Posts Tagged ‘Arma II’

By CDReckless

The DayZ mod is a mod for the ARMAII & ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead games (also sold on Steam as a pack in ARAMII: Combined Operations). It’s basically a survival/horror game played within a virtual island that is 224 square Kilometers in size. So, it’s big and there are no load times between areas. So, it feels like a very alive and real world place. I wanted to write this review b/c we had this topic on one of our Clan Only [5307th Rangers] threads and I wanted to put it out here for some of our public players (in case they may be interested). Also, a bit selfishly, this thread is higher up on our webpage and maybe some of our clan members would read this and be interested as well. So, here are my impressions with the DayZ Mod for ARMA:II.

The very first thing that you need to realize when you play DayZ is that by the time that you start the game, you are already dead. I don’t mean “dead” in the literal sense. You aren’t one of the Walkers in the game, and I don’t mean that your character starts off in some state of game Limbo. You begin the game with perfect health, some minimal supplies, an amazing amount of stamina (you can run forever) and snappy clothing. But, in the end, it doesn’t matter because you’re already dead. Because eventually . . . at some time, in some location, in some horrible random and beautiful way, you WILL die. And then it’s over. That character is gone. There is no respawn in this game. There are no insta-revive; no chest paddles to put you back into the fight. The character that you’ve been playing with for the past 15 minutes or the past 15 days is gone forever. And it’s over. And it’s amazing.

The idea of perma-death is new to me, and I don’t think it is active in many (if any) games out there right now. It certainly adds a new element of role playing that I haven’t experienced before except in a few games here or there. It has a kind of paranoid induced, deliciously nervous and survivalist feeling that is unique in its experience. At the beginning of your game, you don’t really have anything to lose (not even a gun). But as you begin to scavenge, hide from the Walkers (and possibly other Survivors), defeat Bandits, find your essential gear and maybe discover that perfectly needed random survival item, your carelessness is evaporated away and replaced with a caution layered with apprehension. And that is one of the magical beauties of this game. The attachment that you get with your character is genuine and real. You don’t want to die. You REALLY don’t want to die when you have put some emotional investment in your character. And thus, your game style changes from the mad scrambling freshman, to the elated gatherer, to the guarded/untrusting survivor. Your attitude to the same situation you had at the beginning of a game is no way the same as the attitude after you’ve “lived” in your character for some time. The attachment to your virtual player has a maturity to it like few other games that I’ve played before. This, to me, is one of the biggest accomplishments of DayZ.

Now, with reference to the actual game itself, the DayZ mod is mainly a survival horror game There are walking zombies, hopping zombies, crawling zombies . . . basically zombies all throughout this game They roam the island, but for the most part, they are contained within the small villages or large cities scattering the island. The houses seem to generate the Walkers and thus, that’s where they stay. Get too close to one, walk exposed in their line of sight, or make too much noise in your movement or actions, and the Walkers will turn from the shuffle George Romero’s classic zombies to the updated 28 Days Later undead that have the athletic speed and single mindedness of an Olympic athlete on meth. Though you can’t outrun the Zombies once they are “Aggro’d”, you can enter a building which forces the undead to become Walkers again (thus, only walking toward you). And they have trouble with stairs or any inclined hill (if you begin to have to walk up a hill and can’t run, then run diagonal and the Walkers will continue to walk allowing you to make your escape into the wilderness). However, the Walkers are not the only source of danger on the island; the other players can be equally dangerous, if not more so.

As with all cataclysms, a person’s actions are only the sum of them as a whole. You may have some people care, and attempt to assist those in need. While other players may see anyone else as a threat. Or worse, as a source of supplies and survival. You get all these points and personas in this game as the other survivors are real people. They are going to react as such. You get your saints, you newbies and you get your jerks, murderers and outright assholes It does make for some anger issues that come forth as you may be killed on sight by a newbie simply b/c you have a cooler backpack. Or they may say “Hey, I’m friendly. Want to join forces?” only to have them move you within range and make you dead as Fred. So, your play style is incumbent upon your choices. Do you trust people and stay as a Survivor or kill on sight and become a murderer? 5 kills total and you become a Bandit (hated by all). As an example, my first encounter with another living player was luckily with another friendly player. We hooked up for a while and then both got killed by another duo group with guns (we only had axes). My next encounter was not as nice. I had a great backpack full of gear, just got a Lee Enfield rifle (stolen from a barn) and was then hacked to death in a building by another player who snuck up behind me. Now . . . I tend to avoid contact with any other players that I come across (see? Paranoia will destroya).

