“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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3 DayZ Total Conversion Mods That Will be Made Someday

One of my favorite things about Rocket is that he understands that a great game is more than a game. A truly amazing game can be a platform itself. One way to change a simple game into something more is to make it easy to modify. Some games have this customization built in like The Sims 3 for example. The developers give you the tools, and you make the content. Spore was a great example of this. Will Wright being the brilliant man he is realized that if you give the customer powerful tools they will make most of your content for you. It works two-fold – the dev gets content made for free, and the players get invested in their own worlds. Be warned I linked to some different games here. That is how ads work, if you buy them it helps keep this blog running, thank you.

The Future is Bright - pic by Joss

The Future is Bright – pic by Joss

 

Game as Platform

Minecraft was one game that I thought would run with my “platform” concept. All the building blocks were there… I know, bad pun! Although you could do so much with the basic textures and mechanics, the modding scene is what truly makes Minecraft great. There are a few people that never changed a texture pack, or installed a mod, but I think most players dabbled at least a little bit.

The thing that hurts Minecraft is the lack of a true modding API. For those that do not know API means “application programming interface”. API just means a simple way to get at the guts of a game. For example if you want to change something without an API you have to either break open and change the core code, or make more code that rides on top and intercepts commands coming in and out of the software. With an API you just tell the software what changes you want and they are seamlessly integrated. This is a very crude explanation, but it will work for now.

Minecraft had a good shot at being that amazing platform. If Notch would have taken this route you might have hundreds or thousands of complete games based off of his software. As it is, we can get pretty close with some really awesome mods that change a lot about the game like Mo Creatures which adds “mo” creatures or Millenare which makes all kinds of villages packed with things to do.

Things kind of fell short when Notch decided that *HE* wants to provide the content, and *HE* wants to control what you do with *HIS* game. If he would have let go a little and gave up some of that control things may have gone different. As it stands he made a classic game and got rich, so what more can you ask for? Right?

DayZ is Different

Rocket has a slightly different viewpoint. Mr. Hall takes a different approach toward modding, most likely because he is a modder himself. However do not forget that he was a lead dev on ArmA 3 before he came out with DayZ, don’t pigeon hole him as a modder only. He sees the whole picture pretty well now, from player, to modder, to developer, to publisher.

Now people may say “Rocket has too much control, he won’t let us make PvE servers or let us have 50 helicopters per map, and why can’t everyone just spawn with an AS50 and NVG’s?!” In this sense, for the sake of the current game he has kept a TON of control. In the next phase, whatever exactly that might be, I think you will see more power given back to the players. A simple API will be built into the standalone game making it easier for people to change and tweak his code to bring about wild and crazy things that even Dean never thought were possible. Just like he did with ArmA 2.

DayZ: Capitol Wasteland

Think of it now: Super Mutants… Bottle caps…. Beans? A Fallout 3 version of DayZ would be so much fun. The games are very similar in a lot of ways already with the wasteland setting, rotten disgusting enemies (I am looking at you smoothskin), and the whole scrounging for ammo thing. Many of the basic mechanics are the same in both games, it would not be a stretch to see a new map, new textures, and a few tweaks to the core mechanics.

One of the things that DayZ lacks is a strong story line, and Fallout has many years of fake history and lore to draw from. NPC’s would probably need to be in the game for it to work right, and that might be a little stretch but I think Rocket and Co. plus some talented modders could pull it off. This one is a no-brainer.

 

Click read the rest of this entry below to read the rest of my DayZ mod concepts.

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Hacking, Scripting, and Griefing: A DayZ Primer

 

The DayZ user experience is getting worse by the day. Average players having their game ruined by someone else should  be due to their own incompetence, not an injected script. As a normal, law abiding citizen of Chernarus I enjoy giving people by own brand of “grief” via hot lead coming at them at 3,000 feet per second, which is about how fast a bullet travels from the barrel of an assault rifle.

 

Mano-a-Mano

I admit I am one of those dickheads that kills you, takes your ammo and gadgets, then hides your body so you can’t get your stuff back. If I leave your body then you better be sure that me or someone else is just using it for bait. Call me an asshole all you want – resources are scarce and you gotta do what ya gotta do.

