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Arma 3 Beta

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PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Mod of the Week: Pilgrimage, for Arma 3">Pilgrimage

Our regular mod wrangler Chris Livingston is indisposed this week likely pruning back his INIs, and exorcising rogue RARs. Normal service will resume next week. Before that, I'd like to step in to highlight Pilgrimage, an Arma 3 scenario that, judging from the response to Andy's showcase of the game's best solo missions, is a clear community favourite.

It's a needle-in-the-haystack simulator, only with guns and angry men. Your job is to find and collect the body of your deceased brother from one of Altis's churches or chapels.

Altis is over 270 square kilometres big. It has over over 200 churches and chapels. Fortunately, I have ways of making people talk. (See earlier: "guns".)

Er, thanks?

I start in a randomly picked spot on the island's north-east coast. It's foggy, it's raining, and my map is huge and empty. I'm almost questioning the wisdom of embarking on a solo mission to recover a corpse from a hostile-filled island without first collecting event the most basic intel.

I've got a lot of walking to do. I decide to head west. Before long, I stumble across a small building with a rotating yellow exclamation mark above it. Loot! Inside is a sniper rifle. This puts me in a tough position. I'm only carrying a crappy SMG, but swapping it out for this will seriously limit my tactical options. Instead, I decide to sell it using Pilgrimage's auction system. This is involves the box disappearing, a text log informing me of how much "fuel funds" I've been awarded, and, most importantly, me doing my best to not question the logistics of this instant interaction.

I continue west, and am informed I've spotted the trail of between one and three hostiles. I duck into a crouch, which does nothing, but makes me feel about 30% safer. Through masterful orienteering (or "luck," as it's also known), I'm able to avoid the patrol. Instead I spot a church. Damn, this could be a short- no. It's empty.

One down, 217 to go.

Clearly I need to get smarter in my approach. The first thing I do is track down that patrol. I get a new message, saying they're now to the north-east. I head back up the hill, and, with the help of a little more luck, spot them in the distance. My SMG is clearly not up to the task, but I'm well hidden. I manage to take them out before they spot my position. After a bit of corpse looting, I'm sporting a new rifle and some better armour.

My next job is to get off the coast. Anything I don't loot, I sell pulling out a box from, er, somewhere, loading it with equipment and watching it disappear into the omniscient auction house. I've got a decent amount of money at this point enough to fast-travel much further in land. Reach any road and you can select "hitch-hiking" from the game's context menu. Click a position on the map and you'll materialise there, short a few "fuel funds".

My objective is the town of Sofia, but first I've a church to scout. A one-in-217 chance? I like those odds...


At this point my phone rings. After a few seconds of randomly pressing buttons, hoping to find the one that answers it, my character picks it up automatically. It's my uncle, with some choice words about a) my brother's death, and b) my father's "machine". Holy shit, this mission has a story.

Unfortunately, I don't get any more hints as to what that story might be. Overlooking the final church on the way to Sofia is a radar tower that's swarming with enemies. They spot me, and I'm plunged into a gruelling fire-fight as I try to escape. At this point, any further phone calls are hurriedly cancelled before the ringing gives away my character's position. At no point does he decide to just put it on silent.

During the fight, one of the soldiers surrenders. A blue exclamation mark appears over his head, informing me he can be interrogated. This, finally, is where I make some headway. The interrogation marks off a number of churches. Now I've probably only got 180 or so to check. Progress!

"Now tell me everything you know about churches..."

I reach Sofia, still under fire. The town itself appears to be surrounded by hostiles, and so I'm sprinting between each highlighted building, picking up first aid packs, selling unwanted weapons and gathering intel laptops that further narrow my search.

It's here I finally get my first piece of actionable advice. A blue exclamation mark points to a civilian with some information. I could ask him directly, potentially marking off a few more churches, or I could risk paying him a sizeable chunk of cash. I do the latter, and he tells me I should concentrate my search to the south-west. I now have a proper lead... assuming he's telling the truth.