There is no end game on this though. You play till you die. That’s pretty much it. But the adventure that you have till death is the real part of this game. The action is not heavy. Mostly it’s running, searching, exploring by yourself (or your group). But it’s those moments when you come across Walkers or other players that really stand out. And it stands out b/c it’s not an every day occurrence, not a game mechanic and not usual. Thus, the rarity of these encounters mean a LOT more.

Now, for the bad stuff (as you were probably wondering if this game was all candy canes and strippers). The game engine itself is a bit dated and runs off the ARMAII game obviously. And the same faults that plagued ARMA transport over to this mod. It has a steep learning curve for controls, the graphics are dated and can (to some people) be a complete deal breaker. The game itself has been notorious for being murder even on the most modern machines (lag, stuttering, low fps, etc.) There are bugs a plenty in this mod both due to the Alpha state of the mod along with the inheritance of the legacy system. Guess that there isn’t a way to get the bugs out of an original buggy game. There are plenty of ways one can clean up speed and get better frame rates though. One of the main benefits with the game being out for several years, and now a MOD with it, is that a lot of users have found little tips and tricks to get a system up to speed for the game. The game has never crashed on me, but the mod set up can be a total pain in the ass for those of us not computer inclined.

But to be honest, the detractions of the bugs is usually forgotten by everyone as you try to sneak into a city b/c you need some water while dodging Walkers and hoping that the sniper that took a shot at you entering the city doesn’t see where you are at.

Another bonus is that the MOD is highly supported by its community as well. I’ve played for only a short time, but there have already been three updated patches. I wish some of the things that they would patch would be more game inherit rather than atmosphere identified. For instance, the hardest thing to learn was your inventory and how to interact with it. I wish that they had fixed that rather than, say, add a female skin to the game. But it’s a MOD and totally dependent upon a private person’s investment. So, I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

All in all, I really love this game. It’s not a game for a quick play (though you could easily hop into a server for any amount of time). But it is at it’s best when you have some time to devote to it and just . . . go. See what’s over that next hill. Decide if you want to see if there any supplies in that church or electrical plant. Should you see where that gun shot rang out from and risk detection or just skip that direction all together and not risk the contact? Do you help the man running for his life from a string of zombies running behind him? Or watch and see if they get him and then gather what supplies you can from his corpse (what they leave of it after feasting)? It’s the decisions that you make in the game that IS at the heart of the game. Not the action, not the graphics, not the gameplay, but what YOU do for your character is the drive of the entire game. I love it. I tend to burn out of games quickly, but I have a feeling this one will stick with me for some time. If you are interested here are some good sites/videos to see.

– Interested in the game but want to see what’s it’s like before you play? There here is a video diary of a player and his commentary. Watching the first few will get you a good idea on how the game looks, runs and plays. You can also read Xamot’s post on his blog.

– Good guides for setup

– Beginner’s Guide

– Auto update set up

So, hope you all enjoyed episode one of my little experiment here.  I really need to get some screenshots next time I log in.  Anyway, here is episode two of this writing exercise.  I hope it gets you in the mood for some zombie stomping.  So far I’ve had much more luck, since I’ve had time to learn the game and get my bearings.  I’m still struggling with some controls and tactics but that’s to be expected.  Arma II is a complicated game by itself.  So, without further ado, here’s the next episode:

End of DayZ Journal:  Callsign XamotDB

Incarnation 02, Day 01 (again?)

It was all a dream – the run through the quiet neighborhood, finding weapons, the farmhouse, all of it.  I woke up on the rooftop again – walkers all around.

