PC Games preview video

This week k@voven informed the Arma community in the BI forums the German PC-Games magazine has written a preview about Arma 2 in their recent release.
With that preview they also released a small video showing the interview with Maruk.
Flashbang151 informed the community in the BI forums Lester posted a link to this video a few days back in the Mapfact forums.

Download the original .avi version from here 49Mb (right click, save as).
You can view a streaming flash version of the video as well as reading a translation of the German PC games article by clicking "Read more".

Armed Assault 2

No compromises. The military simulation from CZ stays ultra realistic.

Marek Spanel is a very relaxed man. We recognize that quickly when we visit his enterprise somewhere in CZ. This is because he was able to earn glory and much money with the tactic-shooter Operation Flashpoint, which was selled over two million times. And if you consider that only ten people worked on the first game of BI you can imagine, why Marek is always in a good mood.
The inofficial sequel, called Armed Assault for legal reasons, was sold up till now 300.000 times.
Now BI is working with 50 people on their next game, following the consequent way of the predecessors. Armed Assault 2 will be a hard war-simulation, who's first objective is being realistic. That's why we took a closer look at an early version of the game in the office of the developer, asked Marek many questions and even took a video, which can be found on the magazine-dvd.

There shall be no experiments. Marek says straight on that ArmA 2 will be exactly the game fans are waiting for. No less then being the most realistic war-simulator on PC. The setting will be the fictional country of Chenarus, freely translated into Blackrussia. Protests smolder and pro-communist forces try to reintegrate the country into Russia. The conflicts escalets when the "Cheanrus Red Star Movement" conquer vast parts of the country and even the capital Chernogorsk in 2009.
But the reintegrations fails. The premier minister Alexander Baranov is executed, the leaders of the rebellion call out the Social Republic of Chenarus. The remaining democratic fores ask the West for help. Naturaly the Americans don't let themselves be said that twice and send their forces into the country. Together with the army of Chenarus they shall drive the rebells back and free the country.

BI has learned. In ArmA the player only was a tiny little wheel in the war-machine. Sometimes as pilot, sometimes as simple soldier or as BlackOp. The story only was about the missions, not about the person sitting behind the gun. An idenfitication with your character simply failed under these circumstances. Many players didn't like that. So like in the ArmA addon Queens Gambit BI is counting on special characters. In ArmA 2 you play in a 5-man US Marine Corps team. This squad called Razor consists out of individualists, who even have an own biography.
master Sergeant Patrick Miles joined the army with 19. Through outstanding duty in Iraq he was made leader of the Razor team. Other team members are Chad Rodriguez (heavy weapons), Brian O'Hara (medic), Randy Sykes (sniper) and Matt Cooper (grenades).
As soon as this squad enters combat you can switch between the characters as you like. In addition you can controll the behaviour of your men.
A reworkes version of the ArmA command-system will be also found in the second part. The developers still work on a more user-friendly handling. For example you don't have to order assaults via keyboard anymore, but your mouse will automatically recognize if your sending your men into cover or if they have to engage a target. Soldiers now even use cover on their own and spy around corners. This is because of the new micro-AI system. It gives the soldiers the possiblity to behave acurat in special situations, like moving around objects, take cover or give suppressive fire.
"The micro AI is a real break-though for us" says Marek. With the new technic fights shall be a lot more exciting. "A fight with 5 enemys now is a real challenge.
Different to CoD4:Modern Warfare events aren't scripted. AI is reacting to each situation on their own. Sounds good, but lead to some funny situations in the first versions of the prequel, when your own men cleared a whole city without your support or needed patrols didn't make it to their designation. But BI worked hard on this part, promises Marek.

A bit more complicated will be sending whole armys into battle. There will be battles in Armed Assualt 2 with up to 100 men on each side. How many you will command yourself is still uncertain. At the moment you have around 30 soldiers under your command including tanks and gunships. For commanding these masses effectivly a new system called "High Command System" is designated to help you. This works similar to a strategy game, where you select your units from a top-view and send them around on the map. Though this feature wasn't finished in the showed version, you even shall be able to change the direction your units are viewing. But still you will take part in the battle.

The massive enviroment in ArmA 2 includes 230 km^2. This time the developers even took real terrain as archetype. They simply took a part from CZ and changed in into the country Chernarus. Beaches and souther flair as seen in ArmA won't be found anywhere. Instead you have untouched forests, vast plains and big cities, like Chernogorsk.
Many missions are no longer set in open air, but in bombed houses or factories, since the developers want to put close quaters combat more into the foreground. Another new technic will make destructible buildings possible. With the right weapons you will be able to destroy buildings completly. The cool thing: The holes in houses can be used to shoot through. (This system wasn't finished, too in the shown version) How many houses will be destroyable is still uncertain. But we guess that only a small part of a city will have this system.

A label of the serie has always been the very acurate vehicles. More than 50 ground and air vehicles will be included in ArmA 2, like the russion T-90, or the Hind. A view into the cockpit reveals details, players are only used to in flight simulators. Even a small fan is turning.
But that's not everything. Anti-Air measures like the Tunguska tank or the BTR-90 for transporting troops are included as well. In fact you know many of these vehicles from the prequels, but even new things made in into the game, like the MV-22 Osprey, which can be seen on the DVD.
In addion there are civilian vehicles, but not old cars like the brand Lada or tractors. This time you can find modern VW Golfs for example. (A hint for the strong German community?)
Coming to weapons the developers also have amazing knowledge. Ivan Buchta, responsible for the design of the enviroment, turns out as a real expert on this area. With bright eyes he tells us about the real examples of the over 50 weapons you can use, including over a dozen variants of the AK-47. Fights won't be just simulated, but calculated accuratly. Ballistics consists out of factors like deflection or the stuff the material is made of. "If a bullet hits your leg, it has been really fired and it's flying path correctly calculated.

At the end some things about the engine. Such a huge world with millions of objects and dynamic acting AI eats a lot of ressources. This is one point why ArmA 2 isn't shining like Crysis or CoD4. Nether the less, modern Direct-X-10 graphics and multi-core-cpus will be supported. Another thing Marek is pointing out: Why should tanks and choppers glare and have complex effects, when in just doens't simulate reality?
BI stays true to his way of developing games not following the mainstream. On the one hand there is the danger do develope past the main markets, but on the other hand the fans of the realistic fights will thank it the guys from CZ, so Marek Spanel can stay a very relaxed man.

After the visit in CZ I had to play a round ArmA at first. Thanks to many patches it's much better then at the start. A prove for the work the developers are still putting into their products and how importent a working community is for them. 'cause since ArmA is a born-and-bred simulation, BI is listing properly to the fans and what they like or dislike. The results flow directly into ArmA 2. The properly greatest defect was the AI which stays under observation. Only a test of the final product will show, if the new micro AI works. But on the sector for military games there is no ways past the developers from CZ.

Original article by Robert Horn. 

Written on 2008-03-02 14:26 by Armaholic  

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