The beauty of Pilgrimage is its effective combination of soldiering sim, orienteering adventure and detective mystery. It's truly open ended a randomly placed objective on a massive map and a handful of tools to help you hone in on your target. It's endlessly repeatable too, with a myriad of options that let you extensively tailor your experience.

It can feel overwhelming at first, but only until you find your first solid lead. After that, your journey is give purpose and the true mission of dodging patrols and gathering intel proves an exciting way to spend time in Altis. And there are a lot more options than those that I encountered including dedicated hideouts to hide out in, enemy strongholds to attack, and assassination missions that can be done at the behest of certain civilians. You can see a full guide to what Pilgrimage can do here.

Installation: Simple. Download from Armaholic, and extract the .pbo file into the Missions folder of your Arma 3 directory. You can also subscribe via the Steam Workshop, although there have been reports of that version not retaining your saved data.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Arma 3 celebrates one-year anniversary with Zeus livestream and free stuff">2. Arma 3

Bohemia Interactive is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Arma 3 tomorrow with a livestream featuring an Arma 3 Zeus multiplayer session. As is only appropriate for any proper birthday celebration, there will also be cake, and a few gifts, too.

Hosted by Arma 3 Associate Producer Matt Lightfoot and Designer Nelson Duarte, the first-anniversary livestream will show off the Arma 3 Zeus DLC in action, with both developers and members of the community taking part. Zeus, for those of you who don't follow the news about hardcore military simulators out of Central Europe, is a unique multiplayer mode, released in April as free DLC, that grants one player control over elements of the battlefield like obstacles and enemy troops, allowing for the creation of a dynamic and unpredictable campaign on the fly.

If that's not enough to entice you to tune in, there will also be giveaways of the Arma 3 Digital Deluxe Edition and Arma 3 merchandise sets. And there will be cake! Although probably not as a giveaway.

There is one sort of minor bump in the road to online anniversary antics: The livestream begins at 10:30 am UTC, which as it turns out is 3:30 am PDT. Hey, are you a fan or aren't you? Caffeinate yourself appropriately and tune in at twitch.tv/arma3official. (And if you really, absolutely cannot bring yourself to stay up that late, you can check out some home-grown Arma 3 Zeus action on the August 8 edition of the PC Gamer Show, any time you like.)
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Arma 3 is 50% off this weekend at the Bohemia Interactive store">Arma 3

This weekend's Steam sale is all about the Call of Duty. If you're looking for a shooter that's deeper, more complex, more unforgiving and more glitchy, you'd be better off going to Bohemia Interactive's store. There you can pick up the excellent Arma 3 for a 50% discount.

That means you can pick up the base game for 18/$30.

If you do dive in and are looking for something to do, check out Andy's guide to the best solo missions. Alternatively, grab some friends and subject them to the terrifying might of Zeus.

Still on the fence? Head over to Evan's review to learn about the game's good, bad and ugly qualities.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Changing Arma 3′s helicopters is Bohemia’s first step toward a deeper simulation">Arma 3 Helicopter DLC

Arma 3 is good at many things. Bohemia Interactive s military sim is a huge, open-world playground where action dramas unfold, but its greatest strengths show when it dwarfs you with scale. Being a lone sniper in three miles of sprawling mountain wilderness or driving with a vanguard of advancing tanks will strike awe into the heart of the most jaded gamer. Whatever it s doing, Arma paints these experiences in broad strokes you can t find anywhere else in gaming.

On the other hand, Take On Helicopters, Bohemia s 2011 helicopter simulator, was great at a single, specific thing: modeling helicopter flight physics. Beyond the high-definition cockpit, its world was a blocky and lifeless version of Seattle. Seattle wasn t the point, though: the inside of that cockpit was the point. All the love in that game went straight into those dials.

It s kind of wonderful, then, that Arma s next update will be a free DLC focused on bringing the high-definition flight controls of Take On Helicopters to Arma s vast, rolling landscape. It s a long overdue chocolate-and-peanut-butter proposal, one that will change the way pilots interact with their vehicles. Plus, ground troops will get new ways to fight alongside their airborne taxis. To nail down the details, I tried to relearn my helicopter piloting chops with the new, more advanced flight model in Arma 3. Here s what happened.