One of them found the roof – I climbed down and ran for the woods – too many, I stumbled, fell, they were on me…

Approximate survival time @ 1 hour

Incarnation 03, Day 01

Ran for the hills after climbing out of the sea.  Been told there are walkers looking for other survivors – didn’t see anyone.

Saw some buildings through the trees.  Moved closer – started hearing them – walkers and a hopper.  Moved away quickly – no weapons.  Headed down the hill looking for landmarks.  Have to stop and rest, more later.

Day 02

Getting lost heading too far inland – didn’t know whether I had come in on the south or east coast.  Turned around and retraced my steps back down the hill – found the coast with a parallel road and tracks.  Looking at the morning sun over the ocean, I knew I was on the east coast – turned south on the road – walked until the road turned west.

Wasn’t long before I found another survivor limping along the road.  Helped him toward a town.  Approached docks on the beach.  Had to crawl, then swim, too many of them.  A hopper came close, didn’t see me laying near submerged in the sea.  Moved on when he wandered back.

Made it to docks in Kamyshovo – warehouse but no supplies – many walkers – stranger calls himself Saber – ex-military too?

Stuck on the docks – no supplies or weapons.  Only option – swim around.  Water is cold.  Made it into the hills.  Found a deer stand – need sleep – near dark.  We camp away from the stand – will search for supplies tomorrow.

Day 03

Morning – searched the nearby tree stand again – nothing.  We moved on.  Too close to town and no means of defense so we headed north into the hills.  Have to be more tree sands or a farm house.

Moved north with Saber – saw a barn east of a small town – no zeds in sight.  Saber moved west to the town to check for survivors or supplies.  Found some supplies in the barn and a survivor – sleeping.  Tense but no hostilities.  Saber came from town – followed by three walkers – put them down but I took a wound – out of bandages.

Left the barn and crossed field – deer stand in distance.  Unnamed survivor shot at walkers while I moved around field – Saber held back.  We let zeds chase the stranger – too many – nothing we could do.  Didn’t see him again.  Deer stand was empty – moved on to the next.  Saber missing.

Next deer stand is empty except for an entrenching tool, need to find bandages, blood, something.  Move south – have to find supplies.  All around zombies, no buildings are clear.  Vision blurry.  Cherno is close – maybe help…did I pass out?  Can’t go much further…

Approximate survival time @ 5.5 hours

Incarnation 04, Day 01

Salt water still clinging to my clothes – east beach?  Walkers too close – I can see docks so I run – they chase.  Just made it.  Something about the concrete docks – they won’t step on them.  Where am I?  A sign – Cherno.  I’ve made it.

There’s a church close – doors are open.  I lay and wait – the walkers will lose interest if I don’t move.  I wait.  Finally they are gone – I can go in.  Moving quick – but quiet – into the church.  There’s too much to take at once.  Gather what I can and get back to the docks.  No way I’m going to sleep but I need rest – eat a bit – have some water.

Day 02

Daylight – no walkers close but someone’s shooting.  Moved quick to search the church again – more ammo, canteen – two handguns.  Shots are closer – time to move.

Rush the docks – east.  Whoever is shooting is distracting the walkers – might make it into the hills.

Got out of the city – could still hear the shots.  Nervous to pass the mass grave but none of the bodies got up.  Walked north east – crossed the road and tracks and headed for the treeline.  Kept walking until I found a tree stand, need something more powerful than these pistols.  Put down three walkers on the way – no supplies.  Need rest while it’s safe.

Day 03

Moved on – headed west.  Found an old radio broadcasting a message – someone named Cobra, near Cherno – looking for others.  Turned south after no luck with supplies and met him between Cherno and the airfield.  Decided to check the buildings south east of the airfield – too many walkers.  We tried to take them out but they kept coming.  Cobra was wounded – finally lost the last one in the woods and made for the docks in Cherno again.

Made it to the docks – lost the walkers.  Cobra and I looted a couple buildings – found an enfield and other supplies.  Now one can sleep while the other watches.

Still alive @ 3 hours

That’s all for now, need to play more to get more stories.  Will post when I have more to tell.

