“The Freeside Trading Company” by Joss, The DayZ War Photographer

“Photojournalism from the fronts lines of the Chenarus infestation.”

Trust is a finite resource on Chenarus, but it’s a commodity that the boys of the Freeside Trading Company must rely on. 

Click here to read more about our war correspondent Joss.

(Gallery of full-sized images at the bottom of the page)

A customer is met at the entrance before being escorted into the Trading Post.

When two people meet on Chenarus, usually one of them ends up dead. But the Freeside Trading Company is attempting to carve out a little piece of civilization in a world dominated by mistrust and desperate aggression. They are doing this in the face of banditry, zombie infestation and relentless hacker attacks.

The Company is run by three main officers: Publik, Vulwulf and Kurkistan. When Publik first contacted me he told me that they had managed to set up a working trading post on Chenarus. Every weekend they meet, customers turn up and they facilitate trades between the people who arrive. I was impressed. How could this even be possible? It seemed to me like a logistical nightmare. When I asked Vulwulf why it is that they do this he told me: “I can’t give you a really good answer as to why I do it – why we do it… So many people had said ‘this is a great idea but it isn’t possible’. I did it half to prove them wrong and half to do something amazing.” They have certainly achieved this goal.

After being met on the coast I am driven to the trading post in one of the Company’s vehicles.

When I arrived at the camp I was even more impressed. Barbed wire, tank traps and sandbags have been placed to force customers through a prescribed route through the camp and into the customer holding area. Customers are met a short distance outside of camp and are escorted by two members of the company whenever they wish to enter or leave. They must walk at all times, never run and have their weapons lowered. They are constantly watched by ever-vigilant guards. Customers must all stay inside the holding pen at all times and sit on the floor when not making a trade. That can either trade with each other or sometimes directly with the Company itself. The whole operation runs smoothly and efficiently with everyone aware of their roles.

Kurkistan puts down an errant zombie

The Company faces a problem. It’s the big one. The hackers. Every single op they run is a huge target for those looking to test out their new hacks. I had only been at the trading post for an hour before a hacker ran a script that insta-killed everyone on the server, and the hackers are taking their toll. Publik speaks of an “utter lack of morale at this point with all the bullshit that we pull. DayZ at the moment is kinda run by the hackers. It’s sad but true.”

A group of traders is escorted out having concluded their evening’s trading. Just moments they and everyone else on the server were killed instantly by a hacker’s script.

So why are the company still trading in the face of this onslaught? “Every time I see a post on the forums saying ‘you guys are doing a great job, we traded with you guys and despite what’s happening with the hackers you should keep going’ that is what keeps me going.”

Juicebox, a charismatic and confident combat officer, told me: “It’s the greatest game I’ve ever played when you actually fight someone that’s legit. It’s the most intense feeling I’ve ever had. That’s why I keep playing, just hoping for that fair fight.”. Then Vulwulf chimes in: “We actually had a legit attack on Friday’s op. From what I gathered from the radio chatter during the confusion there were 8 of them. We had killed four and lost two of ours. We were laying down suppressing fire while a team of three led by Kurkistan tried to flank them. Then just as they were coming up on their flank a hacker teleported us all to Solnichniy and tried to blow us all up with a satchel charge. Even with the hacker attack it was still the most fun I’d had during an op.”

A counter-sniper team including Juicebox, Xyro and Kitrick keep a vigilant watch over the Trading Post and constantly scan the treelines for possible attackers.

I was along for the ride during trading hours last Sunday when they suffered their most devastating attack to date, which ended with an explosive finale. For once the attackers appeared to be genuine non-hackers. They were highly organized and on this occasion the Freeside Trading Company were bested. Their number were diminished quite possibly due to the morale issues cited by Publik – ten players, four new. According to Vulwulf this is “what I consider just enough people to safely defend Devil’s Castle.” I was atop the tower photographing of one of their sniper team when it happened. The shot rang out and the sniper fell to floor before my eyes. I immediately hit the deck and crawled panicking back down into the tower. The radio chatter became furtive as the Company responded. Snipers manned their posts, the guards on the gate readied for battle and a team was designated to mount a counter attack on the snipers, to be led by Juicebox. This team needed another member and, tempted by the thought of the amazing action that might greet the lens of my camera, I volunteered. Big mistake.

Santaman the guard hops his bunker wall to clean up a few zeds.

 

 

Click read the rest of this entry below to finish this article and see more screen shots

 

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Ultimate DayZ Graphics Settings and Tweaks Guide

As we all know DayZ is a very demanding game, in all senses of the word. ArmA 2 itself needs a good amount of RAM, CPU and GPU power itself, and the DayZ mod adds a whole other layer of code on top. Also since DayZ uses a very unique “hive” central server there is more demand on your internet connection. The game server that we play on has a huge part to play in this equation as well. You really have to make sure your rig is set up properly to get the best performance. The goal is the highest FPS or Frames Per Second that is possible for our machine.

