PC Gamer

What's been picked for this weekend's Steam trial tombola? It's Arma 3, also known as that game your computer can only just about—if at all—run. The excellent military sim can be downloaded right now, and played until Sunday. That should be enough time to figure out if you enjoy being repeatedly shot in the face by army people.

It's also time enough to try out some of the game's mods, like the impressive, if obtuse, Hitman series. And if you happen to enjoy your time with the game, you can take advantage of Bohemia's weekend sale. Right now, Arma 3 is half-price on Steam. Other Bohemia titles have varying discounts: DayZ is 15% cheaper, while Arma 2 has a full 80% knocked off.

To download Arma 3, head over to the Steam page and jab your mouse into the Play Game button.

PC Gamer

The wait for Star Wars: Battlefront is going to be painful. Countless trailers, innumerous teases and speculations, and probably a controversy or two (this is Star Wars, after all). So wouldn't it be nice if we could boot up Arma 3 and start blowing up AT-ATs while we wait? In the video below modder McRuppertle shows off footage of an aborted mod he was working on last year, where you could do exactly that.

While it's unlikely to ever be finished, it does offer a tantalising glimpse into a world where you can fly a fighter jet straight into an AT-AT. A huge tactical sandbox shooter in the Star Wars universe would be incredible, so here's hoping McRuppertle gets some time to finish this off.

PC Gamer

Arma 3 just got real. More realer. Incrementally more realismistic than it was just hours ago.

Three prominent Arma 3 modding teams are merging to create the next iteration of Advanced Combat Environment, ACE3, a close-to-comprehensive rework of Arma 3 s systems and features. ACE has been a mainstay of hardcore Arma for years, it s essentially the platform that groups like Shack Tactical use as the foundation for their serious fun style of play.

I asked ShackTac founder Dslyecxi what excited him about the ACE3 announcement, and he rattled off: Consolidation of talent, open-source, modular, top devs, that sort of thing. I have confidence they'll deliver a quality product. Given the history of stuff like Black Mesa, any uber-ambitious modding project gives us a bit of pause even as we applaud its lofty goals. ACE s track record is excellent, though. And despite the long feature list, the way its announcement is tempered with focus is encouraging. We are devoted to NOT reinventing the wheel, finding the best solutions, and bringing them to one place, while also fostering a development environment that promotes stability and performance, developer NouberNou writes on the Arma 3 official forums.

Noubernou says that ACE3 s initial release goals will be made playable following Bohemia s release of the Arma 3 Marksmen DLC. Below, a list of planned features from the team.

Core features

  • Completely new 3D Interaction/Action System
  • Performance and reliability framework
  • Focus on modularity and customization
  • New flexible client and server settings & configuration
  • Improved medical system with various levels (Basic/Advanced) focus on gameplay/realism
  • Proper & consistent network synced weather
  • Wind and Weather Advanced Ballistics
  • Captivity System
  • Explosives System including different trigger types
  • Map screen improvements, marker placement and map tools
  • Advanced missile guidance and laser designation

Additional features

  • Carrying and dragging
  • Realistic names for vehicles and weapons
  • Realistic ballistics/FCS calculated in C/C++ extensions
  • Backblast and overpressure simulation
  • A fire control system for armored vehicles and helicopters
  • Disposable launchers
  • Realistic G-forces
  • Vehicle Locking
  • Realistic Night and Thermal vision modes
  • Magazine repacking
  • Realistic weapon heating
  • Combat deafness simulation
  • Improved Ragdoll Physics
  • Improved interactions for AARs and ammo bearers
  • Adjustable sniper scopes
  • No Idle Animation with lowered weapon
  • No talking player Avatar
  • Jumping over obstacles, climbing over walls and cutting down fences
  • Vector, MicroDAGR and Kestrel devices
PC Gamer

Arma 3 just got real. More realer. Incrementally more realismistic than it was just hours ago.