Ah, jeez. You ok, guys? Guys? You'll be ok.

The Rookie

Let s get this out of the way first: the new flight mechanics have a steep learning curve. Anyone who takes passengers on board with the advanced flight model engaged had better have done their homework, or they ll end up with a dozen corpses and a lot of angry friends. The new model replicates wind, weight, momentum, acceleration, and G-forces. Arma s standard helicopter controls could hardly be accused of being arcadey, but now the helicopters feel like they re punching the air to keep you from falling.

Engaging the advanced flight model, which can be turned on or off at any time through the settings menu, adds five dial readouts to the pilot s HUD. They are, from left to right, speed, altitude, horizon, vertical speed, and wind direction. Alarm lights for torque and engine RPMs are there to flash yellow and red as you gracefully spiral through the sky toward an imminent, fiery death. Though overwhelming at first, with practice these inputs create an interactive map of every force acting on your vehicle.

With our approach to DLC, we had an opportunity to focus in upon a particular aspect of the sandbox and find ways to bring about more gameplay, Bohemia creative director Jay Crowe told me when I asked him about why these options were being introduced to the Arma 3 ecosystem. Of course, for the helicopter enthusiasts out there, the advanced offers a more authentic experience than our 'basic' stock one more precise control and a greater variety of simulation inputs which has been talked about on our forums and feedback tracker for some time.

No matter how fancy the physics get, sometimes you still feel like a giant taxi.

In Take On Helicopters, slamming too hard on the accelerator would cause undue stress on the engine and lead to a bumpy, choppy ride as the machine deteriorated. Failing to heed engine light warnings would cause the troubled components to groan, complain, and then fall right off. Though the advanced flight model replicates these warning lights, the parts can t fall off. To test this I flew like a demon, throttle wide open and collective swinging around, and never had a rotor come spinning off. Small mercies, I guess.

Just because the parts won t be falling off, though, doesn t mean you can fly recklessly. The new flight model includes a more realistic take on stalling and losing lift, so making a hard turn at high speeds will always end in a ball of fire.

elicopters are a big part of everyone's experience on the combined-arms battlefield, not just pilots, Crowe said. Expanding gameplay for a variety of players is definitely a big goal. Crowe also hopes that the advanced model will give dedicated pilots a deeper way to dive into the simulation. We hope flying helicopters will become more fun to master for our players, he says. Strangely, Crowe thinks that the new advanced model might actually be easier for pilots to grok. n some ways and as long as you have assists like Auto-Trim switched on handling the helicopter becomes less difficult and more logical/intuitive. It moves a bit more like you'd expect in real life, so we hope it might open things up to a few new pilots, too.

It s on this final point that I just don t agree. For all my hours in Arma s helicopters, though, I still fly like a baby polar bear learning to walk. For a second opinion, I sought out another authority on flying in Arma.

It's dials within dials. It's dials all the way down.

The Veteran

Dslyecxi, aka Andrew Gluck, is one of the biggest names in the online Arma community. The group he founded, Shack Tactical, is known as one of the best-organized gaming groups in Arma which is saying something for a community that prides itself on military simulation. He narrated a series of tutorial videos for Arma 3, but he first came to my attention when I was new to the game and trying desperately to suck less at flying helicopters.

Frankly: the guy s a wizard. After he made a video on his first impressions with the new flight model, I tracked him down to get his feelings. Right now, he says, they re pretty mixed.

As an advanced flight model, I think it needs some tweaking and some additional functionality for it to really live up to the expectations one has when hearing advanced flight model. Once you dip into the more intricate aspects of helo flight, there are a lot of aspects that all mix together to represent what it takes to control a helicopter. He also doesn t agree that the flight model will be a good way for new pilots to earn their wings.

