Welcome to the PC Gamer Game of the Year Awards 2013. For an explanation of how the awards were decided, a round-up of all the awards and the list of judges, check here.
A good sim pursues the lofty, unreachable goal of total realism. They shun accessibility in favour of complexity, but in doing so allow devoted and patient players to access marvellously detailed facsimiles of reality, which can inspire great gaming stories and player-driven drama. In the case of our simulation of 2013, it's a beautiful, sprawling and customisable depiction of modern military conflict, Arma 3.
EVAN It isn t any one piece of Arma s fidelity the ballistics modelling, the variegated island, the intricate military gear that wows us. It s how the sum of those replicates the experience of being a soldier something very distinct from being an avatar who happens to fire guns. You ve got to know how to read a topographical map. You ve got to know how to communicate with brevity and clarity while being shot at.
You have to think critically about stuff like encumbrance. When I m gearing up for a mission, throwing a satchel charge in my backpack may help me knock out a hard target, but the extra weight will tire me out more quickly when I sprint. So maybe I ll have a teammate taxi me across the map on an ATV. But wait the sun is setting, so we ll probably have to drive with the headlights on and risk detection, since we don t have nightvision goggles. Unless we find and kill an enemy who does. Again: it s not the individual realisms but how they knit into each other and prompt thoughtful decisions.
CORY I scoffed when Evan offered to teach me the ropes in Arma 3. Nothing sounds more boring to me than yelling out bearings and scrambling to find 7mm ammo instead of 6mm ammo. The UI is intimidating and the level of detail is daunting. I play games to escape from realism, not embrace it.
Evan s enthusiasm won me over, however, and he finally convinced me to join him on a mission. With a little bit of guidance, I was leaning around cover and marking coordinates on the map like well, not a pro, but like someone who might actually survive a mission. I marvelled at how seriously Arma takes its systems. Evan showed me how to move through all nine of Arma s infantry stances, when I was perfectly comfortable with crouching the entire game. And after he showed me how to use Alt to move just my soldier s head while moving forward, it became a feature I want in every FPS.
Eventually, we had to defend a compound from nondescript soldiers driving camouflaged, armoured jeeps with heavy machineguns (or so Evan tells me). Evan was pinned down in a far-off area (or maybe he just wanted me to feel useful), so he had me take over a downed jeep and use its HMG to hold off troops and vehicles at a distance. A quick keypress activated thermal vision, and I spent 15 minutes picking off enemies at range. It was glorious.
I was sceptical, but now I m a believer. Arma 3 is not only an impressive simulation of battle, but it s an incredibly compelling co-op sandbox. I ve played some janky Steam Workshop content that was still fun because of the group I played it with. I ll probably never play Arma alone, but I ll always jump in with some friends.
EVAN Even if you don t set out to roleplay, you inevitably end up doing something military like reciting compass directions as individual numbers (like bearing one-eight-zero to indicate south), or acronyming everything, or freely yelling phrases like suppressive fire! Because it feels like the appropriate thing to do. It s wonderful that something centred on realism can stimulate such playfulness.
Beyond all that, Arma 3 s Altis map was the most detailed world in a videogame this year a slab of Mediterrania jigsawed with salt flats, jungle shrubs, solar power plants and postcard-worthy beach resorts.
Before running away for a few days of competitive eating and cooperative gaming, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the most memorable victories, losses, and stories they virtually experienced in 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.
PC Gamer editors are prohibited from celebrating Christmas. For the team, the end of the year is marked by an event known as GOTY Sleepover, a time where we somewhat-voluntarily sequester ourselves away from our families and loved ones in the interest of a greater good: selecting the best PC games of the year. We gather in a room with a very heavy door and very little ventilation and stay there until we ve reached a unanimous decision on every award category. It s a lot like the Papal conclave, but with more Cheetos.
So far, this is what we ve got. These are games nominated for awards in general, not just our single Game of the Year. Consider this a short-list of the games our team loved in 2013, one we ll whittle down into proper, named awards in the coming days.
Dota 2 Arma 3 Spelunky Battlefield 4 Gone Home Tomb Raider Rising Storm Saints Row IV Papers, Please BioShock Infinite Total War: Rome II The Stanley Parable XCOM: Enemy Within
Check in each day over the holiday break to see who's victorious. In the meantime, here's our 2012 winners and some lively year-end video conversations about our best PC gaming experiences in 2013.
Win a unique (printed) version of the Arma 3 Tactical Guide, with signatures from the entire Arma 3 devteam!
