: Now with Mystbusters-stolen investigative journalism]

I’m so pleased Far Cry 2 looks amazing. There was an obvious fear (pun so intended) that after Crytek made their own sort-of-sequel without Ubisoft, that the publisher’s sequel would be a, “Yeah! Well we’ll make our own game too then!” revenge release, probably consisting of a side-scrolling platformer with bullet time. But instead, they seem to be making the most realistic foliage simulator of all time. Have a look:

Merci beaucoup Gametrailers.

Sure, maybe they’ll one day show us the game that goes with it. But right now, I’m not sure I’m too worried. Far Cry 2 promises that it will be a free-roaming game, letting you choose what to do throughout, and I’ve a strong feeling that what I’ll choose to do is fire my gun at branches while the sun rises over the horizon. Also shoot at zebras. So as far as I’m concerned, they’re pitching these preview trailers perfectly. (Actually, there’s quite a lot of gameplay footage in this very unofficial video, including the infamous “healing” techniques, of extracting bullets with pliers, or patting out fire on your arms.)

Right, let’s link to this for as long as it lasts, and try to appease Discovery by giving them a nice big plug. Mythbusters (Wednesdays at 9, on the US Discovery channel) recently asked the question: Can a machine gun really chop down a tree?

Hand-held, it seems no. But what about with a Dillon gatling minigun?

“It smells good! It smells like destruction.”


  1. Kevin Lee says:

    Wow thats exactly what it looks like when I go to Africa with my AK74 and desert Eagle and blow limbs off trees.

  2. Binni says:

    I would actually like a game that looked like that but had absolutely nothing to do with guns or shooting trees for that matter.

  3. Okami says:

    Real time tree growing… Might be nice for fantasy games.

  4. Matu says:

    Yeah, imagine how trippy that would be if they were mushrooms instead of trees.

  5. Okami says:

    The possibilities for simulating drug induced paranoia are endless…

  6. phuzz says:

    Is anyone else getting flashbacks to Operation Flashpoint?
    (given that the only similarity is the open enviroment there’s just something that gives me the same feeling as OpF)

  7. brog says:

    i’d buy that as-is. don’t need enemies or anything.

    don’t know what the hell they’re thinking not using real-time tree growth in the game. this is the kind of time when something so good comes up in development that you change the whole premise of your game to fit it in.
    i guess there are always mods.

  8. Lorc says:

    Anybody else remember Terra Nova? Specifically its “trees destroyed” percentage at the end of each mission.

    Ah, nostalgia.

  9. ran93r says:

    Side scrolling platformer with bullet-time, SWEET!

  10. Dinger says:

    Actually, I’m having flashbacks to the Crysis demo at the last real/circus E3 (or was it somewhere else), where they demonstrated the “realistic” vegetation effects by sawing down a tree with an AK-47.
    Those Americans out there, feel free to take your 9 mils and exercise your Second Amendment rights on a bush. Then report back here and tell us how many branches fell off.

    Procedurally grown vegetation is already well on its way to becoming a standard. There are at least two problems: calculating changes and storing data. Do you dynamically create/recalculate the vegetation at the moment the user looks at it (processor-intensive), or do you have a periodic “vegetation update” that rewrites the vegetation part of the map (storage-intensive)?

    Then you get to the problems of doing so in a multiplayer environment. Deformable terrain is great, but if I’m in a firefight with fifty of my buddies, and I decide to put a round from a .22 TP rifle into a Redwood, causing it to fall over on the heads of a flanking squad, all clients need to know where that bullet hit, what that Redwood did, and where the branches now lie. Y’all can cheat, but bandwidth ain’t unlimited.

  11. John Walker says:

    Actually, I really want someone to do this. Someone scary who owns automatic weapons – go shoot up a tree somewhere, and film the results.

  12. Richard says:

    Mythbusters already did it, with three types of machine guns. It’s impossible to find episodes of TV shows online, so don’t even try looking for the second Viewer Special in the most recent series.

  13. Paul Moloney says:

    Maybe no whole episodes, but “Mythbusters take down tree with minigun” can be seen here.

    link to youtube.com

    Kari has never looked lovelier.


