Arma 3

Arma has quietly become a very influential game.

Bohemia Interactive's military sim series has been around for 15 years (including its early life as Operation Flashpoint), but its best ideas are only now being borrowed by some of today's most popular multiplayer games: Ark: Survival Evolved, H1Z1: King of the Kill, Rust, or even low-key open-world co-op romp Ghost Recon Wildlands. Directly and indirectly, these massive-scale shooters build on Arma's legacy of fidelity, big maps, and its make-your-own-fun mentality.

Add PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds to that list. Born from the Arma mod Battle Royale (which became the basis for H1Z1: King of the Kill), Battlegrounds is the latest mutation of the emerging subgenre of the same name. Despite that relatively long period of gestation, Battlegrounds' launch last week wasn't without the expected Early Access bruises. Developer Bluehole seems to be on top of it, issuing its first patch yesterday, but the reward system has been having issues. Server performance has struggled here and there. And even on lower settings, my framerate plunges when I look at the biggest cities on the map. 

Still, Battlegrounds is the best game of its kind available, thanks in large part to its considerable Arma DNA.


Using your eyes to spot and track enemies is an essential skill.

If Arma's tea, Battlegrounds is espresso. Its format compresses the time and space you're accustomed to in sandbox FPSes, dropping you into a 64 km² map (much smaller than Arma 3's 270 km²) that perpetually shrinks in diameter. King of the Kill players know how this system works: a 'safe zone' is marked on the map a few minutes into the match, and all players have to scramble to get inside. Anyone caught outside takes damage over time. Every few minutes, a smaller zone within the previous zone appears, forcing anyone left alive closer together. A match takes 20 minutes at most.

Some core Arma mechanics are purposefully shrunk down, too. Your compass is a fixed part of the UI, not something you have to find, equip, then 'pull out' by hitting a key. Body positioning matters, but you don't have nine different infantry stances to fiddle with. Each gun shoots a different caliber of ammo, but it's an easy system to grasp.

In short: Battlegrounds isn't a simulation, but it retains plenty of Arma's spirit. Using your eyes to spot and track enemies is an essential skill, for example. When you see someone running across a field, there's this 'I know something you don't know' sensation—I can totally shoot this guy, he doesn't see me, you'll think. But like Arma and DayZ, it's usually not a matter of putting them under your crosshairs and jabbing the left mouse button. You want to wait until they're out in the open, when they're checking their inventory, when they're preoccupied and aloof. In these moments, I love the way Battlegrounds asks me to think critically and examine an enemy's body language, check which towns are nearby, or guess based on the state of the ever-changing safe zone what that enemy might do next.

Like Arma, too, you should play it with friends. Scrounging for loot is more satisfying when you're filling in each other's equipment gaps ("Anyone got any 7.62mm?") and announcing big finds over voice chat. Moments of leadership emerge: deciding when to jump out of the plane at the start, deciding which group of buildings to raid next, figuring out the right time to ditch a vehicle. Someone's got to make those calls, and I like that Battlegrounds makes me feel the disappointment when they go wrong alongside doses of GTA Online-style calamity.

Other than the performance imperfections and untenable gunshot sounds, I'm only curious, and slightly concerned, about how quickly Battlegrounds might age. Although it's a prettier, grittier, and more deliberate game than King of the Kill, those who've already put a ton of time into battle royale might eventually feel like Battlegrounds is a better-fitting set of pants. The Early Access offering is shallow: a map, essentially one mode, and the mildly satisfying lure of sick trenchcoats awaiting you in the loot system. It'll be interesting to see if the devs can keep pace with the game's burgeoning community.

Overall, Battlegrounds' approach to simplifying simulation-style systems and mechanics is successful. Many of my gaming friends who bounced off of Arma because they perceived it as too unwieldy are diving in, and those who haven't yet have been asking me enthusiastically about whether they should. I'm glad to have a short-form gateway game to sell them on the fun of FPS fidelity.