All you have to do is to create something 'festive' for Arma 3 (video, screenshot, song, artwork, poem, or other), and send it to http://mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org before December 19th. The winner (and runner-ups) will be revealed on Friday December 20.
Bohemia Interactive released the (free) AAF Reinforcements Pack for Arma 3. Supplied via an automatic update on Steam, the package includes a variety of new sandbox content, among which three new vehicles: the FV-720 Mora IFV, the MBT-52 Kuma tank, and the Wy-55 Hellcat helicopter.
The FV-720 Mora is an infantry fighting vehicle used by the AAF. They were bought by the AAF from the British Armed Forces and reconditioned to serve two more decades. The Mora is armed with a 30mm cannon and a coaxial machinegun, providing not only a carrying capacity, but also reliable fire support.
The MBT-52 Kuma is the main battle tank used by Altian Armed Forces. A batch of a few dozen tanks and spare turrets were bought under-price from a south-European country facing an economic collapse. Like similar MBTs of the era, the Kuma is armed with a 120mm cannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machinegun and a remotely controlled 12.7mm HMG. The level of protection for the crew is also remarkable, thanks to additional armor layers.
The Wy-55 Hellcat is a multi-purpose military helicopter, most suited for anti-surface, battlefield utility with limited transport capability. It replaces its predecessor the Super Lynx, improving the maneuverability, durability and protection. The armed version is fitted with twin miniguns and unguided rockets.
Aside the new vehicles, the AAF Reinforcements Pack also includes other sandbox content, such as the LRPS sniper scope, infra-red grenades, and black versions of the MX rifle family. The complete changelog can be found on Arma 3’s official website.
<b>FROM</b>: Project Lead <b>TO</b>: Arma 3 Users <b>INFO</b>: AAF Reinforcements, Dedicated Servers, Winter holidays <b>PRECEDENCE</b>: Flash
<h2>SITUATION</h2> Welcome to the last SITuation REPort in 2013. We'll be out of comms for a few weeks during the holiday period, returning on <b>14.01.2014</b> with our weekly updates and many awesome things. Wrapping up the year, tomorrow sees the release of the <b>1.08 game update</b> - including the <i>AAF Reinforcements Pack</i>. But that's not all! We can finally bring you the free and <b>stand-alone Dedicated Server</b> package on Steam - for <b>Windows</b> and <b>Linux</b>. The tools suite will be updated with a few fixes as well.
2014 is going to be an amazing year for Arma 3. Things are only just getting started, and we are all committed to continued support. Thank you for your contributions to making 2013 a spectacular ride. Have a fantastic winter holiday period, and see you all soon!
Arma has always been quite moddable. Every piece of Bohemia Interactive s military sim has been renovated or replaced hundreds of times over by the game s prolific community--its missions, islands, audio, weapons, and vehicles. Today Bohemia makes a major effort to support that culture of community content creation as it begins a more than year-long competition called Make Arma Not War.
A total of a half-million Euros (about $680,000 USD) will be be awarded to modders in 2015, with the winners in four categories selected by a panel of about a dozen game industry professionals, community members like Dslyecxi, and Bohemia developers. Having a competition like this is giving the people something back, essentially. Giving them more serious reasons to show off, to make something out of their hobby, says Ivan Buchta, Creative Director at Bohemia.
One of the many subcategories of missions that have emerged for Arma 3 is racing. We're not very good at them.
CEO Marek Spanel underlines that the competition is Bohemia s way of supporting a fundamental part of its franchise. Ever since Arma: Cold War Assault, we ve made it a priority to support our community with tools, documentation, and sample models, and Arma 3 is no different. With the integration of Steam Workshop, a refreshed tool suite, updated user licenses, and of course the Make Arma Not War contest, we re hoping to push things further. It s clear that, with our open architecture and creative community, much more extra content can be produced. Correspondingly, we ve seen this affect the longevity of our games: each Arma installment is played actively for years and years after their release.
Employment and publishing rights, along the lines of what was earned by DayZ creator Dean Hall, also aren t out of the question for potential winners and entrants to the contest. It s a great way for us to find new employees, says Korneel van t Land, Brand and PR Manager at Bohemia. They re training themselves with our tools and technology. We might be able to find talent. The recruitment aspect is also quite important.
