Some say war never changes, but I think we've come a long way.
Up until not too long ago we were playing online skirmishes at best in our tactical shooters. Small bands of Reds, Blues, CTs, Tangos, Charlies and Deltas, usually confined to the equivalent of a schoolyard playground compared to the scope a real battlefield. The release of Operation Flashpoint saw these skirmishes grow to scenarios that finally created space for real maneuvres, involving dozens of troops and vehicles at once. But it wasn't until the release of Armed Assault that we could finally put this space to proper use and deploy up to hundreds of soldiers in our scenarios, online and offline.
However, designing content on this scale brought in a whole new set of technical complications. We as developers hadn't established a main “full feature” MP framework for the community to build upon, leaving many with a trial-and-error approach to implementing variable scopes, join in progress, AI compatibility, interfaces, and 30+ player gameplay pacing. The resulting community-created content continues to amaze us to this day, but naturally hasn't always been catering to all aspects of the community. Especially the realm of Player vs Player has been turned into more of a niche game mode compared to its popularity prior to ArmA's release.
Now, about changing that war.
Instead of releasing a basic new team-based multiplayer mode and be done with it, we want to make use of this opportunity and involve you directly in giving shape to something that bridges a major gap. Not only the gap between co-op and team-based play, but also between action and tactical play, grunts and generals, leaders and lonewolfs, noobs and veterans. Instead of treating all these elements as mutually exclusive extremes, we want to bring them all together on one big battlefield where their strengths are combined to make use of ArmA's full potential.
Mike Melvin's Capture The Island (mfCTI) was one of the first OFP missions to try and create a multiplayer scenario able to span the entire island and use nearly every single gameplay asset available. But rather than directly porting his past work over to ArmA, he agreed to help us develop something far bigger instead. After many months of hard work, Bohemia Interactive is proud to present a new multiplayer mode: Warfare.
Warfare is a blend of a team-based multiplayer mission and realtime strategy. As a fully dynamic mission with random starting locations and opposition, every game is guaranteed to be unique. The goal is to capture towns, generate income, recruit subordinates, construct vehicles, build bases and defensive positions, and ultimately to destroy the opposing side's base. The mission contains fully capable and autonomous AI units, so you can play it on your own just as easily as with more than 30 others.
But that's just the start. We would like to invite you, the community, to use this mission as a sandbox for any and all features you'd like to add or change. Use your favourite addons, or a different island. Change the way players respawn, how they capture territory, what mission types are available, or who has access to the different pieces of equipment. We want to set up Warfare as a full Open Source project, allowing you to easily share your ideas not only with the community, but with us at BIS as well. Keep a close eye on the Dev Blog, because in my upcoming post I'll elaborate much more on this brand new effort, including a full editing guide to the Warfare mission.
So start packing those MREs and be sure to bring extra ammo. Whether you'll be dodging 5.45mm rounds on the streets of Paraiso, or looking to change the face of the battlefield with some M48A3s and Skyraiders, we're about to enter Warfare on a whole new level.