First off, don’t let the title fool you.  I love this mod, and am not ranting about it.  I’ll explain more in a sec.  Second, if you come here from the DayZ forums, make no mistake…you will not get away with the things here that you do there.  If you post here and it is abusive, profane, trolling, flaming, or downright immature I will delete it and block you without hesitation.  The DayZ guys may not care, that’s their call, but here we are open to all manner of readers, even my mother and maybe yours.  Keep that in mind when you post and don’t cry to me if you are a jerk and get booted.  As they say over on the forums, your tears will only strengthen me with their sweet, sweet sadness.

Again, love this mod.  The guys behind it…if you are reading this, keep up the good work and put more lotion on that thick skin.

That’s what I’m here to rant about…those forums.  Damn is that ever a cesspit of whiners, babies, children, trolls, and cyber tough guys.  Don’t get me wrong, there are lot of good people there too, but trying to sift through the garbage just to have a meaningful discussion is almost pointless.  So, going to lay down some stuff here for you guys.  Some of you will find it helpful, some of you will find it funny, and some of you won’t get it.  Either way, posting it on the forums over there would be a waste of time and maybe here it could help someone.

Let’s start with the juvenile fits about wasting money, and being disappointed, etc.  If you believed the hype without doing research on your own…if you listened to your friends tell you how awesome it is and shelled out money without even going to the site…if you bought Arma II, and got DayZ for FREE, knowing it was in alpha stage, and are crying about getting ripped off then you only have yourself to blame.  It’s $30 firkin dollars to get into this mod, and you get a fully functional shooter and the expansion for that price.  You don’t pay a dime to get DayZ itself, nor to play on its servers.  If you shelled out money on the word of some strangers, or a friend, without even looking to see what you were getting into and realizing it was an alpha stage mod, then you need to go outside right now and hit yourself with a stick.  This mod is rough people, it’s not polished, it’s buggy, it’s broken, all of that, but it can still be fun.  DO NOT get into it thinking you are getting a fully realized game.

Next you got the geniuses talking about how impossible it is now, no guns to start, zombies are harder, everything’s harder, waaaaaaa…mommy!  First of all, get a dictionary for me.  Go on, go get one.  Got one?  Ok, look up impossible.  Did you look it up?  It’s a definitive word right?  It means pretty much what we all know it means.  It doesn’t mean hard, or nearly impossible, or so difficult you want to scratch your eyeballs out of your head in frustration…it means impossible, cannot be done.  Now that we have established that, let’s look at some facts.  I, myself, have managed to stay alive for nearly  6 hours, with no gun.  That right there is all we need to disprove the theory that the game is impossible.  If that’s not enough for you, look at the number of people still alive, it’s right on their site.  So, if you say it’s impossible, but other people are doing it, what do you think you should do?  What does it make you?  There are tons of guides, tips, material to read, hints, and videos to help you.  If you keep running into a town and getting ganked by zombies, it doesn’t mean the game is impossible, it means you are being an idiot…stop it.  If you can’t learn from your mistakes then gods help you, what will you do if you are in a situation where one mistake means the end for real?  Now…go get that stick.

Now for the worst of all…the people that want this game to be easier.  What the hells has happened to us?  We have been handed a game that’s an actual challenge.  No linear story so you don’t have to think, no fully equipped avatars so you can just fire away at anything.  No healing, no respawn fully equipped, no spoon feeding.  We’ve been put in a position that no other game puts you in, literally the bottom of the food chain.  The weakest thing in the game, now see if you can survive.  What other game does that?  There might be some but I’ve not played them.  Every game I’ve ever played, after about an hour, becomes predictable, and easy.  Especially shooters.  AI is repetitive, tactics are the same, game is easy.  The best part is there is no end game…this is a survival mod, the objective is to survive, not win.  There’s no big boss to defeat, or princess to save, or war to win.  All the glory goes to the guys who manage to stay alive the longest.  Despite all of that there are still people calling for huds, off-the-shelf shooter mechanics, make the zombies slower, make them easier, make the game easier, hold my hand waaaaaaaaaa.  Stick…get it.