Three Arma 3 modding teams are merging to create the next iteration of Advanced Combat Environment, ACE3, a close-to-comprehensive rework of Arma 3 s systems and features. ACE has been a mainstay of hardcore Arma for years, it s essentially the platform that groups like Shack Tactical use as the foundation for their serious fun style of play.

I asked ShackTac founder Dslyecxi what excited him about the ACE3 announcement, and he rattled off: Consolidation of talent, open-source, modular, top devs, that sort of thing. I have confidence they'll deliver a quality product. Given the history of stuff like Black Mesa, any uber-ambitious modding project gives us a bit of pause even as we applaud its lofty goals. ACE s track record is excellent, though. And despite the long feature list, the way its announcement is tempered with focus is encouraging. We are devoted to NOT reinventing the wheel, finding the best solutions, and bringing them to one place, while also fostering a development environment that promotes stability and performance, developer NouberNou writes on the Arma 3 official forums.

Noubernou says that ACE3 s initial release goals will be made playable following Bohemia s release of the Arma 3 Marksmen DLC. Below, a list of planned features from the team. If you missed it, check out the winners of Bohemia's Make Arma Not War modding competition.

Core features

  • Completely new 3D Interaction/Action System
  • Performance and reliability framework
  • Focus on modularity and customization
  • New flexible client and server settings & configuration
  • Improved medical system with various levels (Basic/Advanced) focus on gameplay/realism
  • Proper & consistent network synced weather
  • Wind and Weather Advanced Ballistics
  • Captivity System
  • Explosives System including different trigger types
  • Map screen improvements, marker placement and map tools
  • Advanced missile guidance and laser designation

Additional features

  • Carrying and dragging
  • Realistic names for vehicles and weapons
  • Realistic ballistics/FCS calculated in C/C++ extensions
  • Backblast and overpressure simulation
  • A fire control system for armored vehicles and helicopters
  • Disposable launchers
  • Realistic G-forces
  • Vehicle Locking
  • Realistic Night and Thermal vision modes
  • Magazine repacking
  • Realistic weapon heating
  • Combat deafness simulation
  • Improved Ragdoll Physics
  • Improved interactions for AARs and ammo bearers
  • Adjustable sniper scopes
  • No Idle Animation with lowered weapon
  • No talking player Avatar
  • Jumping over obstacles, climbing over walls and cutting down fences
  • Vector, MicroDAGR and Kestrel devices
PC Gamer

The "Make Arma Not War" contest ran for over a year, which might sound a bit ridiculous until you consider that Bohemia Interactive was offering 500,000 (estimated at $680,000 at the time, now worth about $546,000—such is the nature of international exchange rates) in prize money. Serious inquiries only, in other words.

Bohemia announced the winners today, and they do look very serious indeed—with the possible exception of Get Wrecked, for reasons that will become clear when you watch the trailer.

Singleplayer Game Mode: 1st place ( 50,000) RESIST by Kydoimos 2nd place ( 30,000) Pilgrimage by Rydygier 3rd place ( 20,000) Deliverance by Sarge Studio

Multiplayer Game Mode: 1st place ( 50,000) King Of The Hill by Sa-Matra 2nd place ( 30,000) Battle Royale: Ghost Hotel by PLAYERUNKNOWN 3rd place (shared) ( 10,000) Get Wrecked* by Sli 3rd place (shared) ( 10,000) Twilight Onslaught* by Dorian23Grey

*These entries received an equal amount of points from the Make Arma Not War jury.

Addon: 1st place ( 50,000) Task Force Arrowhead Radio by Nkey 2nd place ( 30,000) Bornholm by Egil Sandfeld 3rd place ( 20,000) F/A-18X Black Wasp by Saul

Total Modification: Winner ( 200,000) RHS: Escalation by Red Hammer Studios

The Health Care in Danger Award, created in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross, went to Pilot Civilian Air Rescue On Missions, by RobJ2210.