Mar 29, 2017
Arma 3 - Iceman
FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
UNIT: Main Branch (Windows)
ACTIVITY: Hotfix 1.68 (GPU Selection, Crash Fixes, Audio Fixes)
SIZE: ~66 MB / ~25 MB

More in the full changelog and SPOTREP
Arma 3

Bohemia Interactive's "Scanning the Horizon 2017" video offers a look at the studio's plans for the realistic military FPS Arma 3, including the upcoming Jets DLC, the Malden DLC that was announced last year, another one for Tanks, and something called Orange—named not for the infamous defoliant, but because it's being developed at Bohemia's new studio in Amsterdam.   

Orange is a "small development" that's "somewhere between Arma 3 Karts and Arma 3 Helicopters in size," Creative Director Jay Crowe said in the video. It will be properly announced later this year, but Crowe said it "explores a unique aspect of today's battlefield, a theme not often covered by other games," and will include "a couple of new vehicles, character clothing and gear, decorative objects, a mini-campaign, and more besides." 

The Jets DLC, being developed in partnership with Bravo Zero One Studios, will include three air superiority fighters, a drone, and some bonus content that Bohemia is keeping quiet about for now. It will support the new "extended damage model" and dynamic vehicle loadouts, but the "standout new feature," Crowe said, is the targeting enhancement, which is "built around adding greater depth to the simulation of radar and detection in Arma 3."   

Active radars give pilots the ability to detect multiple targets beyond the visual range, for instance, but the signals they send out also expose their position. Infrared sensors are passive but have a much more limited range, and are more susceptible to countermeasures. "Naturally, there's a lot more depth to this feature, and we plan to publish an op-rep soon to really dig into the details," Crowe said. "Overall, we see Jets DLC as really meaningful new gameplay [with] new choices that help balance the lethality of our advanced weapon systems in an authentic way." 

Jets will be premium DLC, but Malden, a "reimagining" of the Operation Flashpoint map of the same name, will be free for all plyaers. It will also include a new co-op multiplayer mode called Combat Patrol, which puts players together in infantry teams and confronts them with "heavily randomized" gameplay in selectable locales. More distantly, the Tanks DLC will add an "asymmetric package of armored vehicles" that will bring "new and improved gameplay to tracked and armored warfare." 

Arma 3 Jets is expected to be ready for release in May, and is available for preorder now at Arma 3 Malden will be out on June 22, "Orange" is expected in the third quarter of 2017, Tac-Ops in the fourth quarter, and Tanks in the opening months of 2018.   

And now, because I like jets, more jets.

Arma 3 - (Alice O'Connor)

Bohemia’s military sim Arma 3 [official site] is three years old but goodness me, it’s not slowing down. Bohemia have laid out their content plans for the next year, which include a free remake of Operation Flashpoint’s island of Malden, and paid DLC covering new jets, new gear, new missions, and so on, then creeping into early 2018 we’ll see more tanks rolling out. Busy year! A new video dev diary goes over the goods: … [visit site to read more]

Arma 3 - Nelios
Celebrating the major milestone of more than 3 million Arma 3 copies sold, today we published a new video to offer a special first look at the upcoming Jets DLC and to discuss our plans for Arma 3 in 2017 and beyond.

