Questions and Answers – Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead

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Community FAQ: Purpose and guidelines

This community FAQ is intended for the community to ask Bohemia Interactive anything they want about all aspects of the company and our projects, we already had an Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead FAQ prepared so we're including that here as it should hopefully answer a lot of questions, of course we expect there to be further questions which should be placed in the Discussion Page, the wiki page will then be locked May 15th to allow us time to prepare the answers, we'll then post the answers May 30th all being well, obviously we cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered, it depends on how many there are and on what subjects they cover etc. etc.

Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead Facts And Figures

The Key Improvements over Arma 2

  • FLIR (military grade thermal imaging simulation) system implemented
  • Night combat updated with laser markers, IR strobes and flashlight usage
  • Streamlined and reworked in-game UI / HUD
  • Full support for backpacks (including ability to carry static weapons, like mortars or UAV terminals)
  • Reworked and improved radio chatter between units (including whispered variant)
  • Remotely-controlled helicopter UAV
  • Improved vehicle simulation (damage model, physics, countermeasures, top down radars, warning systems, helmet-mounted displays)
  • Improved weapon simulation (multiple optics modes, range finders, step based zoom)
  • Improved and heavily optimized vegetation

True PC gaming

  • Full editing capability, SDK, modding support
  • Dedicated servers for both Linux and Windows
  • Extremely large MP possible (over 100 players, depending on server bandwidth and configuration)
  • Support for various types of gaming peripherals (joysticks, wheels, ...)
  • Multiple monitors support
  • Full support of head tracking systems

The Content

Game Modes

Unique variety of game modes for all types of gameplay:

  • Boot Camp - tutorial missions designed to explain the game mechanics and prepare both new players and seasoned veterans for the complex real war experience.
  • Scenarios - singleplayer missions designed to present you each feature and aspect of Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead.
  • Campaign - completely new storyline set in a new, attractive environment.
  • Armory - a library of all ingame models. You can test every ingame vehicle just with a few mouse clicks.
  • Multiplayer - the number of human and AI players is limited only by PC performance (up to 1500 autonomously working AI in one game). Including classic modes like deathmatch, team deathmatch, sector control and the unique mode Warfare as first seen in Arma (up to 3 sides supported!)
  • Editor - unlimited sandbox full of huge, living, maps with library including hundreds of models, characters, weapons, vehicles etc. All available from a user friendly interface.

Weapons and Vehicles

  • 130 weapon variants (including various weapons from Arma 2 and their variants with thermal and night vision scopes)
  • 15 brand new weapons introduced to Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead
  • 100+ vehicle variants in total (including improved and remodeled vehicles from BI's previous titles in various new texture variants)
  • 35 brand new vehicle
  • 64 character models
  • Animals

Arma 2 + Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead Combined

Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead can also use the full content of Arma 2 (if installed) to create an unsurpassed scale of modern military simulation.

  • Maps of Chernarus and Takistan (5 maps in total) with their typical local civilian population - 440 square km!
  • 9 different army factions: US Army, US Marines, Russian Army, Takistani Army and militia, Chernarussian Defense Forces, Chernarussian insurgents and partisans, Takistani Guerrillas
  • 150+ different weapons (e.g. range of SCAR assault rifles, M110 sniper rifle, FN FAL, Uzi submachine gun, Sa-58 in many variants, Lee Enfield rifle, grenade launchers)
  • 100+ different vehicles (e.g. M2 Bradley armored recon vehicle, AH-64D Apache gunship, CH-47 transport helicopter, UH-1H Huey helicopter, Stryker armored personnel carrier in multiple variants, T-55 main battle tank, old Soviet BTR-60 and BTR-40 armored personnel carries, variety of new civilian vehicles and many more)

Improvements In The Original Arma 2 Game
  • additional special effects (shaking camera, SSAO)
  • more optimized engine
  • brand new, more streamlined UI
  • improved radio chatter
  • improved vehicle simulation (top-down radar, flares, FLIR)
  • integrated mod management

The Environment

  • Inspired by mountainous areas of Central Asia (Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan).
  • Various environmental features: geotypical towns and villages, lush green areas with fields and orchards, barren mountains and rocky areas, lakes, mountain forests, deserts, drilling and mining facilities.
  • New types of houses and structures inspired by Central Asian setting.
  • Most of the buildings are enterable and are destructible by parts.
  • Bilingual road signs in Persian and English, reflecting the road network and local names.