  14. Alex says:

    Far Cry 2 promises that it will be a free-roaming game, letting you choose what to do throughout

    It would be nice if, this time around, there’ll actually be something to do in this ‘free-roaming game’, something beyond a ‘main campaign’ that you still have to follow through in a linear fashion, so that there actually is a reason to roam freely.

  15. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @Paul Moloney: I think Richard’s comment was somewhat tongue in cheek.

  16. Lunaran says:

    So is this game about pruning trees and getting caught in the rain? Where’s the gameplay? Why do we focus on this silly rubbish?

    As soon as he pointed out the growth thing my hopes perked up. Ooh! This is new – this you can make gameplay with. Perhaps the secret evil experiment this time is something on the order of the genesis device, gone horribly awry of course. Genesis grenades, grow your own cover! Perhaps you must fight off the jungle itself as it continually thickens around you, ordinarily harmless wildlife becoming super-sized – and super-angry.

    “Of course, thees won’t be in the game, because it looks weird.”

    … oh.

    It’s quite often the silly thing a programmer puts in for fun on a saturday that turns into the best part of a game. I guess not this time. :(

  17. dhex says:

    well, if far cry 2 sucks, at least it will suck in a super pretty way.

    man i really want to get a minigun now. imagine the time you’d save over using a chainsaw to cut down old growth? or, heaven forbid, a bow saw.

  18. Dinger says:

    okay, so it’s answered then: ~2000 7.62 rifle bullets otta cut a tree down. That’s 70 30-round clips in your assault rifle. Maybe only 5-6 clips for a bush branch then. But if you’re using 9mm and 10-round-clips, then it’s back to the 70-clip mark.

    got that? trees get lots of hit points.

    And sure, once you a world with weather patterns (that move, as opposed to a global environment variable), and procedurally developing vegetation, you can have all kinds of fun that doesn’t involve killing people.

    For example, you can just beat them up, drive ’em out to the middle of nowhere, and hope they find their way home.

    the possibilities are endless

  19. brog says:

    Genesis grenades, yes!
    Please please ubisoft read the RPS comment threads.

  20. dzy says:

    First Person Foliage Simulator? FPFS?
    OK, neato. Golly I sure hope it doesn’t distract me from killing Nazis, or African terrorists, or the evil-de-jour…
    Yes, I *do*like to play in pretty environments, but more importantly I like to play. If Cry(meariver)Tek had spent a *bit* more time on story I might have played Crysis more than once….

  21. John Walker says:

    Lunaran – there’s the extensive gameplay-containing unofficial footage I’ve linked to.

  22. Chris R says:

    Wow, that unofficial video was amazing… hope it really turns out that way in the final release!

    I LOVE me some sandbox games. Hours of entertainment for me. I think I sunk around 150 hours into Crysis, replaying each “map” section (not the last 1/3 of the game) around 10 times each.

    I wonder how easy it will be to run away and hide to loose your enemies if you F up and alert the entire 30 man base? Should be fun!

  23. po says:

    Wow. Nice smooth HD video showing way better graphics than crysis, and there isn’t a system that can run crysis at HD full quality in existence.

    Methinks they ran the game for several DAYS getting screen captures every few MINUTES, and then assembled all those frames into the nice smooth video we see here XD

    Minigun? GAU-8A = Forrest killer.

  24. po says:

    It just occured to me that with all these realistic trees someone could finally go back and put the bloody Huorns into LOTR.

  25. Jonathan says:

    What a shame they’re focusing on semi-realism. That real time growth and 20 second day and night cycle would make for a brilliant surrealist anything game. Ubisoft, give that engine to Cactus or Bay 12 and see what happens.

    Also “It costs $400,000 to fire this weapon for 12 seconds.”

  26. seregrail7 says:

    Shame the rain looked terrible and didn’t seem to be affected by the high speed wind.

  27. grey_painter says:

    Thats the heavy’s machine gun.

    Hmm 45sec to fell a try, with or without crits do you think?

  28. Seth Tipps says:

    Last time we did a crew served weapons day we started a bit of a forest fire with the M2 (.50 Cal machine gun). And you better believe that whatever vegetation had grown up around the beaten zone was gone in a very few bursts. And an M60 will cut a man in two, leaving the legs still going. Mythbusters is ok, but what they do is far from scientific, and they have been proved wrong on a few occasions. That tree should have been gone much faster, but they had no idea what they were doing with that weapon. The .45 sub that they were using has a very low FPS, and if you are wearing enough layers the bullets will bounce off of you (Col Rex Applegate once demonstrated this to a class of students who were feeling a little too invincible with their Thompsons). Chances are you wouldn’t be able to get a tree down with one portable machine gun quickly, but it has happened in firefights, and has happened with muzzleloaders.