In the video, Creative Director Jay Crowe provides a quick retrospective of Arma 3’s journey so far, and scans the horizon for what is currently in development.
  • Penciled in for May 2017, the Arma 3 Jets DLC introduces three new fighter jets, a new Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV), a new Showcase scenario, Steam Achievements, and more. The Jets DLC will be accompanied by a free platform update introducing a sensor overhaul to enhance targeting, an improved fixed-wing damage model by extending the number of hitpoints and damage effects, dynamic vehicle loadouts, and various other jet-related improvements. Arma 3 Jets is the first Arma 3 DLC to be developed in partnership with a third-party external development team, BRAVO ZERO ONE Studios (which is led by Make Arma Not War winner Joshua "Saul" Carpenter).
  • To celebrate the 16th anniversary of the Arma series, Bohemia Interactive will release the free Arma 3 Malden DLC on June 22nd 2017. This DLC includes a re-imagination of the classic Malden terrain featured in the very first Arma game. In addition, the studio will release a new (and free) cooperative multiplayer mode, named ‘Combat Patrol’. Here, players need to accomplish various objectives as part of an infantry team, and each playthrough will be different thanks to the mode’s heavily randomized nature.
  • While the exact theme of the Arma 3 "Orange" DLC (working title) (est. Q3 2017) will be announced at a later date, this upcoming new package will explore an interesting and unique perspective on the battlefield. The Arma 3 "Orange" DLC will include new vehicles, new clothing and gear, new decorative objects, a mini-campaign, Showcase and Challenge scenarios, and more. In terms of size, the "Orange DLC" stands somewhere in between the Arma 3 Karts and Arma 3 Helicopters/Marksmen/Jets/Tanks DLC.
  • The Arma 3 Tac-Ops DLC (est. Q4 2017) will deliver a set of ‘tactical operations’. These singleplayer scenarios will focus upon challenging, replayable, and authentic military gameplay - making the best use of Arma 3's sandbox terrain, vehicles, and weapons.
  • The Arma 3 Tanks DLC (est. Q1 2018) will build on the experience of armored combat in Arma 3 by delivering three new armored vehicles, new playable content, and more. The package will be accompanied by a free platform update, which will implement new features and improvements related to tracked and armored vehicles.
While the official release of the Arma 3 Jets DLC is scheduled for May 2017, we intend to make its contents available for public testing on Arma 3’s Dev-Branch in the next few weeks. To gain pre-release access, players should pre-order the Arma 3 Jets DLC on the Bohemia Store with a 10% pre-order discount.

Alternatively, those who are already certain they want to enlist for all planned upcoming DLC can purchase the Arma 3 DLC Bundle 2 on the Bohemia Store or Steam , which saves more than 25% over purchasing each of the DLC separately.

Once again, we'd like to thank you for your support, creativity, and dedication over the past few years. It has truly come to define what Arma 3 is today, and we look forward to what is shaping up to be a splendid 2017!
Mar 21, 2017
Arma 3 - Iceman
FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Update 1.68, 64-bit Executables Feedback, Tools Update

We're now collecting feedback from Update 1.68, which was released last week. To quickly address some of the most reported issues, we're considering to release a small hotfix. Meanwhile, we're about to reveal more details on the upcoming DLC and their content. But before that, let's take a closer look at what's happening/happened in Arma 3 land.

Mar 16, 2017
Arma 3 - Iceman
FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
UNIT: Main Branch (Windows)
ACTIVITY: Game Update 1.68 (64-bit Executables, Ambient Occlusion Overhaul, Maintenance)
SIZE: ~10.4 GB / ~1.3 GB (depends on Apex ownership)

More in the full changelog and SPOTREP
Mar 8, 2017
Arma 3 - Iceman
FROM: High Command
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: #Armachinima Awards Winners, Humble Bundle, Dev-Branch Additions

The development team is now in the final stages of preparing Update 1.68 for its release. At the moment, we're still polishing some things, and testing the update in a multiplayer environment. Aside from that, we're also investigating reports of crashes on 32-bit clients. Once we have all the last fixes ready and confirmed by our Quality Assurance department, we hope to release the update some time next week.

Arma 3 - Nelios

And the winners in the #Armachinima Awards are...
  • 1st Place (wins a GTX 1080): "BRASS" by KinglesPringles
  • 2nd Place (wins a GTX 1070): "Miller the Killer" by McRuppertle
  • 3rd Place (wins a GTX 1070): "The Choice" by AMVS Russia
To watch the winning and nominated videos in their original form, as well as all other entries, be sure to visit our web page at

Now that this contest has reached its finale, we would like to congratulate the winners, and compliment all participants for their splendid work. Also, a big thanks goes out to everyone who showed their support by encouraging the creators and voting for their favorite entries. We are truly grateful and proud to see the determination, creativity, and comradery that drives the Arma community!

Arma 3

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.

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