Czeching out Lemnos

Back in 2010, a crack team of Bohemia Interactive operatives deployed to the Greek island of Lemnos. Armed only with recording equipment and their deadly sock-and-sandals combo, they completed a mission to document the mysteries of the Aegean.

Fieldtrips such as these are an important part of Arma 3's development; gathering materials from the field has been a central part of creating Limnos (our ~300km2 in-game interpretation of the Greek island of Lemnos). While new technical improvements to lighting, particles or clouds technology gives us the capacity to build amazing worlds, without good real-life references and old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground research, it couldn't ever be as authentic as we want.

Below, Creative Director, Ivan Buchta, highlights the important legacy of environments built on the Real Virtuality platform, and declassifies some of the Lemnos report - including some new behind-the-scenes imagery!

Lemnos: Researching the Area of Operation

Ivan Buchta, Creative Director, Arma 3

Roads can get sloppy in central Limnos. The only real desert in Europe, with the only real Gugla in Europe walking it. You don't need to be sexy to gather photoreferences, but it helps! Approach to photographing plants was almost scientific.

Since the times of Cold War Crisis, a key feature of our games has been terrain depicted on a realistic scale. In the past 6 years, we have moved from environments only partly and vaguely based on elements of real terrains, and gradually attempted to base the maps in our recent titles on real-life stuff.  Transferring the real-life Lemnos to your monitors is not just a part of development; it's an entire development inside the development. It's the big story itself.

Arma's 3 Limnos is the next step in our effort to create the most authentic environment a milsim gamer could get. This time, we did not create any fictional background, but attempted to guess a fate of the actual island in a fictional future. We try to avoid diverting too much from reality (still, our Limnos will not be an exact copy for many reasons), and to capture the unique atmosphere of this great place. Rather than listing the reasons why we've chosen Limnos and going through the particular design decisions, let's take a look at some interesting facts related to the "intelligence" gathering.

It is hard to resist soaking in the Aegean, especially if the remperatures are well above 30°C. Gugla exploring the vegetation, thinking hard about the likely polycount issues of a thorny bush. Researching the lush lands of love and creation. Dave and Gugla, enjoying the relative safety of the office.

Although we had known about the island for some time, we decided to send an "expedition" to visit the places still unknown, and gather much needed references on the local architecture and vegetation. Also, our artists had a secondary objective of finding the island's genius loci.

As the artists who were to become our recon team had no previous experience with field reference gathering, we decided to enrich their hasty weeks of preparations by a "dry run" near Brno. Maps were studied, objectives listed and daily itineraries compiled. Google Earth has become their daily companion and one sunny morning of August 2010, two artists left our beloved homeland to hit the Aegean.

Panorama of Myrina. One of hundreds small beaches, northern coast. Thermal springs of Therma, with Dave performing his favourite tyre check. Dave claims he stands everywhere to have proper scale in the references, but we honestly think he just wanted to have enough pictures from the holidays.

Driving on a Mediterranean island in a 4x4 is an adventure even in the 21st century. I hope to be able to share some of the lead artist's stories in another entry. The guys had to face inaccuracies in maps, photographing and filming restrictions near military installations, heat or "hedgehogs" (as they nicknamed thorny plants turning the better part of Lemnos into an impenetrable anti-infantry trap). On the other hand, they reported the calm atmosphere, charming sceneries and unsurpassed hospitality of the Greek people.

Order of Battle...

Rolling Through :: Light wooded areas are the perfect place for an ambush!

David "Dave" Zapletal

  • Art Producer

  • Expedition's driver and photographer. Skilled artist with a lust for adrenaline sports and cooking, manager of Brno's art team for ages. Dave also provides the majority of the artistic work for the user interfaces of Arma 3.

Rolling Through :: Light wooded areas are the perfect place for an ambush!

Pavel "Gugla" Guglava

  • Lead Artist

  • Expedition's photographer and cameraman. Computer art is not just his job, but also his hobby and life. Gugla is responsible for the overall color and lighting settings of Arma 3, and takes part in most graphical advancements and research of the Arma 3 engine.

Lastly, you'll be hearing more from Gugla soon™, in our forthcoming Report In! feature, where we take a look at some of the fantastic advancements to lighting, discussing how these new changes improve the overall look and feel of A3, the underlying gameplay, and how everything fits together with engine optimisations. Be sure to stay tuned to our website and social channels for all the latest information!

World in Motion!

A recent video showcase of Stratis – an additional 19 square kilometres of Aegean island terrain – is included below. It’s a chance to see some of our fieldtrip research put into action, alongside improvements to our lighting and cloud technology.

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