I get a huge rush knowing that me and my enemy are on equal ground. He can see me and I can see him. He can shoot me, and I can shoot him. If I best him in combat it is because I am better, faster, more wise. Not because I stole mommies credit card for some quick shits and giggles on a full server.

By the same token, when I die in a fair fight I know it was only for one reason. I was stupid.

The Defense Department Regrets to Inform You That Your Sons Are Dead Because They Were Stupid

The Defense Department Regrets to Inform You That Your Sons Are Dead Because They Were Stupid

 

Quit Calling Them Hackers

Let’s get a few terms out in the open. Stop calling them “hackers”. The people that are ruining DayZ are not hackers in any way. Hackers do what they do mostly for the thrill of discovery. Exploration of the unknown. Being the first one to say “I did that”. I am not advocating hacking in anyway, but I understand the desire to take something apart and see how it works, might that be a VCR or DVD player, a frog, or a website. This is natural.

What is not natural is getting extreme, possibly sexual satisfaction from making someone else feel bad. If you did a survey of DayZ “hackers” I think you would find a lot of misfits that did not get the love and attention that they deserved as a kid. For some reason either they were not raised right, or they are missing something in their lives. No body will pay attention to them IRL so they seek the spotlight elsewhere. They are sick of people picking on them and it makes them feel good to go pick on someone else.

The proper term is griefer or griefing. Do not give these punks the title of hacker. They did not create anything, they did not invent anything, they did not discover anything. It requires zero skill, dedication, or patience to do what they do. They are children with an aimbot, nothing more.

 

It Happened to Me

My experience with all these issues is thankfully not very much. I have had a guy teleport to me and kill me with a silenced weapon. He was doing this to everyone. I know this is true because death messages were popping up at a pace of one every 5 seconds or so. I was in the forest in the east, and I had 2 clan mates in Cherno. We all died in the same manner in a span of about 20 seconds. No way that was legit. Also, nobody saw the guy even though the shots were point-blank.

Another thing I have seen is the huge flames lingering over Elektro. It looked like the whole city was on fire, but as you got closer and stood in the flames you could see that the whole area was covered by this effect. Another “hack” is to teleport everyone into the air or to one place where they start killing each other.

 

Please click the link below to read the rest of this post.

 

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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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Tech Support Threatens to Leak DayZ Gamer’s Home Address to Criminals

Read the details here at an UberGizmo story

Basically what happened is someone mistakenly ordered a 10 man DayZ server from Defcon Servers not knowing that such a thing is not allowed (then why did they sell it to him). When asking for his money back, a refund that he did not get, he was threatened by email:

“So you want to play games you little shit? How about I post your home address and personal details all over the internet? Would that make you happy? Watch who you fuck with. I will make it so every criminal in your state has your address.”

I would not take this lightly, go read the article for yourself. I was hoping to advertise for some DayZ server hosting companies on here, but it seems like some of them are hardly professional. I think working all day in an ice-cold room with all the bandwidth they can handle goes to these guys heads sometimes.

 To their credit the company has issued an apology that you can read for yourself here.

I hate to see so much hacking, bad hosting, and other problems hit this community. I want the public to know about it though, so I will keep bringing you the highlights, and the disappointments. Just like DayZ. Sometimes you loot that shiny new toy to play with, sometimes you take a Makarov to the dome.

 

 

Rocket Interview with Machinima

 

This is another long interview with Rocket, but it is an important one as they ask some good questions. Not everyone has the time to watch it all, so I am going to attempt to transcribe some of it. I don’t intend to do this for every interview that comes out, but every once in a while we need to hear from the man himself.

One of the first things he mentions is that his brother is a virologist, and has influenced the style of zombies. Don’t forget that Rockets zombies are “infected”, not dead. He says he doesn’t care what “type” of zombies are in the game as long as they feel “authentic”. The odd behavior of the zombies is meant to be both a threat, and unpredictable. The risk/reward balanced is brought up, zombies should be challenging and not just a headache. Rocket goes on to talk about his military time and how he had to complete a survival course. He got in to the idea that a survival game would bring in a psychological aspect, and he thought it could be a good training tool.

 

The Sun Shines on Everyone's Ass at Some Point

The Sun Shines on Everyone’s Ass at Some Point

 

Rocket mentions that he is a “carebear” and he has only killed one person in-game. He said it really changed him, seems he did not like it. Seems strange huh? Yet kind of cool. Rocket would rather group up with friends and do the co-op thing.