What he was hoping for and honestly, what I thought I was getting my hands on Dslyecxi pointed out all the things that were missing is a true simulation experience. Notable details are missing from the Arma 3 flight model, including localized rotor damage and the horrifyingly named vortex ring state. VRS is a sickening quirk of physics where a helicopter descends into its own downwash, causing a loss of lift. (For context, one of the helicopters on the Osama bin Laden raid crashed due to VRS.) Pilots in Arma, though, can t enter VRS, and it alters the ways in which helicopters can safely fly.

With these omissions, the new advanced flight model isn t realistic enough to be considered a sim, but the new bells and whistles make it too finicky to be accessible to new players. For this reason, Dslyecxi says, he won t be enabling the advanced flight model in ShackTac s main game sessions. One of the best parts of Arma's native flight model is the accessibility of it it gets the basic themes of helicopter flight correct, but anyone can have a decent chance to fly with it even with just a mouse and keyboard. It's easy to pick up, but difficult to master.

Dslyecxi isn t entirely down on the DLC, though. For one thing, the new flight physics are completely optional, and adding in more native systems for players (and modders) to tinker with is always a good thing. For another, everyone at Bohemia has been open about the update being a work in progress. Just in the past week, changes have been made to improve control responsiveness.

Helicopters in Arma will eventually be able to carry sling loads, which will allow heavy choppers to, say, deliver tanks and jeeps to the battlefield rather than simply ferry infantry back and forth. Even better for the infantry troops relying on helicopters for battlefield transport, troops will soon be able to shoot their personal weapons from the passenger seats or running boards. Anyone who has ever dropped into a hot LZ will recognize how important this would be for virtual soldiers.

Bohemia isn t talking about a release date for the Helicopters DLC yet, but they do hope to get both sling loading and firing from vehicles into beta testing during the next month. Taken together with the recent updates that added a training mode, a single-player campaign, and a player-directed Zeus multiplayer mode, Bohemia is continuing to add content and depth to satisfy their niche audience of simulator die-hards. And when you re dealing with die-hards like Dslyecxi (who says he has about $1,000 worth of flight sticks, rudder pedals, and headset gear on his desk for flight sims), the best solution is always going to be: more. More content, more depth, more variables to tweak and play with.

Ultimately it comes down to what any given person is looking for in the experience, Dslyecxi says, and whether having a more complex flight model helps or hinders that. Some people will benefit from it and enjoy it, others will find it to get in the way or unnecessarily complicate things.

Note: I took all of the screenshots for this article while flying in Wibbler's Helicopter Training scenario. If you need practice landing in hot LZs, in the advanced flight model or not, I recommend you download it.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to The PC Gamer Show episode 3: Videoball, GTA 4 no-friction and more on LPC Jr., Arma 3 Zeus mode">pcgamershow3-teaser

It's The PC Gamer Show! In episode three we're introducing the new Large Pixel Collider Jr. with an afternoon of special living room gaming challenges. Can Counter-Strike maven Evan Lahti win when he's forced to play with an Xbox controller? Who will survive the frictionless mayhem of GTA 4's Carmageddon mod? Plus, we play upcoming electronic sport Videoball, and PC Gamer UK walks us through ARMA 3's awesome Zeus mode.

In this episode...

Act I: As if Octodad: Dadliest Catch wasn't already wacky enough, Evan and Tyler race against Wes and global EIC Tim Clark in a competition to become the best co-op octo-pair.

Act II: The gang goes two-on-two again in Videoball, Action Button Entertainment's upcoming minimalist electronic sport.

Act III: Evan tests out his Counter-Strike skills by playing on the LPC Jr...with a controller. Meanwhile, Tyler plays with a keyboard and mouse, as any sane man would.

Act IV: Our program heads over to the United Kingdom, where the other half of the PC Gamer team play Arma 3's Zeus mode. Vengeful god Andy Kelly controls the battlefield from above to torment his teammates.

Act V: It's carmageddon in GTA4's famous no friction mod. We race through the chaos to see who can survive the longest in a whirlwind of flying cars.

The PC Gamer Show is a new and evolving project for us, and we want your feedback to help make it better. What kind of segments do you want to see? What games should we play and talk about? Who should we have on as guests? What's coming up next?