  • 164km2 of real world terrain data
  • Over 30 different cities and villages
  • Over 161 km of roads


  • 67km2
  • Over 46 km of roads
  • One large town surrounded by 6 villages


  • Mostly procedurally generated desert

Arma 2 + Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead Combined

  • 440km2 of real world terrain data
  • Over 80 different cities and villages
  • Over 550 km of roads


I heard Arma 2 is an extremely difficult game, neither FPS nor simulator or strategy. What kind of a genre is this Arrowhead?

  • Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead is a mixture of various game genres. The most accurate description is a MilSim (military simulator) shooter. A well cooked mix of tactics, FPS, simulation, driving and strategy.

Why should I buy Arma 2 Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead?

  • Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead is a unique sandbox tool in which everyone can find what they like. Absolute freedom, user friendly game editor together with tons of fan made content downloadable for free on the Internet opens up an unparalleled gaming experience. Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead contains many new features which significantly improve the game experience. Features like FLIR, attachable backpacks, new optics systems, UAV, etc. are implemented directly by the game's creators and move the game itself onto a new level. Arma 2 Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead is not only a simple add-on, it is a complex update which consists of a new campaign, environment as well as new gameplay elements and unique features.

Is Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead still planned as a stand-alone expansion?

  • Yes, it is. There is enough content in Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead to make it a full game and we feel a stand alone product is the best way forward. Our company philosophy is to deliver maximum freedom and support to our players, we don't want to force them to buy our older titles in order to play the newest. Arrowhead is so unique a title and the gaming experience is so intensive that we are sure most of the new players will desire to have the original as well. We also evaluate the best way to make Arrowhead and the original Arma 2 work together and our plan is to allow seamless integration of ARMArma 2 into Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead.

Does the name "Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead" have any specific significance?

  • We wanted to find a good name for a military offensive aimed at defeating a totalitarian regime and we feel this is a codename for the operation that the US Army may easily use in the real world. It symbolizes the nature of the military operation we invented as a background: Alliance forces respond to Takistan's aggression with the aim of striking deep in the enemy's territory in order to neutralize the hostile army. "Arrowhead" also sounds nice and it has not been used in the name of a similar product.

What are main differences and improvements from the original Arma 2?

Improved technology and brand new content:

  • Improved engine with major new gameplay features and enhancements.
  • Different armed forces: Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead deploys the US Army (Arma 2 featured USMC).
  • Refreshing setting: Takistan is a Central Asian setting whilst Chernarus was an Eastern Europe moderate climate setting.

Will it be possible to use the original Arma 2 content combined with new Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead content?

  • Yes. Users that already have Arma 2 installed will be offered an option to install Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead into it and run it as a combined, never seen before size and experience.

How does Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead compete with big military games like BF BC2, or COD MW2?

  • Arma does not directly compete with corridor and heavily scripted shooters that focus on an exaggerated cinematic experience.
  • Arma goes far beyond disposable entertainment, it is, in fact, the consumer counterpart of VBS - a real training tool used by various armies around the world.
  • Arma is a military simulator and a huge sandbox world with a vast amount of gameplay features that are not present in any other game on the market.
  • The campaign and other pre-made missions are just one of many ways to help the player to get into the "Armaversum" and to experience the potential of our games as a whole.
  • Arma is made for mature players who like to try different approaches and gaming experiences. Someone called it a "thinking man's game", which seems to be quite accurate.
  • Arma offers dozens of ways for creating, editing and modifying the game's content.
  • Arma offers a huge variety of gameplay and game modes for the same amount of money that's usually spent on arcade shooters with 10 hours of singleplayer gameplay.
  • Comparing Arma with FPS/Shooter games is like comparing a nice plastic model collectible of a sports car with a modular brick-box kit of a similar car. You can build a precise model, one time, and then put it on your bookcase, but maybe you want to play or create more by making a different car or model out of it. Not to mention the fact that the potential is growing with each new brick-box kit (addon/mod) you add.
  • Arma offers multiplayer infrastructure that PC gamers were used to getting for many years (but lacking in most current releases which were often ported from consoles), it is not only fully customizable and extensible, but also includes freely available dedicated servers for Windows and Linux.