"On behalf of everyone here at Bohemia, I d like to congratulate the winners, and thank all of the contestants, supporters, and judges for their enthusiasm and hard work," Bohemia Interactive CEO Marek Spanel said in a statement. "As developer of the Arma series, it s very inspiring to see content creators bring such varied, creative, high-quality additions to the Arma 3 platform, as well as the passionate embrace of their efforts by the Arma community. The Make Arma Not War contest is an important first step in the promoting and rewarding of content creators, and we look forward to building upon this commitment in the upcoming year."

Up-close looks at all the winners, including screens, trailers, and detailed descriptions, may be found at makearmanotwar.com.

PC Gamer

The upcoming Marksmen DLC for Arma 3, and the accompanying free update aims to "redefine what it means to fire a weapon in Arma 3". The free update adds suppressors and bipod weapon attachments, heavy and grenadier vests and "nine new types of face paint". Oh, and "major" changes to weapon handling and sound.

Those changes introduce "weapon resting" which alters your weapon's accuracy when you're positioned on a stable surface. Bipods can be used to give you stability pretty much anywhere, and recoil and suppression have been tweaked to offer what Bohemia describes as "a more tactical, intuitive and rich experience". Guns!

The free update will also add a new multiplayer scenario called End Game, which invites teams to find and recover some useful schematics. There's also a new showcase scenario called "Firing From Vehicles" but who knows what that's about.

Meanwhile the Marksmen DLC, due April 8, adds seven new weapons including five long-range rifles and a couple of medium machine guns. There are also new ghillie suits and two "Remote Designators, which can be used to spot and laser designate targets from afar". These can be tested in new firing range drills and a new recon mission. The DLC will cost 10.99 / $15.99, available via Steam and through Bohemia's site.

PC Gamer
Show us your rig

Each week on Show Us Your Rig, we feature PC gaming's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.

Brendan Greene, creator of "PLAYERUNKNOWN's Battle Royale" mode for Arma 3 and H1Z1, has a modest rig but one with an air of old school cool about it. Then again, I don't think a GTX 770 really counts as old school, so maybe I'm just saying that because of the slight sepia filter and the Morse Key on his desk. I was lucky enough to interview Greene last month, and he was kind enough to take some time and show off where he does his modding.

What's in your PC?

I live by myself in a small village in Kildare, Ireland. I built this PC a few years ago while I was in Brazil and as such it is not the most powerful setup and I hope to upgrade soon, but for now it does the job.

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 @ 3.00GHz
  • Storage: Corsair Force 3 SSD + a few external drives for storage
  • RAM: 8GB Dual-Channel DDR3
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770
  • Mouse: Razer Death Adder
  • Keyboard: Razer BlackWidow Chroma
  • Headphones: Logitech G35
  • Monitors: 23" Samsung SyncMaster & 22" HP Pavilion Monitors.

I also have a Razor Blade I got while over in San Diego with Daybreak Games (SOE) and they also hooked me up with some nice peripherals which I badly needed.

What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?

Interesting? Well I do have a Vibroplex "Lightning Bug" Morse Key which I love. I have a soft spot for old tech like that. I also have an old leather sampler as my mouse pad.

What's always within arm's reach on your desk?

A notepad and a cup for tea. Both are very useful things when trying to figure out problems.

What are you playing right now?

H1Z1, Arma 3: KotH, and Next Car Game: Wreckfest.

What's your favorite game and why?

Delta Force: Black Hawk Down Multiplayer. I loved that game as it had so many intense modes, player created maps, and what really got me hooked was that you had to learn to zero correctly as it had actual bullet physics.

PC Gamer

I love Hitman: Blood Money. It's a game that gives you the freedom to come up with your own plan, it provides real satisfaction when your plan goes off without a hitch, and perhaps most importantly, it can turn into a mad, deliriously fun scramble when your plan completely falls apart. As  Phil pointed out earlier, you can now relive some of that fun in this series of Hitman-inspired Arma 3 scenarios by modder Helios.

There are a number of missions to choose from and many will feel immediately familiar to Hitman players. A father and son are hosting a gathering at a heavily guarded manor, and you've got to take both of them out separately. There's a opera being performed, and your target is one of the singers. A drug lord is throwing a party, and you're there to clip him, along with the guest of honor, if possible, while ducking members of his gang.

