Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ares | ArmA 3 Project

My ArmA 3 project called Ares. Arma 3 unrestricted sandbox experience with a twist. Your game, your playground, take control!

Humble beginning
This whole game style idea came about after this comment that I made over at Royal Gamers UK's GlovePIE video..

This would be cool, have your tried GlovePIE voice commands with Zeus? Imagine, while in Zeus mode (game master): point to a terrain/target then just say 'thunder bolt'...then strikes Zeus' lightning. Or maybe point to a terrain then say your custom commands to spawn anything instead of clicking on the right Zeus menu. Or maybe after shifting from Zeus mode to normal player mode/ remote control over AI (/watch?v=0YWLALQJ_rY), use GlovePIE voice commands as usual. Man, I wish I have Zeus on my test machine.

Voice control for player, AI units or squad, and the game itself have been my description of this approach. I have shown lots of videos already demonstrating what it can do for the player and AI units, its time to unleash what it can do for the game and the gaming experience. Considering the potential voice control (GlovePIE-voice_com approach) have in store for Arma 3, might as well give this project a try. The key words/ phrase are: game master, point, then just say, spawn anything, instead of clicking... Yeah, those are doable!

In a nutshell
Ares gameplay mode is basically singleplayer only. Let's say you've got a map like Stratis or Altis, then imagine it as an open-world large canvas where you paint your own battle. What is unique with this is that it's voice-controlled. Yes, there are tons of conveniences voice-control can offer for ArmA 3.

What's in a name?
Ares is not an acronym for something else but instead, the project took its name from Ares; the Greek god of War, son of Zeus and Hera. By the way, I think Ares is pronounced air-eez and not arse as in a person's rear.

Some project details
You do things on the map itself, not the game editor. Using your voice, you add in AI groups right where you want them to be and they would automatically go on patrol, seek and destroy style. Groups could be a Blufor sniper team here, an Opfor infantry team there. Want a Blufor tank platoon here? No problem. How about an Opfor Mini Wanzer Patrol there? Go for it! Need an Opfor or Blufor attack chopper to roam that part of the map, no problem. You point and say what you want. You do it on-the-fly. It's your sandbox, do whatever you want. No rules.

There are two modes in this gaming style. Either you (as an audience) watch the battle unfold or take sides and participate in the war you have just crafted. Either way, you are still in control of the game, the game master... overwhelming, insatiable in battle like the god of War Ares.

Once opposing sides come in contact, they clash and you've got yourself an ambient combat, a voice-controlled battlefield for that matter. When units die, they get replacements in random points of the map, then the battle goes on and on.  The battle follows you wherever you go. You can also delete units or groups on demand just like you do a point-delete in the editor, but then, you are not even in the editor and you do the deleting using your voice.

Voice-activated ambient combat.

This style may not be your cup of tea, but the convenience it gives me is well worth sharing of the experience.

But there is Zeus already!
The main difference is that Ares gameplay mode is singleplayer only unlike Zeus DLC in Arma 3 which was designed primarily for Multiplayer gaming. Also, while Zeus does its thing via drag-drop, Ares does it via voice, for example, just point and say 'Lightning!' The convenience of voice commands; no interaction with Zeus menu or function keys, no keybindings.

Ares was not conceived to replace the Zeus experience but as a simple option for those like me who prefer singleplayer, offline, voice-controlled gaming. It blends well with any singleplayer mission, campaign, scenario or showcase for Arma 3. Zero mission editing skills required. Different game everytime.

About the video - 'Unusual Support' ?
The scene is from the official Arma 3 Supports showcase. As we all know, its in singleplayer only. I chose it to indirectly show Ares in action. You have different kinds of support at your disposal per game script but the player opt to go for lightning instead, an unusual support coming from the gods. If Zeus can bring forth lightning, so can Ares. There are of course other things you can do in game with this style than just calling for lightning strike. The video was just a teaser.

Talking to the game may not be your thing. The most important part is that we all enjoy what we do without compromising others.