War: From the modders to the Marine

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Andrew Barron on the GDC 2018 (image: Peter Steinlechner/Golem.de)

GDC 2018

Andrew Barron has developed as a Modder for the action game Operation Flashpoint started, simulations for soldiers, and was even in the war. He explains what could make the many action games better.

War is not a “Hero Shit”: The term Andrew Barron used during his presentation at the game developers exhibition GDC in 2018, quite often. He has the expression apparently is about of comrades, who had expected to be with him during his time in Afghanistan seriously, and to deliver, like in Call of Duty epic battles. Barron was not at the Game Developers Conferene the intention to condemn such action games. He points not only to some of the points, which are, in his opinion, in many of the amazing and often as authentic marketed title, just consistent.

There are probably a few industry insiders familiar with the topic as good as Barron. The American has worked in 2002 for the then highly acclaimed action game Operation Flashpoint by Bohemia Interactive Mods. Later he has developed for Bohemia Interactive simulation (a spin-off of the game studios) simulations such as Virtual Battlespace (VBS), with which real armies train their soldiers. And he was from 2012 onwards for a period of seven months as a Marine in Afghanistan. Currently, he works at Bohemia Interactive Simulations.

From a certain perspective, Barron, war games are often violent as a real war. “Military attack on a loved one, with three times as many soldiers as the enemy, so with 90 against 30 opponents”. In a game the players compete, but often as A one-man-army against huge organisations – what in a certain way actually brutal, the music of some of his comrades had actually experienced.

At least in the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan, the days would not have to Fight off normally, but simply from the many conversations with civilians and General help for the population passed. In Play, the course is too boring, but a few authentic items you could use. So, it does not give some – all! – Conflict is the unwritten law that no soldier is attacking someone who wears his gun on the back instead of in the Hand.

War is often amazingly complex, Barron. The many part centuries-old feuds between tribes, families and villages in Afghanistan have it is a little reminiscent of Game of Thrones. This complexity between the large global policies, the medium-sized skirmishes, and the little animosities would not implement a lot of games to be credible. Most likely to be found in Crusader Kings 2, and in part also in The Witcher 3.

One of the biggest challenges for soldiers, it was also, very quickly, decisions with enormous effects, without knowing even close to all of the facts. This is a very special Element could take on action games, in his opinion, from the Adventures of Telltale Games (The Walking Dead), where the player must again and again, suddenly, under the pressure of time make his choice. However, the Telltale usually has no effect – in the war it can make the difference between life or death, without a Savegame.

Barron announced three games that come out, in his opinion, most likely close to what he imagines a successful implementation of the idea of war in Play. The one is the developed in Germany, Anti-war Shooter Spec Ops: The Line (Test for Golem.de). He cites an example of a disturbing scene in which the player is being massively harassed by civilians, as particularly authentic.

The second This war of Mine, very aptly, the dark and deeply disturbing events in real Wars. The third game was created by Bohemia itself: It is the extension of Laws of war is for Arma 3, in which the player is as a mine sweeper. The program had been often derided as a Walking Simulator (spazierengeh simulation), but actually it is going to search on foot to the mines and to make them harmless – that is operations, a quite typical Situation in the real War.