The disproportionate, 200,000 sum allocated for the Total Modification category indicates that Bohemia is serious about stimulating more Arma spin-offs through this contest. After the success of DayZ, a mod that shifted Arma somewhat out of its simulation roots, Bohemia says it s looking for more original ideas alongside content that enhances Arma 3. It would be great if more people were able to think out of the box, step outside of the technical military simulation game we have, or even go deeper inside it, and create something revolutionary, something inspiring, something that will set a direction for the future, even for our competitors, says Buchta.
Read up on the contest rules at www.makearma.com. Bohemia will accept entries until October 28, 2014. In the meantime, here s a list of some of our favorite Arma 3 content created to date.
Prizes Total Modification 200,000 1st place
Single-Player Game Mode 50,000 1st place 30,000 2nd place 20,000 3rd place
Multiplayer Game Mode 50,000 1st place 30,000 2nd place 20,000 3rd place
Addon 50,000 1st place 30,000 2nd place 20,000 3rd place
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3JNpHjhELs Bohemia Interactive today announce the €500,000 Make Arma Not War content creation contest for Arma 3. With cash prizes ranging from €20,000 to €200,000, spread across four different categories, the studio challenges people to deliver their best work yet - and potentially move onto the radar of hundreds of thousands of Arma 3 players.
Using the game as their platform, people can compete in four different categories: Total Modification, Singleplayer Game Mode, Multiplayer Game Mode, and Addon. The headline prize will be awarded to the winner of the Total Modification category, where the sole victor will be taking home €200,000. In the other categories, prize money is divided between 1st place (€50,000), 2nd place (€30,000), and 3rd place (€20,000). Projects which show a lot of potential might also be offered a contract by Bohemia Interactive, whether they have won the contest or not.
“We’re delighted to be running a contest of such an incredible scope. The Make Arma Not War contest was brought to life to support our dedicated community of content creators, and stimulate the exciting culture of creativity that has formed over the years”, said Ivan Buchta, Creative Director at Bohemia Interactive, and one of the contest organizers. “Of course, with the stakes being this high, we’re expecting people to raise the bar – and we hope Arma 3 players will be there with us, to boost morale, and enjoy the fruits of the contestants’ hard labor.”
In addition to the €500,000 in cash prizes, Bohemia Interactive is also proud to announce a unique collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who will be handing out the Health Care in Danger Special Award. Given to the entry which covers the topic of ‘health care in danger’ the best, the winner(s) will go on a one-week trip to an ICRC mission in a foreign country, organized by the ICRC.
While the application period is scheduled to open in 2014, people are already welcome to start working on their project. The closing date for submissions is October 28, 2014, after which a jury of Bohemia Interactive representatives and other industry professionals will begin to evaluate the finalists in each category (10 in the Total Modification/Multiplayer Game Mode/Addon categories, 20 in the Singleplayer Game Mode category). The winners will be announced on January 15, 2015. More details, including how people can cast their vote and support their favorite projects, are to be announced at a later date.
“With the launch of the first Arma game in 2001, we’ve laid the foundation for our series’ long-standing history in user-content and modifications. It has led us to enjoy many amazing creations, among which is the popular DAYZ mod”, said Bohemia Interactive’s CEO Marek Spanel. “Support for mod-making has always been a priority, and with Arma 3, our goal is to take it to the next level. The Make Arma Not War contest, as well as Arma 3’s integration of the Steam Workshop, the updated EULAs, and our refreshed Arma 3 tool suite, is all part of this effort. We can’t wait to see what comes from it!”
The rules for the contest, which also includes information on dates, prizes, and categories, can be found on http://makearmanotwar.com.
Arma 3 is a bit good, as opined in greater detail in our review. But it's also a bit lacking in campaign content, for the time being at least. Thankfully, things will change for the better when the second of the game's three campaign episodes releases next month - on January 21st to be exact. Following on from the first part, 'Survive', Adapt will feature "more open and unorthodox scenarios" and a "much stronger enemy", which must be a nice thing to hear if you've dedicated your life to enemyhood. If you can't wait till January and you want to play with Adapt's new toys now, however, Bohemia have you covered: on December 11th, its new weapons and vehicles will automagically be downloaded to your game folder via Steam. More details below.
That content includes new vehicles for the Altis Armed Forces: the Wy-55 Hellcat helicopter, the FV-720 Mora and the MBT-52 tank. You'll also get infra-red grenades, black versions of the MX rifles, and an LRPS sniper scope. I hope you understood some or all of that sentence, because militaryspeak is all Greek to me.
Together, the three campaign episodes - 'Survive', 'Adapt' and 'Win' - form The East Wind, Arma 3's free (if you own the game) episodic campaign. The third part hasn't yet been given a date.