How big are terrains of Arrowhead compared to Arma 2?

Takistan is smaller (well, the infinite terrain surrounding it is still infinite). We designed it to be less resource hungry and also use lower variety in the environment (Arma 2 used almost 700 unique object types in the map, Arrowhead uses "only" 400 unique types of objects).

On the other hand, Takistan contains very interesting and varied mountainous terrains and the additional Zargabad map presents extremely large and dense urban environment.

How does Takistan compare to Chernarus in terms of feel and in terms of the tactics/situations players will be faced with?

  • Takistan does not feel so cluttered, which means it is more synoptical compared to Chernarus. Threats are easier to spot, but the cover opportunities are sparser, which calls for extended use of vehicles and long-range weapons. Takistan is a very interesting counterpart to Chernarus in many aspects and it will be a great new addition to what we call "Armaversum".


How many roles will be available in the campaign?

There are four main characters available, each of them serving in a different branch of the US Army: airborne infantry, helicopter pilot, tank commander and special forces operator. The campaign highlights the battles which are interesting for a particular role, so the player will have a chance to play on foot, in vehicles or join a special operation without losing focus on the storyline.

Will it be possible to play the campaign in multiplayer?

Of course. The four main characters are all present and can be played for in all campaign scenarios. The nature of cooperation will be different from Arma 2, as the players are not part of the same groups. The scenarios are designed in a way which allows players to support each other's advancement in the battle, and some story-related parts are simplified for the multiplayer, so that group of players can fully focus on the cooperative action.

Will the campaign be focused on more open gameplay and sandbox combat?

  • We wanted to promote situations where the player is given an objective, and the rest is up to him. We also offer the player the chance to play in a vehicle wherever the storyline and mission design permits.
  • The story itself will include vehicles much more, in a somewhat similar way to our debut Cold War Crisis many years ago, where the player will step into the role of various characters, including tank crew and pilot. Vehicles will not only play a more important role in the story but we also implement various new technologies used by modern military vehicles (FLIR, countermeasures) to make vehicle combat more interesting and authentic.

Will the player's decisions influence the outcome of the campaign?

  • There are multiple endings in the campaign, which are the result of the player's success in fulfilling military tasks as well as dealing with non-combat tasks. In many cases, the effect is not direct, although we always maintain the policy of rewarding the player for correct decisions or attitude.
  • For example, you may help locals by delivering goods or providing medical assistance. They may provide useful intelligence or a few fighters to help you cope with a difficult military task. Success in such tasks may change the situation and enable a better way to pass through the campaign.

Thermal Imaging

The addition of infrared seems like a fundamental change to gameplay-how will a player with infrared optics be able to spot, avoid, and attack threats more effectively?

  • The advantage is obvious wherever there are enemies hiding in more complex environments. If you have a tank painted green on a green background, partially hidden in vegetation, you may have a hard time spotting it before you appear in front of his gunsights. With careful use of thermal imaging optics, you may be able to spot it sooner and engage it from a distance. The advantage in night combat is even bigger.

Is the thermal imaging fully simulated, or is it just a graphical effect?

Thermal imaging capability in Arrowhead is modeled very accurately, closely based on what is available to real soldiers in our simulation program for armed forces - VBS2 and is one of the most prominent new features in Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead. The heating and cooling is simulated, as well as other features associated with thermal imaging (e.g. ability to see through smokescreen).

Will this feature be equally distributed to all factions in the game?