Shout at us in the comments below, or shoot us an email directly at letters@pcgamer.com. We're listening. And we'll see you in two weeks.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to This Arma 2 firefight video has a teeth-gritting, cinematic ending">arma-2-firefight-video

What does it take to rattle 80-some veteran players of Earth s most hardcore military sim? ShackTac bossman Dslyecxi pointed me to this insane firefight and extraction attempt in one of his recent videos. Short on ammo, shorter on men, and their backs literally against a wall that may or may not be indestructible, Dslyecxi leads the survivors of a trapped infantry unit as they improvise an escape plan.

Dslyecxi contextualizes the chaos: "At the 33:40 mark, we're all critically low on ammo. As a fireteam leader, I've given everything I had left to other members of my fireteam, and I'm running around trying to see what we're going to do next. There are enemies swarming all over the exterior of the compound and we have reason to believe that they've started to breach into it in some areas as well. It's very much a fog-of-war period at that point. There are reports that the convoy has arrived, and while I saw a few of our vehicles earlier, I heard quite a few explosions and wasn't sure if they were still alive. I'm just waiting for orders and seeing where I can help out in the meantime. We get those orders a few minutes later, which starts the chain of events leading to the crazy finale."

We ve highlighted a few more of Dslyecxi and other Arma players variously heroic and hilarious moments in the past: watch them here. Dslyecxi also has a Patreon page where you can support his continued creation of combat and tutorial videos.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to The 15 best Arma 3 player-created solo missions">0_main

The Arma series is famous for its massive multiplayer battles, but there s still fun to be had on the war-torn islands of Stratis and Altis by yourself. These missions can all be played solo, with a focus on small squads, infantry, or infiltration. They ve all been created by Arma 3 players using the game s powerful built-in editing tools, and some are as impressive as anything in Bohemia s own campaign.

To play the missions, subscribe to them in the Steam Workshop, then go to Play in the Arma 3 main menu, then Scenarios. It's worth noting that updates to Arma 3 which are pretty frequent can cause bugs in user-made missions, which their creators should (hopefully) iron out promptly. Some listed here can be also be played in co-op if you have a friend who owns the game. Enjoy.

Bad Holiday

Created by Benny and Lentilburger

Type Infantry, squad, air


A holidaymaker finds himself in the midst of a violent city siege. Scavenge weapons, repel the invaders, and call in the military. A creative premise and an enjoyable, varied mission.

Hostile Water

Created by Mr_Tactical

Type Infantry, squad, water


Recover a classified device from a stricken British submarine. To find the vessel you ll need to secure enemy intel to discover its location. A large mission with multiple objectives.

Resist: Road s End

Created by Kydoimos

Type Infantry, story


The first chapter of Resist, a user campaign that runs parallel to Survive. Features voice acting, cutscenes, and production values on par with Bohemia s own missions.

Operation Scar

Created by HallyG

Type Infantry, stealth, assassination


A night mission in which you play as a special forces operative sneaking behind enemy lines to assassinate an officer. Short, but atmospheric and nicely balanced.


Created by Binkowski

Type Infantry, assault, urban


A remake of a classic mission from Bohemia s first game, Operation Flashpoint. Command a large CSAT squad and take two settlements back from a group of terrorists.

Clandestine Sunrise

Created by Navarre

Type Infantry, air, vehicles


Lead a small recon squad to covertly destroy enemy assets. Decent voice acting, unlimited saves, and excellent tactical deployment of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Sniper Alley

Created by PFC Veld

Type Infantry, sniping


A non-linear mission that sees you, a ghillie-suited sniper, hunting randomly-placed enemy snipers across a large valley area in west Altis. Another short one, but brilliantly tense.

Operation Hog Cove

Created by Nichevo

Type Infantry, water, assault


A brutal, fast-paced mission that sees you and several AI-controlled squads landing on a beach and attacking an enemy force, whose numbers and placement are different every time.

Hard to Peel

Created by Gibbon

Type Infantry, air, urban


An assault on an enemy airfield, followed by an action-packed push into an occupied city. Some great urban firefights and a custom soundtrack you ll either love or hate.

