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Bohemia Interactive's long-runnning Arma series stands out from the modern military shooter crowd through its dedication to authenticity. In fact, in 2013 we named Arma 3 our Simulation of the Year, quite a feat for an FPS. If that sounds like your bag, the Humble Arma Bundle offers one of the best prices ever for Arma 3 ($15), nevermind the fact that you're getting much more at that price.
For $1, you get Arma: Cold War Assault, a re-release of the 2001 shooter Operation Flashpoint, plus Arma Gold Edition and the turn-based strategy spinoff Arma Tactics. Beating the average price adds Arma 2, the British Armed Forces, Private Military Company, and Army of the Czech Republic add-ons, and the standalone expansion Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead.
Break the magic $15 mark and you'll also get the most recent additions to the series, Arma 3 and Arma 3 Karts, which was originally an April Fools' joke but was so well-received by fans that Bohemia went ahead and made it into real DLC.
The bundle also includes a link to the free prototype for Project Argo, a 5v5 competitive tactical FPS that was announced last year. You don't actually have to buy the bundle to get access, though, you can just click here and have at it.
Arma 3 is still $40/£30/€35 on Steam (plus another two bucks if you want Karts, and why wouldn't you?), and the earlier games in the series aren't freebies either, so this is a pretty solid deal if you're at all interested in giving the series a go. The Humble Arma Bundle is live now and runs until March 14.
Arma 3 and its predecessors are model citizens for moddability. Bohemia's milsim is practically a platform more than a traditional game, a vehicle for 3D modelers and mission makers. In 2014 and 2015 the company ran Make Arma Not War, a yearlong contest meant to encourage modders to put stuff on Steam Workshop, which now contains tens of thousands of missions, tweaks, and objects for Arma 3.
Add to that pile these familiar bricks from Mondkalb, who's actually an animation lead at Bohemia Interactive Simulations, a separate group that makes VBS. Yesterday Mondkalb put "Operation Blockhead" on Steam Workshop, a mod that contains a handful of unique Lego civilians as well as some simple Lego bricks that you can insert into Arma's high-fidelity world. It's a modest mod, but the contrast between blocky men and Arma's photorealism is wonderfully weird:
Mondkalb says that his intention was "mostly to demonstrate how versatile the engine is." The mod is a fully independent character setup, including "original animations, ragdoll, weapons, clothes swapping, head and face textures, lip movement and of course hats." The plastic characters don't inherit all of Arma's mechanics—crouching and prone didn't seem to work when I tried it in the Eden Editor. I love the ragdoll effect on the characters, though.
Hopefully someone will take these assets and run with them. Lego Island fans—and I know you're out there—here's your cue to get to work on a total conversion set on Arma's 100 square-kilometer Tanoa terrain.
So often the bleeding edge of games tech, yet so often fundamentally the same underneath: there’s a reason we can’t get enough of pretend shooting pretend people in their pretend faces. It is a pure test of skill and reflex, a game about movement at least as much as it is about violence, and done right it is absolutely delightful>. And hey, sometimes you get a decent gimmick or story thrown into the mix.
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