Arma 3 Developers Reveal In-Game Footage Being Used as Fake News

Don't be fooled.
Don't be fooled. Bohemia Interactive

Bohemia Interactive, the independent Czech game development studio behind Arma 3, revealed that in-game footage has circulated and falsely used as videos of real-life conflicts, particularly in the on-going war in the Ukraine. These user-made videos have a high possibility of going viral and continue to be shared massively by a lot of social media users.

In addition, some of the videos are being used by different mainstream media and even official government institutions around the world. Because of this, the development team would like to share to the general public how to differentiate these in-game videos from real-world footage.

The video below shows an example of how in-game footage is being used and made to appear real:

Arma 3 isn’t simply just a military simulation game but a unique open sandbox platform. The game itself takes place in a fictional conflict happening in 2035. At the heart of the Arma series is the players’ ability to customize and mod, and modders can come up with new scenarios, terrains, ground vehicles, aircraft, weapons, equipment, and uniforms. These creations can then be shared with others in the community.

Currently, there are at least 20,000 mods available for anyone to download through the Steam workshop. So, players can recreate and even simulate any conflict: past, present, or future. The problem is that videos taken from the game can be used and spread as fake news.

The development team revealed in a statement some tips on how to differentiate in-game videos from real-world footage:

  • Very low resolution
    • Even dated smartphones have the ability to provide videos in HD quality.
    • Fake videos generally have lower quality and are intentionally pixelated and blurry to hide the fact that they’re from a video game.
  • Shaky camera
    • To have a dramatic effect, videos are often not captured in-game.
    • Authors usually film a computer screen where the game runs in low quality and use an exaggerated camera shake.
  • Often takes place in the dark/at night
    • The footage taken is often dark.
    • This is to hide the insufficient level of detail that’s usually present in video game scenes.
  • Mostly without sound
    • In-game sound effects are sometimes distinguishable from reality.
  • Doesn't feature people in motion
    • While it is true that the game can simulate how military vehicles move, getting humans to look natural in motion remains difficult, even for most modern games.
  • Heads Up Display (HUD) elements visible
    • There are times when user interfaces are visible.
    • These typically appear in the corners or at the edges of the footage.
  • Unnatural particle effects
    • A lot of modern games continue to have a problem in depicting explosions, smoke, fire, and dust naturally.
    • One tip is to look for oddly separated cloudlets.
  • Unrealistic vehicles, uniforms, and equipment
    • People having advanced military equipment knowledge can recognize when unrealistic military assets are used.
    • In one fake video that was widely spread, the US air defense system C-RAM shot down a US A-10 ground attack plane.
    • Units can also display non-authentic insignias and camouflage, to name a few.

As a final note, the team reminds everyone, content creators and players, to use game footage responsibly. In addition, when sharing such materials, they should not only refrain from using “clickbait” video titles but also make sure to state clearly that the video is from a video game and not real-life. A lot of Arma players have been pointing out mistakenly identified footage, which in turn, helped viewers understand what they’re seeing.

It’s indeed important to fight fake news and it’s good that the studio is finally making a stand against it.

Arma 3 is available on PC.

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