On the Other Side

Created by Bauerhousebourne

Type Infantry, stealth, story


One of the most popular user missions on the Steam Workshop to date, and deservedly so. Cinematic, polished, well-paced, and offers plenty of scope for creative play.

Explore Altis

Created by OlejnaS

Type Exploration, non-combat


And now for something completely different. This mod highlights points of interest across Altis and lets you teleport to them instantly. A great way to explore the island without being shot at.

Operation Greenstorm

Created by eCHo

Type Infantry, urban


Lead a small squad and attack Altis old capital city under cover of night and thick fog. Some incredible views at the beginning, although it s quite a hike to the first objective.


Created by Ubiquitous

Type Infantry, stealth, sniping


This slick mission offers you three different insertion points. You can sneak in using stealth, charge in with brute force, or snipe from afar. Nice briefing sequence too.

Virtual CQC Firefight

Created by Balr0g

Type Infantry, training, VR


Arma s recent Bootcamp update added Metal Gear Solid-style VR training missions to the game. This close-quarters battle is a good way to hone your infantry skills.

Enemy Supply

Created by Kapten K

Type Infantry, stealth


Land behind enemy lines, use stealth to avoid patrols, and destroy enemy assets. A simple, well-scripted mission that can be approached in a number of different ways.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Arma 3′s Bootcamp update now live, promises to train you in the art of war">Arma 3

For those not familiar with its particular brand of simulation, Arma 3 can be a daunting thing to approach. Don't let our recent, barely competent shenanigans fool you; there's a deep vein of realism at the heart of Bohemia's shooter and, with it, a level of complexity that can be difficult to parse. Hope comes in the form of the just released Bootcamp update. More than just a tutorial, it's designed to teach you the underlying principles powering the game. And all without R. Lee Ermey screaming in your face.

The trailer's description explains what to expect:

"Arma 3 Bootcamp challenges you to learn about the basic game mechanics of Arma 3. Extend your training via the singleplayer mini-campaign or multiplayer bootcamp scenario, practice combat procedures in a Virtual Reality training environment, and browse through Arma 3's extensive weapons and gear library with the Virtual Arsenal viewer."

Taking the form of a series of VR training modules, and a 'campaign' mode that acts as both tutorial and a prequel to the campaign proper, the update introduces and explains a bunch of concepts including stuff like material penetration or placeable deployment. I'm yet to investigate the full thing, but hopefully "flying helicopters without killing your entire squad" will also be covered.

You'll find the Bootcamp in Arma 3 right now, under the expanded 'Learn' menu.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Now Playing Live: PC Gamer play ArmA 3: Zeus, today at 2:30pm BST">Zeus

This afternoon, PC Gamer will be at the mercy of a vengeful, Scottish god. We'll be playing Zeus, ArmA III's on-the-fly adventure mode, where we'll be subjected to the trials and tribulations of our own Andy Kelly. The action kicks off at 2.30pm BST check here for local times and will run until we've experienced the full scope of Andy's twisted design.

Zeus is ArmA III's free multiplayer DLC: a mode in which a player can act as an RPG style GM. Andy will be able to create objectives, spawn enemies, place vehicles, build bases and, on occasion, call down massive lightning strikes all in real time.

You'll be able catch the main stream, from the PCG team's perspective, over at the PC Gamer Twitch channel. If you'd prefer to follow the dark machinations of our overlord, Andy will be streaming the Zeus perspective at his own Twitch channel.

Here's a full run-down of the people and streams involved:

Tom Senior

Andy Kelly

Samuel Roberts

Chris Thursten

Phil Savage

Ben Griffin

Thanks to special interweb magic, you can watch streams simultaneously. This page will let you see the action from Andy's godly perspective and the ground-soldier at the same time.

Alternatively, just watch the embed below. See you at 2.30pm!