  29. Jonathan says:

    What is it about guns that makes normal people turn in to self professed experts, regurgitating serial numbers and penetration figures? Really not helping the “gamers aren’t gun fetishist” argument.

  30. Dinger says:

    haven’t seen any serial numbers or pen figures here.

    But sure, let’s admit I’m in the crowd you’re referring to. Why am I concerned about these things? It ain’t a gun fetish; it’s a simulation fetish. It’s also why I wanna see vegetation based on properly implemented Lindemeyer grammar. And, yes, if there are gonna be guns, they sure as heck better be modeled after something in the real world™, for which series and subseries exist, as well as experimental data for how it affects the environment around it.
    And all this is because, if you’re building a simulation, following the wrong data, like hedgetrimming bushes with a 9mm, is at some point going to make players call “Bullshit”. It really doesn’t matter much if it takes 100 rifle rounds or 2000 — the point is that when we get shown tech demos where assault rifles are sawing off trees with single shots, or automatic pistols are trimming the hedges round by round, and this is advertised as “realism”, the situation requires action. Psychoanalytically, it’s like saying this train is going on forever and your teeth ain’t never gonna fall out — or less obscurely, it’s the worst kind of appeal to the gun as penis replacement. Consider this passage:

    He unzipped his pants. She tried to steal a glance, but her eyes fixed on the throbbing member — was it throwing sparks?. She inhaled quickly to cover her gasp, but failed. Her nostrils flared and her bosom heaved at the scent of ozone.

    Now, if someone sold you that as a “realistic sexual encounter”, you’d probably protest.

    If you’re trying to sell players on the realism experience, you can’t have them calling “bullshit”.

    Now sure, I’ve got complex views on realism like the next guy. I’ll agree that a simulation is as realistic as its weakest link. A corollary of that is that many simulations waste way too much time on ballistic data, and even those that are sufficiently realistic that they should be wasting time on it end up implementing it improperly.

    And yeah, I know plenty of gamers who are gun fetishists. But they tend to play gun-based games. Jack Thompson is wrong, they do not get training in any real-world sense. But if they play combat sims, they usually end up with some basic knowledge of gun types and calibers, and the mass of lead behind them, as well as what works in what situation.

    (Personally, I’m a Field Manual fetishist. Those things are awesome)

  31. James T says:

    So is this game about pruning trees and getting caught in the rain?

    Hey, if it is, they’ve got a ready-made theme song!

    Do you like trimming hedges?… And getting caught in the rain?


  32. Leeks! says:

    …you can have all kinds of fun that doesn’t involve killing people.

    For example, you can just beat them up, drive ‘em out to the middle of nowhere, and hope they find their way home.

    This somehow seems more psychotic than just killing them. :)

  33. PiotrSkut says:

    I don’t really understand what everyone is complaining about in regard to the foliage destruction system.

    He was obviously shooting down small branches in the engine, not a whole freaking tree like in that MythBuster’s clip. I’ve seen the former happen dozens of times while out shooting in the woods.

  34. Muzman says:

    On the nerd front, I just have to say that evolution has really failed any bush whose branches snap off in wind that a human being can stand up in. (if I can find my wind field manual I’ll quote some stats)

    Looks nice though. I’ve always wanted to try the fancy weather mods in Stalker to see if it has dynamic shadows like that, but I don’t think it does.

  35. Mongychops says:


  36. Jay says:

    I’d just like to state that I am loving Mongychops’ name

  37. Sam says:

    You seem to be forgetting that this is a Tech Demo video and not a gameplay video, it is basically just to, in the simplest way of putting it, show off what the engine and Ubisofts programming monkeys can do. If you go and watch some other gameplay videos you can find on youtube, you’ll see what other stuff this game has to offer.

  38. Chris says:

    How is the real time tree growth done ? Are the trees destructible during their growth cycle ? How is that done ? I am very curious…