Field of view or FOV may be changed (some people can do without adjusting FOV – depends on your monitor mostly). Click here for a full guide on changing your FOV. FOV is how much can you see on the screen at any given time. Default is I think 65 but I like 80 or 85 for DayZ.

 

DayZ Looks Amazing at Times – pic by Joss

 

There are a lot of tweaks that you can do besides the settings in-game. If you are not comfortable changing your config files, then you might want to leave them alone. MAKE A BACK UP OF ANY FILE BEFORE YOU CHANGE IT. I will not be responsible for you messing up your installation! This is your one and final warning!

Make sure that all of your drivers are up to date. Motherboard/CPU, graphics card, and sound card especially. Up to date drivers will fix a lot of issues! 

For the giant polygun bug going on right now try this tip from gamefoo:

Got those giant shards and artifacts making the game unplayable? Fix is here:

  1. Go to Documents/ArmA 2/playername.ArmaA2OAProfile
  2. Open file in Notepad
  3. Search for “sceneComplexity=;”
  4. Change to “sceneComplexity=100000;”
  5. Save changes and exit.
  6. Launch DayZ with preferred method.

Also you can make this tweak by setting “Object Detail” to “Very Low” (thx again to Szalent)

 A quick tip: if things are suddenly running bad you can try and flush the system. You flush by holding SHIFT and pressing the numberpad “-” key. Then let go of SHIFT and type the letters:  F   L    U   S   H   (flush).  Your screen will go black for about 5 seconds, be careful.

Graphic Card Settings

The fist thing we are going to look at is your graphics card settings, not your settings in game. Weather you have an Nvidia card or an ATI card you can do this. If you have some 3rd party card then I have no idea… I will pray for you. I am not going to tell you how to find your graphics card settings, I am not a tech support guy. Good places to look are your Control Panel, also you might want to try looking in the programs list for either Nvidia or ATI. Below is an example of what they look like. DO NOT USE ANY SETTINGS YOU SEE ON THE IMAGE BELOW. I purposely made it very blurry so no one tries to use those settings. The real settings will be below the image. This is just what the panels look like, you have to find them on your own computer. You will have one of these depending on the brand of your graphics card:

 

ATI on the left, Nvidia on the right.

Graphics card control panels: ATI on left, Nvidia on the right.

Graphics card control panels: ATI on left, Nvidia on the right.

 

Once you find the panel make the adjustments below to suit your taste. Keep in mind that the higher you put most of these settings might slow your game down, but if you find the exact right one for you, it is really going to smooth out your game. You may or may not have all of those setting options, depending on a lot of factors. There may be a couple settings that can go bad, but most of the choices you can make here are every safe for your system. You don’t have to worry about backing anything up just yet, that will come when we tweak the .cfg or “config” files.Here are somethings to try taken from here.

 

  1. Ambient Occlusion – Off
  2. Anisotropic Filtering – Application controlled
  3. AntiAliasing Gamma Correction – On
  4. AntiAliasing Mode – Application controlled
  5. AntiAliasing Setting – Application controlled
  6. AntiAliasing Transparency – Off
  7. Maximum Pre-Rendered Frames – 0
  8. Multi-Display/GPU Accelaration – Single Display
  9. Performance Mode
  10. Power Management Mode – Prefer Maximum Performance
  11. Texture Filtering Sample Optimization – On
  12. Texture Filtering Negative LOD Bias – Allow
  13. Texture Filtering Quality – High Performance
  14. Texture Filtering Trilinear Optimization – On
  15. Threaded Optimization – Auto
  16. Triple Buffering – Off
  17. Vertical Sync – Off

 

 

For many more tweaks including changing configuration files click read the rest of this entry below.

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ArmA 2 Patch 1.62 Released

For those that do not know, we have been waiting for the new ArmA 2 patch to come out. The time is now, so all the beta patches are over for now. We have been testing the ArmA patch with DayZ for about a month now (2 months or more for me, I adopted it and enjoyed it before it was required).

With this new patch we get ammo counters, increased security and script support. Expect hot fixes down the line though, there always is. If you have been playing DayZ these changes are nothing new, they are incremental and have mostly been very positive for ArmA and DayZ.

This new final patch is actually cross-compatable with the last beta patch which looks to be 95248. What this means is that you should be able to play right now if you or your server has either the last beta, or the final 1.62 patch installed.

Download ArmA 2 Patch 1.62 here

Click Read More below to see what has changed.

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Why You Should Turn Shadows Off When Playing DayZ

Follow up here: The Eternal Debate Over Graphics Settings

As we all know DayZ at times becomes pretty much a sniper simulator. For better or worse, most engagements are at long ranges. However even the closer encounters can be shaped by the lighting on the battlefield. Yes I called it a battlefield. If I have a gun and you have a gun, it’s a battlefield. In the hills, in the woods, in the cities, and even inside buildings shadows play a huge role.

