The U.S. Army today launched America’s Army 3, the only action game that delivers an authentic and entertaining Army experience by reflecting the training, technology, actions, and career advancement of a Soldier within an exciting, free game experience. Players can download the teen-rated game from Steam (www.americasarmy.com/steam), as well as from partners listed at the America’s Army website (www.americasarmy.com). As with previous versions of America‘s Army, AA3 will be constantly updated to include new features and missions and to highlight new technologies being incorporated in today’s Army.
In America‘s Army 3, Every Detail CountsTM and as a result, the game has more authentic military elements including training, technology, weapons, and audio than any other military game. Built on Unreal Engine 3, AA3 delivers stunningly realistic environments, lighting effects, animations, and team-based experiences so that America’s Army players can experience how Soldiers train, live, and advance in the Army. Players are bound by Rules of Engagement (ROE) and gain experience as they navigate challenges in team-based, multiplayer, force-on-force operations. In the game, a player’s actions and demonstrated Army values are integral to successful mission accomplishment and affect a player’s career progression.
The game is launching with five different environments, each with three different mission scenario options for a total of 15 different map/mission combinations. Initially, the core of the gameplay focuses on an Infantry Soldier (11B). Players first complete Basic Combat Training and then progress to Advanced Individual Training for a variety of specialized roles that the Infantry Soldier performs, such as Advanced Rifleman, Automatic Rifleman, Squad Designated Marksman, and Grenadier. This advanced training allows players to unlock new abilities and gear, customize their gear and equipment loads, increase their in-game skill level, and progress in their Army careers.
The America‘s Army 3 game offers a number of new features including:
- New Scoring System – In this new Army values-based scoring system, a player’s “Honor” score is a combination of his/her scores from subcategories that represent the seven core Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. The values are matched with certain game behaviors, and demonstrating these values contributes to successful gameplay and accomplishments. For example, personal courage can be demonstrated by accomplishing the mission objectives even if the player is the last teammate to remain in the game. Selfless service is demonstrated by aiding an injured Soldier even though it may put the player in harm’s way. Other players will be able to select teammates based on their Soldier profiles, which reflect how players have progressed in the game as well as their player roles/gameplay style preferences.
- Detailed Statistics – AA3’s extremely detailed statistics give players immediate feedback at the end of rounds and matches in online play, in addition to summarizing player behaviors. Players can accrue a number of stats including marksmanship accuracy; time played; time played by class role; total score; rounds won, lost, and survived; objectives captured, and teammates treated as a combat lifesaver. Players can also monitor where their hits are landing on other players, as well as where they are taking hits. These statistics are used to drive a player achievement system through which players can earn a variety of awards including coins, ribbons, and medals.
- Character Movements – In addition to basic movements such as running, sprinting, and crouching, the game supports tactical and combat movement types. A tactical movement is a more methodical, slower movement that reduces the noise associated with the player’s motion. The combat movement is louder but faster. Combat movements include the combat roll, a full roll either to the left or to the right in the prone position, the combat slide in which players can slide into a crouch position from a sprint, and the combat dive in which players dive face first into a prone position. These movements enable players to evade the enemy or better position themselves to incapacitate the enemy. When moving throughout the maps, players can vault (place a foot on the object and leap or climb over it) as well as mantle (place a hand down to get over larger objects than the vault would support).
- Player Damage Model – The player damage system has a high level of detail that tracks a number of the player’s health metrics and divides the player’s body into distinct areas that can each be damaged separately. The type and location of a player’s injury will affect the player’s abilities. For example, injuries in the lower body, such as the legs, will slow the player down, while injuries in the upper body, such as the torso and arms, will hinder accuracy but not movement speed. When players are affected by injuries they can be revived in some cases by their teammates. All players will have Combat Life Saving (CLS) training as part of Basic Combat Training so they can assist and stabilize an injured or incapacitated teammate. However, players must make the right decisions about medical treatment in order to heal, and not hurt, the injured player.
- Mission Planning – Squad and Fire Team leaders now have strategic choices to make before a mission. The Squad Leader will assign the fire teams to an objective, and the Fire Team leaders will in turn determine where on the map their fire team will spawn. The individual Soldiers will make decisions about whether they carry heavy, medium, or light ammunition loads. The flexibility of mission preplanning gives players a variety of customization options and greater replayability.
- Authenticity of Weapons and Weapons Effects
Players can customize their weapon configuration and load (gear) with attachable modifications as well as select the type and number of ammunition cartridges and grenades they’ll need to accomplish their mission. These choices affect gameplay, as heavy loads negatively affect speed and endurance while lighter loads negatively affect fire power. The game’s ballistics models are also highly detailed. Bullets in the game operate as they would in real life, requiring players to be aware of their surroundings. The game demonstrates a realistic interaction between bullets and materials, allowing penetration through wood and drywall and ricochets off metal and stone. Even the material that a bullet ricochets off will create different angles of bullet movement. In this reactive environment, players will have to quickly learn the difference between cover and concealment.
- Lighting and Sound – The development team paid great attention to the realism of the lighting and sounds within the America‘s Army 3 game to make them part of tactical gameplay. Players can use high fidelity audio clues to assess a combat situation. For example, they can determine the proximity of the bullet to their location based on the sound it makes. If the bullet is in close proximity to the player, the player will hear an explosive sound from the sonic boom that the bullet makes as it whizzes by the player. If the bullet is farther away, the player will hear the muzzle shot and the cavitation sounds the bullet makes as it echoes in the distance. These sounds were recorded in a live-fire scenario by the developers with the help of Army Subject Matter Experts. Sound occlusion and reverberation are other game features that make the AA3 audio experience more realistic than any other military game.
The AA3 team used Illuminate Lab’s Beast Lighting Solution to enhance the visual quality of the game. Beast is a global illumination package that, coupled with America’s Army, allowed the developers to design more realistic lighting and shadowing within the game. The realistic environments in AA3 reproduce the natural effects that occur when lighting reflects and bounces off materials and characters in the virtual world, making camouflage very important for the Soldier in the game. AA3’s lighting also simulates realistic eye adjustments when a player moves from indoors (dark areas) to outside (lighter areas) and vice versa.
These sound and light effects work together in situations, such as when a player throws a grenade in a small enclosed area and players who are close to the grenade’s point of impact feel the effects of overpressure, which can cause ear ringing, dizziness, and pain. A flash bang can cause the player to experience temporary blindness and hearing loss. Together, the high fidelity sound and lighting contribute to the overall realism and authenticity of AA3.
Players can also enjoy America’s Army – The Graphic Novel, a free online graphic novel based on America‘s Army 3. The graphic novel, which can be easily viewed without download, is live on the America’s Army website (www.americasarmy.com/graphicnovel/). America’s Army – The Graphic Novel begins at the start of a conflict with a story arc from the perspective of a Soldier who is a member of a U.S. Army Long Range Surveillance (LRS) team, and will intertwine that Soldier’s story along with the stories of others Soldiers whose occupational specialties include Military Intelligence, Medic, UAV Operator, Infantryman, and Helicopter Pilot. Through the episodic releases of the graphic novel, viewers will discover the main Soldiers’ stories and accompany them on missions as they experience the Army’s technologies and equipment, Army Values, different MOSs and Army life.