Author: Edward Harding Osborne
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Date: 2009-10-17 01:33
Submitted by: TV-PressPass

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[p]One of the most valuable abilities of a soldier is being able to hide. To disappear from the enemies sights is a universal goal for almost any fighter on any battlefield. Quite simply, not being seen means staying alive longer, which in turn means an opportunity to kill the enemy first. The most effective way to do this is through camouflage. Whether is a standard printed uniform, or a ghillie suit inside a fake tree stump, camouflaging oneself is important.[/p]
[p]This week we're looking at camouflage in Arma2 and in the world around us. It was originally made to disguise, but it has grown out of the woods and into the urban environment. No longer exclusively used for combat, camouflage now appears on catwalks and in department stores.[/p]
[p]The mottled green and brown of traditional woodland camo has come to typify camouflage, but it has grown significantly since its initial uses in World War One. Before the Great War, traditional conflicts took place on open fields with brightly colored uniforms to identify friend and foe. But in the trenches of France aerial reconnaissance became a tool of war and suddenly hiding large objects like buildings and artillery pieces became important. A “disruptive pattern” was painted onto the objects to be hidden, but the technology for printing irregular designs on fabric would not be developed until the 1920s.[/p]
[p]The Germans were the first to issue printed camo to their military units, but through most of the second world war camouflage was only for special commando units. That didn't stop units from improvising scrim in the field by weaving leaves and colored cloth into their helmets.[/p]
[p]It wasn't until the early days of the Vietnam war that camouflage really took off. The late 1950s saw the adoption of “tiger pattern” camo by American forces who wanted to blend in with the jungle. The woodland pattern was developed shortly after, mixing dark green, brown and black to make the most recognized camouflage of today. But as soldiers came home and began to join anti-war protests, their multi-colored uniforms took on a new meaning. Camouflage quickly became part of the counter-culture, both in the United States and in the UK. Andy Warhol created camouflage art, while the Clash performed on stage with camo clothes on. [/p][/p]
[p]Today camouflage has been used by famous fashion designers like Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior, Harry Blechman of maharishi and Yves Saint Laurent. These people portray camouflage without a military aspect, but instead as fashion with a message. Ski jackets and women's high heels all come in camo patterns, often brightened or distorted to look more appealing. You can buy rubber skins for your ipod that give it a camouflage finish.[/p]
[p]But that doesn't mean the military applications of camouflage have died. Today the digital patterns of modern armies are more effective than ever. Digital outfits for a snow covered mountain or a drab cityscape are now available. Flecktarn systems designed around dots appear on Polish police and Chinese soldiers. The ghillie suit has raised the bar for snipers across the globe, promising to turn human into vegetation.[/p]
[p]Which brings us to Arma2, the ambitious military simulator and its treatment of camouflage. Appropriately for a game set in the forests of the Caucasus the US marines wear digital camo, while Russian forces wear woodland camo. The third insurgent force boasts an interesting array of ski jackets and coats with different patterns. Snipers on both sides sport the now iconic ghillie suit and use it to a distinct advantage in combat. But part of what makes Arma more game than simulation is its draw distance. The camo often looses effectiveness because the units are simply outside the range of the rendered vegetation. Even a USMC spotter disguised as a bush will be easily visible at 200-300 yards just because the surrounding cover doesn't appear. Oddly enough the camo patterns in Arma2 are most effective within 50 yards because then there is a substantial amount of foliage on screen as well. A sniper lying prone in a meadow can totally disappear, similar to concealment in real life. But further out the illusion of cover vanishes. An issue that one can only hope will be improved in the future; either through a patch or through increased hardware in the hands of this journalist.[/p]

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