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Mod of the Week: Pilot Civilian Air Rescue, for ArmA 3">aaheader

ArmA 3 is a challenging game to learn, especially so when it comes to piloting choppers. Enter the Pilot Civilian Air Rescue mod, which features a number of single-player Mohawk chopper missions, from insertion (transporting doctors to a combat zone), extraction (retrieving injured NPCs and delivering them to a hospital), and even search and rescue, in which you look for lost hikers or downed pilots and ferry them back to safety. It's a great way to hone your chopper flying skills offline while getting a warm and fuzzy feeling from helping NPCs in need.

I've been slowly edging my way into the daunting ArmA 3, but I'm still a bit too bashful to play online for fear of getting yelled at by (understandably) impatient human players. I'm doubly self-conscious about my piloting skills, and trying to fly while being shot at (or screamed at) doesn't really help with my concentration. So, I'm really enjoying this mod's rescue missions, which allow me to practice piloting with only the AI looking over my shoulder, and also lets me learn the map due to the randomized placement of rescues.

Are you knelt in prayer? Well, you should be. Now get in.

The mod starts you at your base, where you can get into flight gear and receive your first mission. There are options to choose from in terms of weather, forecast, and time of day, as well as the level of hostility you want to face when flying into enemy territory. I began by setting hostiles and antiaircraft fire to zero, but if you're more experienced, obviously, you'll probably want to ratchet it up to make your missions more challenging and exciting. If your mission involves delivering passengers, they'll be waiting for you in a polite crouch near your Mohawk.

Come with me if you want to live. Briefly.

My first mission was a search and rescue: some hikers had become lost and needed to be located and transported back. I did a great job of locating them, but there was a bit of an issue while landing, and that issue was a small collision that led to a large explosion. Whoops! My next mission was to pick up a team of doctors in the field, and return them to base. I landed a bit better -- nothing exploded -- but still managed to destroy my chopper's engine so they didn't bother getting in. Well, third time's the charm, right?

Third time is not the charm.

Actually, no, I somehow managed to flip my chopper over during takeoff, crashing it while still in sight of my back-up chopper. After that, though, things started going a bit better. I was tasked with flying out to retrieve an NPC who had sustained a gunshot wound as the result of some conflict in Altis. I managed to fly out and locate the fellow, who was being guarded by friendly troops.

I think he's trying to choose between bleeding to death and taking a chance in my chopper.

A shaky -- but safe! -- landing later, he scuttled his way to my Mohawk and we took off, bound for the hospital. Landing on the hospital roof, for a noob pilot like me, was harrowing, but I was quite pleased to pull it off after only three hours of white-knuckled hovering. I was then a bit disappointed when the NPC crab-walked out of my helicopter and threw himself off the side of the roof. I know my flying isn't great, but sheez. No need to be so dramatic about it.

I guess healthcare on Altis is just a little too pricey?

I checked the mod's discussion page and I guess that's just what the AI does when you complete a hospital delivery. You've passed the mission, so the AI just takes the shortest trip back to the ground. Oh, well, at least it's amusing. After carefully parking my chopper downstairs I visited the jumper's body and took his watch. I'm a hero like that.

I said I carefully parked the chopper. I didn't say I properly parked the chopper.

It you do crash, no worries! A rescue op will launch and another chopper will be dispatched to pick you up and fly you back to base. There's also a service center for your chopper if you get a little dinged up. The mod also allows for random weather settings if you want to leave your conditions up to chance, and even lets you turn on random mechanical failures if you're the type of player who likes big surprises at altitude.

Thanks for coming to get me, guys. I had another oopsie.

I think the ability to set your own conditions makes this a fun mod for both beginners and pros. Like I said, I'm still pretty green, but after completing a bunch of missions and getting a bit better at flying, I turned everything on -- bad weather, hostile response to incursions, mechanical failures -- and had a blast. Searching for some downed pilots in a thunderstorm while the enemy is closing in on me is a real thrill. Not so thrilling for the downed pilots: they didn't make it back. Though, if they had, they'd probably just have jumped off the hospital roof.

See! I'm not the only one who crashes choppers.

Installation: Subscribe to the mod in the Steam workshop here. Launch the game, select Play from the menu, then go to Scenarios, and the mod will be listed there.

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