 

Phryxx Providing Overwatch

 

 

Seeing and Being Seen

Success in DayZ, ArmA, other FPS games, and even real life combat has distinct stages.  Sometimes both partys are moving,  hopefully they are using ALT to turn their heads, scanning and sweeping. We call this “keeping your head on a swivel”. Checking ridgelines, fields, treelines, and other potential ambush positions. Other times one party is stationary and the other one is moving. In this case the stationary party has a huge advantage as I point out in this blog post about movement in DayZ. As long as the ambushing group stays still and stays hidden they should “get the drop” and be able to shoot first. When the bullets start flying people tend to freak out and forget all their tactics. Also, it is usually very hard to tell where the shots are coming from. This leads to a huge mess and often ends up with a lot of flies in the air.

Your skin and also what gear you are carrying play a large part in how you are seen in this game. The Czech backpack is not very large, but it is fully cammo making it a great pack for the sniper that has not found a ghillie suit yet . The ghillie suit basically removes the skin and model of your pack so it does not matter how the pack looks. The ALICE pack is a great pack. Large, easy to find. The problem is that it sticks out like a sore thumb, especially at the lower LOD levels. LOD or Level of Detail just means that as you are farther away from an object the skin changes and gets less detailed to save processing power. The ALICE pack currently has an almost white skin at longer ranges (chick pants anyone?).

 

Click the link below to see the shadow comparisons and read the rest of this post.

 

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[REQUEST] DayZ PvE: Videos of Players Dying for no Good Reason

DayZPvP.com has a new page I am calling “DayZ PvE: Videos of Players Dying for no Good Reason”

pic by Amoral_Batman

pic by Amoral_Batman

 

My buddy Cros had this great idea… Does anyone have or know of any links to very short (less than 1 minute) videos of people breaking their legs, taking damage, being knocked out, etc. For this project I will not accept anything inflicted by zombies, players, or moving vehicles. Obviously nothing like vaulting off the lighthouse (I did it to suicide once when I was infected), or falling from rooftops (unless something buggy caused it).

Please reply here, or email to Paleface@DayZPvP.com or use the contact form here and I will credit you. Also, works must be original please don’t rip anything and try to send that to me. Youtube links are the best because then the creator makes money from it.

Thank you, I will edit this post once I have some videos up.

Ultimate FOV (Field of View) Guide for ArmA 2 and DayZ

Field of view or FOV is a very important aspect (pun intended) of DayZ. I am going to guess that most of you have not customized your FOV, and some may have no idea what it is or why you might want to change it. Did you know that playing with the FOV settings wrong can actually make you sick? Plenty of people get headaches from straining to see a screen that is not set up correctly. There is also a massive tactical advantage to seeing the right amount, and the right parts of the screen.

What is FOV?

Phazon88 has created this animated .gif for Battlefield Bad Company 2 which uses the same system as ArmA 2 to set the FOV:

Pay attention to two things.  One reason why we might want to increase our FOV from the default is because you get more peripheral vision. If you look on the left and right (the outside) of the two trees in the middle you can see that as the FOV increases, you can see more of the hill on the edge of the screen. This can be a life saver because often times a player has already seen you and has the drop on you. As you run by and pass him, he thinks you can’t see him anymore, but you can. Don’t forget that you can get a temporary FOV boost by either holding numpad – or by going into 3rd person view (numpad – works on there too).

Another situation that a wider FOV can help is in very close quarters battle, or CQB. Sometimes during CQB you might actually run past your adversary. Having a wider FOV can let you turn around and re-acquire your target much faster. This lets you spin around and get your shots off while he is still turning and looking for you. As well know the zombie AI is a little bit wild at the moment and a wider FOV can help you when you have multiple zed beating the crap out of you.

Of course there is a tradeoff to having a wider FOV. If you look in the middle of the .gif again you can see that as the FOV increases the center of the screen seems to get further away. There really is not too much I can think of to argue that this is good. Basically you are going to have a harder time seeing someone far away, and let’s face it, far away is deadly in this game. Be very careful when you choose your FOV. You have to decide where the optimal point is. For me it is around 90 in most games, but for DayZ 90 should be your max unless you have a large/wide monitor.

 

WARNING: Changing your FOV will most likely alter the way mildots and ranging works. I am investigating how  and how much and will report back. It is also going to be much harder or maybe impossible to read things like the compass, maps, GPS, etc. Save your old FOV numbers in case you want to revert.

 

Go to the next page for a step-by-step guide on how to change your FOV for DayZ and ArmA 2.

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Rock Paper Shotgun Video Settings Guide for ArmA 2 and DayZ

This is a really great guide that I used to get my game running smoother. I see a lot of people searching for graphics settings so I will be putting out a master guide here soon. Until then here is a great article by Rock Paper Shotgun. The info in here should get you much closer to the high FPS or “frames per second” that you need to be effective in PvP.