Now, the community is just as bad on both sides.  Believe me when I say I’m not coming down on just the crybabies and whiners.  The elitists, hipsters, jerks, bullies, and people that think they are somehow better because they have been with the mod since day one…you go get a bigger stick.  I see so many posts where someone just asks a simple question and he gets flamed to high hells for it.  How hard is it to answer a damn question?  Post a link to the wiki or the user guide for Gods’ sake.  Be a community that is better than what we see on EA’s forums or Bioware.  Especially you ‘anti-gamers’ that think you are so leet cause you jumped on this ‘anti-game’ before it became popular.  You’re no better than the trolls over at EA.  Here you have an opportunity to grow a community of independent gamers that can see what it’s like to play something that isn’t mass produced, marketed, and candy-coated for the general public, and some of you, instead of nurturing that and making them feel welcome, you flame and bash.  Get over yourself, you aren’t tough, you aren’t cooler than anyone else, you are just like all of us.

So, my advice, now that I have said all of that, for new players.  Read and watch.  I probably spent just as much time reading the wiki, the forums, the beginner’s guide, and watching videos as I have playing.  Maybe more.  Don’t jump in blind, this game isn’t like any other, it’s not going to teach you how to play with a tutorial level.  It’s going to throw you right in the mix from the moment you enter.  If you go in blind, and complain…stick.  Get it.

Alright, I think that’s enough for tonight.  I’ll say this again though, don’t come here and think you can act the fool.  I will delete and ban with righteous fury, anyone that can’t be polite and respectful here.

Here they come!

Borrowed from DayZ

I started playing this game a couple of days ago…well this mod to an already popular FPS game.  It’s a zombie survival mod for the game Arma II, and so far I’m impressed.  It is still in the alpha stage, so there are a lot of rough spots, but overall the game is fun, and the vision is amazing.  Let’s just say, I hate most zombie mods for FPS games because they are too boring, too much like an arcade game.  This one…well it’s like playing fallout, with Arma II graphics and controls, and with your own story.  I would normally do a review, but there is just too much, and it’s way too early to give it a fully fleshed out review.  I’ll just leave you with a couple of links and an experiment.

First, the links.  DayZ is the mod, and you can get your hands on all the official information here.  There is also a ton of great information at the wiki, including guides for new players, and quick reference for vets.

Now for the experiment.  I’m a writer, and that’s something you have to practice at.  This blog is part of that, but I also like to do short stories in between bursts of working on my novel.  I figured, what better way to get people interested in this game than to write a pseudo in-character journal for my game persona?  So, here goes.

End of DayZ Journal:  Callsign XamotDB

Incarnation 01, Day 01

Washed up on beach, disoriented and lost.  Ran along water until I came to a dock.  That’s when I saw them.  Walkers and crawlers, they didn’t seem to like the dock.  Nowhere to go so I searched the crane.  No supplies, no weapons, still surrounded.

Led them to the side of the dock, then hid until they wandered off.  Made a dash for a building, spotted – no supplies, no weapons, no exit.  They’re coming…

Survival time: @ 1 hr

Incarnation 02, Day 01

Finally climbed out of the sea onto a dock.  Could see a few walkers.  I moved slow so they could not see me.

Another survivor, running, drawing their attention.  He said to just run so we made for a warehouse – they can climb ladders.

Got out and onto a roof – let the other guy keep going and draw them away – I was bleeding and passed out.

Came to on the roof.  Other guy was dead – walkers gone.  Climbed down and searched the neighborhood.

Found a dead man in a booth – took food, flares and ammo.  Also found a flash light.  In a house at end of street found food, and a crossbow with three bolts.  Good weapon – no sound.

Decided not to press my luck and headed for the hills to a farm house – need to find a safe place to sleep.  Is there such a thing?

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little snippet.  It’s not much now, I’ll probably wait until I have more entries next time.  As I said, this is just an experiment so who knows how long it will go on.  If I get a lot of positive feedback I will try to keep it rolling as long as possible.  Stay tuned.