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All good things must end, and all that we love will turn to ash some day. The fan-run Revive Network, a community project to support and restore online play to several defunct EA games (including Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142, and most recently Battlefield Heroes) is closing its doors after receiving a warning letter from the monolithic publisher.
They had a good run of 3 years in total, with nearly a million total sign-ups to their alternative master server service, but nothing can last forever. You can see Revive’s final message to their fans, as well as the text of the shutdown request on their Heroes revival site here.
Project Reality is an ambitious user-made mod that's served to keep Battlefield 2's multiplayer component active since the closure of GameSpy in 2014. It's now launched its version 1.4 which adds the Falklands Conflict—a ten-week war between the UK and Argentina that took place in 1982.
Featuring both the British and Argentinian armies, Project Reality's v1.4 adds authentic kit and weapons consistent with the conflict, including infantry weapons such as L4A4 Bren LMG, the Sterling submachine gun, and the Shorts Blowpipe, among others. Beyond firepower, both factions also have a "varied arsenal" of new aircraft and vehicles.
"Alongside all the new content; We are also introducing new gameplay systems such as the CLOS SAMs, retarded bombs and more," reads an update post. "Both factions will be playable on 2 maps; Goose Green, a 2x2km map focused on infantry combat and The Falklands, our first 8x8km map featuring the entire Falklands Islands and an overview of the entire war, with lots of airspace for the aircraft to fly around in."
The mods creators note that while naval features were teased before now, v1.4 will not feature them as a result of "real life circumstances of key-developers"—however suggest these features will be added to a future update. Here's some of the above in motion:
Project Reality's version 1.4 is out now—a full list of features and download instructions can be found this way.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
I liked Battlefield 1942, but I loved Battlefield 2. Trading World War 2 for a modern day setting, BF2 maintained the formula of large maps mixing open terrain and tight urban spaces with vehicles aplenty.
Tom Francis is a former PC Gamer writer and current game developer who offered to give us his thoughts on some of the GDC sessions he's attending this year. You can follow the development of Tom's next game, Heat Signature, at its official site.
My two favourite topics for talks by developers are AI and failure, so Tuesday s GDC talk entitled AI Disaster Stories was irresistible. The best story came from Tobias Karlsson, currently a software engineer at Microsoft, but who previously worked at DICE programming the bot AI for Battlefield 2.
Like many Battlefields that followed it, BF2 has a medic class who can bring back the dead. If you re in the man down state, but haven t yet respawned, any medic can whip out their defibrillators, jolt your body, and bring you back to life—saving you a trip, and your team a point.
When Karlsson was tasked with putting together a presentation to show off the AI he was working on for Battlefield s bots, demonstrating that they could play as a Medic and intelligently save lives seemed like a great example of their abilities. To show that this worked, he spawned one bot to be the victim, and another to be the medic. And since Battlefield 2 can handle lots of bots, he thought he d show off by spawning a bunch more for good measure—about 10 in total. It s an empty level, and they re all on the same team, so everyone just stood around staring into space.
Then, he shot one of them in the head. Friendly fire was on by default in those days, so this kills the medic. All ten surviving medics snap to attention, staring intently at the victim, and all start running towards him. And as they get closer, Karlsson says, This might be a good time to talk about how the defibrillator works.
Before anyone had actually revived it, the body was completely surrounded by medics.
The defibrillator is actually implemented as a very slow firing weapon. You press fire to use it, your character yells Stand clear! , the defibrillator charges up, and then finally fires. It actually shoots out an invisible projectile a short distance ahead of you, and if that hits a downed colleague, they re instantly revived. And if it hits someone who isn t downed—usually an enemy—it stops their heart instead of restarting it.
The first medic reached the body, yelled Stand clear! and charged his defibrillator. But before he d even finished the word Stand , the next medics were yelling the same. Before anyone had actually revived it, the body was completely surrounded by medics, to the point that the others couldn t even get to him.
The first medic s defibrillator jolted the victim to life. He promptly stood up and was immediately taken out by the next medic s defibrillator. But fear not, Karlsson says, we have plenty of medics on hand.
The victim was immediately revived. And immediately killed. And immediately revived. In fact, the only thing that changed at all was that, since they were all on a slight slope, the body slid a short distance down it each time the ragdoll collapsed. Since all the living medics clustered around it as it moved, Karlsson s demonstration of the bot s brilliant AI had become a huge ball of medics rolling down a hill yelling Stand clear!
Here's Squad, a standalone commercial game from the makers of Battlefield 2 mod Project Reality. In a stark departure from that project, this game is "an online, team-based military themed first-person-shooter where high levels of teamwork and communication are crucial to success". Wait, did I say 'stark departure'? What I meant was 'basically the same deal, only in Unreal Engine 4'.
In Squad, players will form squads of up to nine people—those squads coming together to form teams of up to 50. As the developers put it, "systems honed over years of experience with the Project Reality series draw the focus away from the lone-wolf player and much more on the cooperation with other members".
As with the Battlefield game, Squad will feature large-scale environments, but with a heavier focus on realistic simulation of things like ballistics and damage. There's also a base-building component that puts a heavier focus on coordinated teamwork and leadership. For more information, head over to Squad's Greenlight page.