Got my target, got my poison. What am I forgetting? Oh yeah. Dozens of witnesses.

A lot of Agent 47's standard tricks are incorporated. You can steal people's clothing and wear it yourself, allowing you access to restricted areas, though the guards in the mod are pretty quick to sniff you out if walk too close to them, even disguised. You have a poison syringe you can use to quickly and quietly snuff one of your targets if you don't want to risk a shot with a silenced pistol. There are also things like weapons drops and uniform crates shown on your map, if you can manage to slip away and remain unnoticed until you reach them. And, of course, you can hide bodies.

Just gonna borrow your clothes and bury you under the concrete if that's cool.

Most importantly, these are freeform missions. Kill your target however you want, then escape to an extraction point. You start out in a safe area, usually filled with other, less-murderous guests, which gives you time to look around for your targets (they're marked by name on your screen), scope out the surrounding area and position of the guards, and find some way to slip away without causing too much suspicion. You may be able to switch off the power, giving you some additional stealth during night missions.

Man. I see soooooo many different ways to fail this mission.

As you can probably guess, blowing your cover doesn't quite lead to the madcap chases and fights you're used to in Hitman, because Arma 3 is much less forgiving in terms of bullets tearing into flesh. There won't be a long, frantic gunfight that slowly spins Agent 47 to the ground in slow motion. Get spotted and you'll get shot, get shot and your mission is most likely over right then and there.

Dang it! I knew I shouldn't have disguised myself as a hitman.

As difficult as they are, it's still a lot of fun to play these missions inside Arma 3, and they've been recreated very faithfully. Even as bad as I am at both Hitman and Arma 3, I did manage to take out my target in the opera mission and escape to the extraction zone, though it took more than a few tries.

Best of all, you can play these missions co-op with a friend. You can subscribe individually to these missions on the Steam workshop, and you'll find them listed in the 'Scenarios' section when you launch the game.

PC Gamer

I spent my weekend picking through some of the Make Arma Not War finalists. Most are great, and all are at least deserving of some attention, but one in particular seems worthy of highlighting. Not because it's particularly well polished (it really, really isn't), but because it's a great showcase for the breadth of scenarios available for the military sim.

Hitman Tribute is a series of missions designed in tribute to the Hitman series. In them, you're placed in a small and public area, and asked to sneak into an off-limits sector of the map to take out a number of targets. So far, so Hitman and the parallels don't end there. You can find dead drops containing weapons, use poisonous injections to silently take down a guard, steal clothes and hide bodies, and arrange an "accident" for your quarry.

There are some really good objectives. At the same time, it's devilishly hard. Partly that's because Hitman's social stealth can be generally quite difficult to read, but also because these Arma missions are pretty rough around the edges. Some of Hitman's key elements fit awkwardly in Bohemia's engine.

Still, if you love Hitman and own Arma 3, it's worth taking a look. Learn to overcome its oddities, and it's a satisfying series to work through.

You can find the complete Hitman Tribute series in the Steam Workshop.

PC Gamer

If you're short of reasons to re-enlist in Arma 3's simulacrum of military conflict, here's a few that might tempt you back. Bohemia has announced the finalists in their "Make Arma Not War" modding competition—a contest that challenged the community to make new game modes, add-ons and mods. Despite the name, it has largely resulted in more war.

It's a great way to dig out some of Arma's best community content. We've already featured a few of the finalists in past Mod of the Week articles. Here's Pilot Civilian Air Rescue and Pilgrimage—both finalists in the Singleplayer category.

Showcase trailers for each category can be found over at the Make Arma Not War finalists page. Below, you can see the round-ups for Singleplayer and Multiplayer modes. 

Winners will be announced in March, and each will receive a chunk of a  500,000 prize pool. Our Evan Lahti is one of the judges in the competition—I expect he'll be playing a bit more Arma over the next few weeks.

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