  • This technology is available primarily to the US Army and Alliance forces only. Local Takistani forces (except of modernized T-72 tanks) and guerrillas fighters don't have such advanced technology. It's not only a nice graphical feature and visual trick, it is a fully working advantage which could save your ingame life and it opens up new approaches in playing the game.


Can you elaborate about how UAV drones will work?

  • There will be two kinds of drones: plane (famous Predator aircraft) and AH-6X ("famous" helicopter without pilot from our latest video), which is an experimental concept designed to provide a remotely-controlled pair of eyes and additional firepower to gunships. Planes are capable of detecting enemies and marking their location on your map, helicopter UAV works a bit differently. If you position your gunship in the distance, you can sneak with the drone over the enemy, use the drone's laser designator to paint targets and fire missiles from your attack helicopter.
  • Helicopter UAV can be used also for extracting personnel from the battlefield.

Will players have to launch UAVs from a runway, will they be remotely controlled with a camera, will they be armed?

  • Movement of all UAV drones can also be handled in the game map, you just need to click on a spot to send the drone there. You can even access the AH-6X with your character and use it directly as a normal helicopter. Predator UAV is available in the air, as player uses it rather as a support, but he's unable to control the drone directly.
  • Predator UAV carries several Hellfire air-ground guided missiles, AH-6X is armed only with laser designator.


What, if any optimization improvements can players expect in the expansion (or in future patches?)

  • We constantly optimize the engine, the results can already be seen in Arma 2 1.05 and Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead will benefit from all of these optimizations made to date. We continue improving and optimizing the engine, especially with further multicore optimizations to fully utilize 4+ core CPUs. Vegetation rendering is more optimized in Arrowhead already and we also design the entire environment to be less resource hungry. For comparison, the Chernarus map in Arma 2 contains over 1 million objects (mostly due to realistically modeled dense forests), Sahrani in Arma 1 has around 300 thousands, we aim to be somewhere in between on the Takistan map due to the different type of environment so it is pretty safe to say already that Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead will treat gamers with a smoother ride than Arma 2 itself.

Arma 2 Community And Support Plans

How difficult it will be to port Arma 2 content to Arrowhead?

Vehicles, weapons and soldiers are easy to port as both Arma 2 and Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead share the same engine. These addons would only require minor tweaks to reflect the new engine additions and improvements in Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead (e.g. thermal imaging). But the fact we have managed to allow the entire Arma 2 content (which is huge) to run nearly seamlessly in Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead already, is perhaps the best indication as to how compatible Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead is with the original Arma 2 game.

Official DLC plans and after release support

As usual, Bohemia will try to provide the best after release support as possible (as our past track record shows). This time, we also have plan to release some significant DLC for Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead, more details about these plans will be revealed later.

The modding/multiplayer community is going to be excited about having more "toys" to play with in an Arma 2 expansion. What are some of the most interesting and fun vehicles and equipment being added to the game? Why are they interesting?

  • There are new weapons with thermal imaging scopes or laser pointers visible only in night-vision goggles. There are numerous "new toys" amongst the vehicles, including Scud Launcher, Quad-Bike or even the old Soviet civilian airplane. Perhaps the funniest-looking of all the vehicles is the old Soviet personal car with painting inspired by Afghan over-decorated "jingle trucks". The UAV helicopter is also extremely cool feature. Support for backpacks also allows for some nice new gameplay options.

What changes are being made to the Arma 2 map editor?

  • We do not want to sound too complacent, but we feel the map editor is already very polished and nearly perfect for its purpose (we managed to include some nice new improvements in some of the Arma 2 patches already). There is also the experimental and fully moddable 3D editor so we did not feel it necessary to commit extra work to this area in Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead. The editor is very easy to learn, you can make complex scenarios in it in just a few minutes, and it is an extremely addictive part of the game.

Arma 2 has one of the strongest modding communities in PC gaming. Will major mods (like A.C.E.) be compatible with Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead?

  • Certainly. If some changes would be required, they would be trivial and we believe the Arma 2 modding community will migrate quickly to Arrowhead as some of the new engine features are a big reasons to crossover.