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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!
Ivan Buchta, Creative Director, Arma 3
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.
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.
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.
David "Dave" Zapletal
Pavel "Gugla" Guglava
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.