Rocket says the success has had a huge impact on the development of the game, he says it has slowed it down a lot. Him and Matt (and other friends) used to just jump in a server and play, Rocket would make some changes and then reboot the server to try them out. Now he wants to push for “performance optimizations and improvements”. Right now they are going for fixes, later they will add new content.

Long term Rocket says the mod has “outgrown” itself at 400,000 players, now it’s over double that. He says a DayZ standalone is “an abject certainty”. I just love those $5 words. He says there are no announcements made yet, but he says a standalone game is inevitable, weather by him or “by someone else“.

For future plans, one thing we might see is tweaks to loot spawns including possibly some dynamic buildings that “move around a little bit each time the server is reloaded”. Sounds like the helo crashes to me. One of the better suggestions I have read is to add in a few “downed pilots” into the game. They would spawn randomly in the forest (helo’s only spawn in the open) and you could loot their packs for some descent military gear. More things like this would be welcomed. He says that kind of thing is what this experiment is all about, finding out what works and what doesn’t. Some things will not be fixed in the mod, but in the standalone.

 

 

Click read more below to read the rest of the article or watch the video yourself.

 

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Dammit Bael! The DayZ Experiences of a Terrible Gamer.

Introductions

Greetings and Salutations fellow gamers, bloggers, forum-goers and miscellaneous riffraff, my name is Baelethal and I am terrible at video games. There, I said it. I’m hoping to be able to share my stories and experiences with you all, so if you want more of this, leave feedback, comments and general demands and I’ll negotiate with the lovely webmaster of this site.

Growing up, I played Super Mario and Duck Hunt. My household didn’t have a PC, and we didn’t get a new gaming console every Christmas. Computers are still a foreign concept to me on a lot of levels (my inability to operate a PC often just adds to the hilarity of situations). About 2 years ago, friends of mine introduced me to World of Warcraft—the boyfriend needed a healer. Through WoW, I met various amazing gamers, and have decided to take a new journey with some of them into uncharted territory—the Mod for ArmA2 called DayZ.

I’ve never played a First Person Shooter. I’ve never played a simulation. I’ve never played ArmA, and I’ve never played in a “sandbox”.

 

Chernorus Can be a Lonely, Scary Place

Chernorus Can be a Lonely, Scary Place

 

Things that go bump in the night

I finally got the Mod working, and was chilling on TeamSpeak with Grimm. We decided on a server, and jumped into the game. First ever loading screen! We’d done some mild research—watched a few videos and the like while waiting on the downloads, so we were pumped. I get into the server and stared at the screen in amazement.

“Grimm, I can’t see…what is this?”

It was pitch black, with very few stars in the sky, so I stumbled around a little bit and heard my feet slosh in the water.

 

Click read more below to read the rest of this blog post

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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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Online Debate: What is the Best PvP Gun in DayZ?

Let’s have it out. What is the best gun for PvP in DayZ. Comment below and at the end of the week we will have a poll to find the ultimate best PvP gun in DayZ. There might not be an easy winner here because there are so many ways to go about PvP in this game. Do you like to be up close and personal? Snipe from afar? Do you like to ninja in and pew-pew-pew with your beloved MP5SD6? Are you a straight up AS50 whore?

 

I Think My Backpack is Glitched Again

 

Everyone has their favorites, and different reasons for why. I am going to start off the debate by saying that I think the best gun in DayZ is the AKS-74 Kobra. The AKM can be zeroed and has more power (and is much more common for both the gun and ammo). The M4CCO has a similar sight and more plentiful ammo. Click here to view the weapons comparison chart.

 

I just have to say for running around the city there is no better gun than the Kobra. It is accurate up close and has a very clean, easy to use sighting system. Believe it or not, it is a pretty good zombie gun as well. At a deer stand or helicopter crash you can stay way back and head shot the zeds, and if you are careful you can pick them off one at a time without aggroing the others. But we are not here to talk about sniveling, slobbering zombies.

What is the best PvP gun in DayZ and why? Comment below, lets get a lively debate going and after a couple days I will take all the suggestions, put them in a poll and we will vote.